Lodi Township farmer Steven Thelen received his ceremonial gavel from Michigan Farm Bureau President Wayne Wood at the organization’s Council of President’s Conference in Lansing Jan. 24-25.
Thelen, who farms crops and raises cattle with his wife Nancy, was elected President of the Washtenaw County Farm Bureau last fall. He’d been on the board of directors for three years.
He was one of more than 60 county Farm Bureau leaders to attend Council of Presidents Conference. The annual event brings together local Farm Bureau leaders from across the state for informative workshops, guest speakers and opportunities to learn from and exchange ideas with their peers and MFB staff—all to help them make the most of their role at the helm of their local farming organization.
“It was a good experience. We had a lot of training and learned about ways to retain members and recruit new members,” Thelen said.
Thelen said the Farm Bureau plays an important role in a society that sometimes doesn’t give much thought to where its food comes from.
“One thing everyone is concerned about is the food and fiber we have in our diets. Even though you go to the grocery store to buy your food, that’s not exactly where your food comes from,” Thelen said. “One of the things the Farm Bureau does is try to get people to understand where their food comes from. We have a lot of very good crops and dairy farms in Washtenaw County and we want people to trust the safety of their food and to support their local farmers.”
Thelen said agriculture is an important industry in Washtenaw County.
“We have a great deal of productive farm ground in Washtenaw County, especially on the western side,” Thelen said.
The Thelens raised two daughters on their farm. Both daughters went through the 4-H program. Their youngest daughter, Julie Ann, was a state officer in the FFA. She now teaches as an agri-science instructor. She was recently at the American Farm Bureau Convention, where she was a contestant in a Young Farmer Discussion Meet.
Thelen said he looked forward to serving as President of Washtenaw County Farm Bureau.