Leadership, AITC, Farm Safety

Mark Maiers
Chair, Promotion & Education Committee

While I was reflecting on our recent Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Annual Meeting, I am reminded of the many hardworking staff members, committee members and members at large that we are so very blessed to have in this organization. The energy, ideas and the overwhelming desire to succeed, that all our members share, brings much strength and value to our members at large. We have much to be thankful for during this Holiday Season, and I am excited to look forward to the future of what we can accomplish together.

As the new chair of the state Promotion and Education (P&E) Committee, I have the opportunity to help guide this great group of volunteers and also the chance to learn more about the inner workings of our organization while sitting on the state board. With this responsibility comes much excitement and a little fear of the unknown challenges that lie ahead.

Based upon our discussions at the annual meeting, our P&E Committee will be focusing on the following areas.

Leadership - When we accept the appointment to this committee it is expected that we will take on a greater role in our counties, our districts and also on the committee as we serve to promote and educate those we encounter about agriculture. I feel one of our committees goals is to take a more active role in planning and implementing these activities during the year.

Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) - During this year’s MFBF Annual Meeting, we had the opportunity to visit seven different classrooms in two metro schools. Sue Knott, who works for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture AITC program, presented the materials to the volunteers. We shared the story “How to make an Apple Pie and See the World” with 3rd and 4th graders at Washburn and Popular Bridge Elementary Schools. Twenty four Farm Bureau volunteers helped tell the story of agriculture to these young people. The students and teachers enjoyed our visit and the activities that we shared with them. We left an apple with each student for their snack time later that day. I strongly encourage you to give ag in the classroom a try, if you have never been able to in the past. It is fun and very rewarding.

Farm Safety - Another important topic for our committee is farm safety. We put together “Safety Bags” at this year’s annual meeting and handed them out to attendees. We would like to thank our many supporters of Farm Bureau who donated items for these bags. We looked for items that would help draw attention to the normal day things that can easily get forgotten or go unnoticed. Simple things like sunscreen and hearing protection to reminders to farmers of the dangers of flowing grain and power take offs. Also included were a pocket size flashlight and dusk mask which are two OSHA requirements for a safe work environment. Please don’t take your safety for granted.

In closing, I would like to invite you to our upcoming MFBF Leadership Conference on January 22-23, 2016. This year’s conference will be held at the Hilton MSP Airport Hotel in Bloomington. Our theme this year is “Accelerate – Learn, Live and Lead.” Hope to see you there, and thank you for being involved in your Farm Bureau.