A beautiful Saturday evening drew together numerous Hillsdale County Farm Bureau members for the 2020 annual meeting and centennial celebration! Our centennial committee spent the past year planning festivities to honor our organization’s accomplishments over the last 100 years.
Centennial chair Jay Williams and Kayla Lewis, our vice president and county annual chair, worked with many members to fine-tune the biggest event of our year!
While many of our 2020 activities were canceled due to the pandemic, COVID didn't stop Jay and Kayla from planning a safe, enjoyable celebration at the Hillsdale County fairgrounds outside Grange Hall. The past 100 years of Hillsdale County Farm Bureau's history was displayed for reminiscing and appreciation for all of the efforts of members before them who played a significant role in policy development, education and leadership.
Many generations of Farm Bureau members were present to share their stories and experiences from yesteryear.
The meeting began with proposed policy resolutions, which were approved for forwarding to the state policy development committee for consideration at the MFB Annual Meeting in December.
“100 years, 100 seasons, 100 county annual meetings!” Williams said as he opened the meeting with reflections on the past century. “Thousands of opportunities to build friendships, engage legislators, learn from and teach others about our business, help each other and support each other through good times and bad.
“We’ve progressed from traditional horsepower to today’s technology. In 1920, most of our farms had no electricity or indoor plumbing.”
In addition to setting its own policy agenda for the coming year, Hillsdale’s 2020 Annual Meeting was also a chance to recognize several outstanding individuals for their service to local agriculture.
District 2 Director Jennifer Lewis introduced our Farm Bureau Insurance agents and awarded Key Club to Mike Neely and Brent Leininger. She also recognized Hillsdale County Farm Bureau as a recipient of the Champions of Excellence Award for Involvement in District 2.
County President Stuart Welden announced our Young Farmer award winners: Abigail Stubbins for the Young Farmer Achievement Award and Andi Lee for the Young Farmer Agriculture Leader Award.
Membership Captain Allison Grimm recognized Terry Finegan as top volunteer membership writer for 2019-2020.
President Welden announced Megan LoPresto and Mia VanderHoff as the recipients of our $500 scholarships. The $250 scholarships went to Frances Chuchwell and Abigail Baxter. Our scholarships were sponsored by Waldron Grain, Channel, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Credenz Soybeans, Bennett Seed Inc. and Specialty Hybrids.
Vice President Kayla Lewis introduced several guests including Congressman Tim Walberg and Ben Kauffman from Senator Mike Shirkey’s office; both provided tributes recognizing Hillsdale’s centennial.
MFB President Carl Bednarski was also present to congratulate Hillsdale for its many accomplishments over the past 100 years.
Getting back to county Farm Bureau business, local farmers Amber Kohler of Somerset Township and Joe Ladd of Wright Township were elected to the county board of directors.
After the business meeting ended, the centennial festivities began!
Members had their portraits taken, providing them with mementos for attending the celebration. They also looked over our history, shared on several displays — including the past 100 years of Hillsdale County Farm Bureau presidents — before finally reaching the dinner line.
Our centennial committee also coordinated with WCSR to broadcast interviews with several Hillsdale members including Jay and Kelli Williams, Allison Grimm, Joe Draper, Terry Finegan, Adam Lewis, Chris Brooks, Stuart Welden and our guest from Tuscola County, MFB President Bednarski.
Live music was provided by Grant Reiff and The Monopoly Men.
The Hillsdale County Farm Bureau’s centennial celebration and annual meeting was supported by many local organizations.
Whole Hog Sponsors: American One Credit Union, Blain's Farm & Fleet, Brooks Farms, County National Bank, Dauer Farms, Farm Bureau Insurance, Greenmark Equipment, Greenstone Farm Credit Services, Hillsdale Dairy Promoters, Hudson Dairy, Jonesville Lumber, Michael Neely Agency, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Pleasant View Dairy & Beef, Powers Clothing, Southern Michigan Bank & Trust, The Caldwell Agency and The Leininger Agency
King Ranch Sponsors: Michigan Soybean Committee and Ransom Chicken Farm
Bin Buster Sponsors: Kaeb Sales Inc.
Milk Maid Sponsors: N.E.F.C.O. and R.W. Oates LLC
Our committees were pleased with the energy of this year's annual meeting, with generations of farm families, laughter and fellowship, all cherishing 100 years of accomplishments driving them into the future.
On behalf of the Hillsdale County Farm Bureau board of directors — and the centennial and annual meeting committees — we thank all who helped us celebrate our first 100 years.
Happy anniversary, Hillsdale — here's to another 100 years of sustainable and prosperous agriculture!