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The case was found through routine surveillance testing required by the state’s current Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This is Michigan’s 81st cattle herd to be identified with bovine TB since 1998. | Photo by The Guardian

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is reporting another case of confirmed bovine tuberculosis in a Cheboygan County beef herd, located in Michigan’s Accredited Free Zone (AFZ).

The case was found through routine surveillance testing, as required by the state’s current Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Department of Agriculture. This is Michigan’s 81st cattle herd to be identified with bovine TB since 1998.

“As with all new findings of this disease in a cattle herd, additional testing will be done in the herd, and an epidemiologic investigation has been started to rule out the possibility of additional cases stemming from the affected herd,” said State Veterinarian Nora Wineland, DVM.

A key part of the investigation, says Wineland, will be whole genome sequencing, a comprehensive analysis of DNA from the TB bacteria found within this sample.

“This analysis will help to determine the source of the infection,” Wineland said, adding that it may take three months for the genome sequencing to be completed.

Bovine TB is a bacterial disease that can affect all mammals, including humans. It is known to be present in the free-ranging white-tailed deer population in specific areas of northeastern lower Michigan, and the disease can be transmitted between deer and cattle.

As a result, there are currently two TB zones within the state: a four-county area in northern lower Michigan called the Modified Accredited Zone; the remainder of the state is referred to as the Accredited Free Zone.

Although Cheboygan County is a part of the AFZ, it is also categorized as a buffer county, which is a county adjacent to the four counties of the MAZ (Alpena, Alcona, Montmorency, and Oscoda counties). As required by the Memorandum of Understanding, MDARD has been testing herds in buffer counties over the past year. This herd was identified as part of that surveillance program.

This is the first recorded case of a bovine TB-positive cattle herd in Cheboygan County; however, the disease was detected in two free-ranging white-tailed deer from the county in 2010.

While state and federal agencies are taking significant steps to manage the disease, the continued hunting of deer in this area is an important tool in maintaining healthy deer and cattle populations.

More information about bovine TB can be found at Michigan.gov/bovineTB.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is reporting another case of confirmed bovine tuberculosis in a Cheboygan County beef herd, located in Michigan’s Accredited Free Zone (AFZ).

Cheboygan County Farm Bureau News

Farm News Media


The case was found through routine surveillance testing required by the state’s current Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This is Michigan’s 81st cattle herd to be identified with bovine TB since 1998. | Photo by The Guardian

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is reporting another case of confirmed bovine tuberculosis in a Cheboygan County beef herd, located in Michigan’s Accredited Free Zone (AFZ).

The case was found through routine surveillance testing, as required by the state’s current Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Department of Agriculture. This is Michigan’s 81st cattle herd to be identified with bovine TB since 1998.

“As with all new findings of this disease in a cattle herd, additional testing will be done in the herd, and an epidemiologic investigation has been started to rule out the possibility of additional cases stemming from the affected herd,” said State Veterinarian Nora Wineland, DVM.

A key part of the investigation, says Wineland, will be whole genome sequencing, a comprehensive analysis of DNA from the TB bacteria found within this sample.

“This analysis will help to determine the source of the infection,” Wineland said, adding that it may take three months for the genome sequencing to be completed.

Bovine TB is a bacterial disease that can affect all mammals, including humans. It is known to be present in the free-ranging white-tailed deer population in specific areas of northeastern lower Michigan, and the disease can be transmitted between deer and cattle.

As a result, there are currently two TB zones within the state: a four-county area in northern lower Michigan called the Modified Accredited Zone; the remainder of the state is referred to as the Accredited Free Zone.

Although Cheboygan County is a part of the AFZ, it is also categorized as a buffer county, which is a county adjacent to the four counties of the MAZ (Alpena, Alcona, Montmorency, and Oscoda counties). As required by the Memorandum of Understanding, MDARD has been testing herds in buffer counties over the past year. This herd was identified as part of that surveillance program.

This is the first recorded case of a bovine TB-positive cattle herd in Cheboygan County; however, the disease was detected in two free-ranging white-tailed deer from the county in 2010.

While state and federal agencies are taking significant steps to manage the disease, the continued hunting of deer in this area is an important tool in maintaining healthy deer and cattle populations.

More information about bovine TB can be found at Michigan.gov/bovineTB.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is reporting another case of confirmed bovine tuberculosis in a Cheboygan County beef herd, located in Michigan’s Accredited Free Zone (AFZ).

Michigan Farm Bureau


In a Dec. 3 message to county Farm Bureau leaders, MFB President Carl Bednarski broke the bad — but not surprising — news that the organization’s winter 2021 Core Programs were canceled to safeguard the health and well-being of members and staff alike. Using feedback collected by the MFB State Board of Directors over the past month, the following alternative structure has been approved for 2021.

In lieu of traditional Core Programs (Growing Together, Lansing Legislative Seminar and President’s Capital Summit) those dollars will be used to fund in-person or virtual district-level programming, structured at each district’s discretion and meeting at least one of these objectives:

  • Improve the effectiveness of county Farm Bureau boards, provide concentrated leadership development to county leaders and build organizational discipline.

  • Provide resources, training and leadership development for county Membership, Promotion and Education and Young Farmer chairs. 

  • Enhance member relationship building with state and federal officials while building their issue knowledge and advocacy skills. 

  • Build collaborative relationships amongst counties and districts through idea sharing, networking and best practice brainstorming. 

  • Host a hands-on Young Farmer leadership development activity in the form of district Discussion Meets, emphasizing need for and support of the MFB membership pipeline.

    With the help of home office staff, the meeting(s) will be hosted and coordinated by key leaders of the district including district directors, county Farm Bureau presidents, state P&E and Young Farmer committee members and MFB Regional Managers.

    All events or programming must be conducted before Nov. 1, 2021. Each district will have a budget of $12,500 to use toward their district event(s) to cover location, meals, speakers, programing, etc. Core Program staff will set up a system to ensure the events meet the meeting criteria and will streamline the survey and reporting process to ensure we have good feedback to gauge member satisfaction to this alternate format.

    In addition to these district meetings/programming, MFB will hold a series of virtual sessions/training, meeting the above objectives, that members can participate in at no charge. More information will be forthcoming regarding topics and dates.

    MFB program areas that traditionally deliver Core Programs will work with corresponding state committees (if applicable) to provide county-customizable resources and templates to execute local virtual and in-person programming during the continued uncertainty of 2021. 

    MFB staff contact: Justin Hein, 517-679-4781

In a Dec. 3 message to county Farm Bureau leaders, MFB President Carl Bednarski broke the news that the organization’s winter 2021 Core Programs were canceled to safeguard the health and well-being of members and staff alike.
Michigan Farm Bureau

As of Nov. 20, Michigan is at less than 50% of its deer TB testing quota required in a USDA/MDARD agreement. Failure to meet the testing quota could prompt USDA to reevaluate Michigan’s TB status, leading to additional testing requirements statewide of the state’s beef and dairy herds. (Photo, MDNR)

Deer hunters in a dozen northern Lower Peninsula counties are urged to turn in the heads of harvested deer to an MDNR check station or drop box for bovine tuberculosis testing this hunting season. If testing quotas aren’t met by year’s end, the USDA could reevaluate the entire state’s TB status, imperiling Michigan’s beef and dairy farmers. 

“The new memorandum of understanding between USDA and Michigan requires a significant number of deer heads to be turned in for TB testing in the Modified Accredited Zone and surrounding counties,” said Ernie Birchmeier, MFB’s dairy and livestock specialist. “It is imperative that we all collaborate to achieve those goals.

“Failure to meet the requirements could cause USDA to reevaluate the TB status of the entire state of Michigan. Lowering the state’s status could lead to additional testing requirements statewide, which would be a significant challenge for our beef and dairy farmers.”

While more than 2,000 animals across the Northeastern region of the state had been tested as of Nov. 20 (current numbers are available online), it's significantly under the MOU testing requirements.

Per the MOU, signed this past February, MDNR is required to conduct active surveillance for bovine TB in free-ranging white-tailed deer. Michigan’s Modified Accredited Zone (MAZ), which includes Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency and Oscoda counties, is required to test 2,800 deer annually. 

As of Nov. 20, only 1,220 deer — just 43.6% of the number required — had been tested collectively in the MAZ.

New annual testing quotas are also required for the seven counties surrounding the MAZ including 500 free-ranging deer in Presque Isle County, and 300 each in Cheboygan, Crawford, Iosco, Ogemaw, Otsego and Roscommon for a combined total of 2,300 deer. 

Thus far only 798 deer had been tested in those counties — less than 35% of the number required in the USDA/MDARD agreement.

“It’s imperative we hit those testing quota numbers,” Birchmeier said. “Harvesting a large number of deer and getting the heads tested for TB can help reduce the overall population in areas that have a significant number of deer and we can help to prove to USDA that we are containing the disease and working to eliminate it.”

“Sixty percent of deer that test positive show no signs of the disease, so testing is important,” said Emily Sewell, DNR wildlife health specialist. “It’s important that hunters take precautions like wearing latex or rubber gloves when field dressing. If they notice any lesions on the lungs or in the chest cavity, they should avoid cutting into the lesions and bring the deer to a check station.” 

Check station and drop box locations are listed below and online at Michigan.gov/DeerCheck

For more information visit Michigan.gov/BovineTB or contact Sewell or Birchmeier directly.

DNR Drop Box Locations

  • Alanson — Oden Hatchery Visitor Center; 24-hour drop box; 3377 Oden Road, Alanson; 989-732-3541 ext. 5031

  • Alpena Field Office — check station, 24-hour drop box; 4343 M-32 West, Alpena; 989-785-4251 ext. 5233

  • Atlanta Field Office — check Station, 24-hour drop box; 13501 M-33, Atlanta; 989-785-4251 ext. 5233

  • Cheboygan Field Office — 24-hour drop box120 A Street, Cheboygan; 989-732-3541 ext. 5031

  • Curran BP Gas Station — check station; M-65 & M-72, Curran; 989-348-6371 ext. 7477

  • East Tawas State Harbor Dock — check station; 113 Newman St., Hwy. US-23, East Tawas; 989-275-5151 ext. 2039

  • Gaylord Customer Service Center — check station, 24-hour drop box; 1732 West M-32, Gaylord; 989-732-3541

  • Grayling Field Office — check station, 24-hour drop box; 1955 Hartwick Pines Road, Grayling; 989-348-6371 ext. 7477

  • Hale — Alward’s Market, 118 S. Washington St., Hale; 989-728-2315

  • Hillman BP Gas Station — 24-hour drop box; 27400 M-32 West, Hillman; 989-785-4251 ext. 5233

  • Indian River Field Office — 24-hour drop box; 6984 Wilson Road, Indian River; 989-732-3541 ext. 5031

  • Lincoln Field Office — check station; 408 Main Street, Lincoln; 989-736-8336

  • Lupton — Rifle River Recreation Area; check station; 2550 E. Rose City Road, Lupton; 989-473-2258

  • Mio DNR Field Office — check station, 24-hour drop box; 191 S. Mt. Tom Road, Mio; 989-275-5151 ext. 2722030

  • Onaway Check Station — Tom’s IGA, 20597 State St., Onaway; 989-785-4251 ext. 5233

  • Posen Check Station — behind Huron Oil Co., 10941 Michigan Ave., Posen; 989-785-4251 ext. 5233

  • Rogers City — Adrian’s Sport Shop; 24-hour drop box; 335 N. Bradley Hwy., Rogers City,
     989-785-4251 ext. 5233

  • Roscommon Customer Service Center — check station, 24-hour drop box; 8717 N. Roscommon Road, Roscommon; 989-275-5151 ext. 2722039

  • West Branch Field Office — check station; 410 N. Fairview Road, West Branch; 989-345-0472

Deer hunters in a dozen northern Lower Peninsula counties are urged to turn in the heads of harvested deer to an MDNR check station or drop box for bovine tuberculosis testing this hunting season.

State News

By Katie Eisenberger

Teenagers!?! Am I right??? We want to connect with them, but sometimes figuring that out isn’t as straightforward as reaching elementary students.

Our kindergarteners enjoy meeting a farmer and reading an ag-accurate book while sitting on their classroom rug. Third-graders look forward to the FARM Science Lab arriving for a day of hands-on learning. Fifth-graders engage with the FARM Crate or a county Project RED (Rural Education Day) event.

Then we have our middle schoolers, who turn into high schoolers, who then graduate to attend a trade school, college or head into the workforce. To help county Farm Bureaus develop stronger engagement points for grades 6-12 and beyond, the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture has set up the 2021 MFA High School and Collegiate Pail Program. (Play your cards right and it might also strengthen your membership pipeline at the same time.) 

County Farm Bureaus can recognize, connect and strengthen relationships with high school students and Collegiate Farm Bureau members with MFB feed buckets pails filled with resources that can spark conversations and connect the county with these future members. Four add-on packages can boost your county’s giveaway game at career fairs, honor state FFA degree recipients or graduating students, and boost brand awareness at county fairs and farm visits.

Each basic pail ($9) includes Collegiate Farm Bureau and Young Farmer program promotional material; an “Engage at Any Age” postcard (customizable for your county); networking and engagement tips; a panel of county-specific information (customizable); and suggestions for other county Farm Bureau touch points, like scholarship information, Young Farmer contests, social media and website links.

Four add-on packages are available for an additional $3 per pail:

  • Be Agriculture is for use at career fairs or college nights. Present one to FFA chapter officers or 4-H county representatives during National FFA/National 4H Week, or as giveaways or participation prizes during farm or industry tour. Contents include a career-themed Ag Mag, ‘Be Agriculture’ sticker and a Be Agriculture student handout.
  • On the Farm packs are great for giving to youth participating in youth safety events, livestock shows or county fairs. Connect with FFA Greenhands (first-year members) during your local FFA chapter’s Greenhand Ceremony, or give them away at farm visits to help promote Farm Bureau events. Contents include an MFB-branded first aid or sewing kit, a copy of Michigan Farm News and an MFB-branded emergency phone number magnet.
  • Recognition add-ons are good for presenting to county FFA and 4-H members earning state awards in Proficiency, Academic Excellence or State Degrees during their chapter/club annual banquet. Use them to award top showman in each livestock specie/age division at the county fair or local livestock show; to honor graduating FFA, 4-H or Collegiate members, or your county scholarship recipients. Contents include a customizable congratulations certificate and an MFB vinyl file folder with Collegiate membership and Young Farmer program information.
  • Be Mindful packages are aimed at encouraging students to practice good wellness and mindfulness practices. They’re good gifts for 4-H or FFA seniors as they move into their next phase of life, whether in post-secondary education or the workforce. Contents include a farm-stress post card, MFB stress ball or fidget spinner, and a Farm Bureau-themed journal/coloring booklet.

Through cost-share support from the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture, county Farm Bureaus will get half off their first $600 of pail purchases made by April 30 through the Michigan Agriculture in the Classroom store. Orders must be made by the county administrative manager from March 1 through April 30; click here.

Direct your questions and orders through your county administrative manager. Like I do with my 13-year-old, set some phone reminders and post a checklist on the bathroom mirror so you don’t miss the April 30 deadline. Your county won’t want to miss a chance to recognize, connect and strength relationships with your future members!

Also feel free to contact me with any questions!

Last year was tough and we’re all eager for 2021. Even if the New Year isn’t magical it still gives us a sense of light at the end of the tunnel and a new beginning. With that new beginning, one thing remains the same: We’re still all in this togethe


Tricia McDonald joined Gratiot County Farm Bureau in 2017, first getting involved simply because she had friends to go to events with. Fast forward three short years and Tricia notched an outstanding achievement as the top membership writer statewide. In the 2019-20 membership year, she signed up 15 new regular members.

As Gratiot’s then-new Young Farmer chair, McDonald originally set out simply to share some of the value she’d found in the organization, starting with some friends who weren’t yet members. But she quickly encountered an obstacle that dogs membership writers everywhere: Many of her prospects had been members previously but lost sight of that membership’s value.

The question is legendary and worth a good think: What does Farm Bureau membership offer that’s valuable enough to attract prospective members?

Tricia started with her own Young Farmer group’s current events and how they might be enhanced to provide more value.

“That really lit a fire and led to our Young Farmer group committing to hosting events and facilitating programs that met members’ needs and showcased the value of membership,” McDonald said. “We did a Young Farmer barbecue, which was later paired with a membership ice cream social.

“It also led to us developing our Feed-a-Farmer program.”

Feed-a-Farmer was the brainchild of a previous Young Farmer chair who ran out of time to execute it. When COVID restrictions made traditional events difficult — or impossible — McDonald thought it warranted revisiting as a way to demonstrate membership value even within healthy safeguards.

The way Gratiot’s Young Farmers drew it up, Feed-a-Farmer eligibility only required the recipient farm’s primary contact to be a member — but the whole crew got fed a solid meal livened up with a generous sprinkle of Farm Bureau seasoning…

Back at the clubhouse, McDonald turned her attention to striking a better balance between new-member recruitment and existing-member retention.

She encouraged her Young Farmer peers to bring a non-member friend to the group’s annual chili cookoff and cornhole tournament — a fun networking opportunity already on the calendar. Each cornhole team was to have at least one current Farm Bureau member onboard to help ensure good interaction between existing and prospective members…

Next thing you know? Tricia’s the state’s top volunteer writer of new regular members.

“Farm Bureau impacts every individual in the ag industry in a different way, but it’s valuable to everyone in some way,” McDonald said. “Find someone in agriculture, whether a farmer or industry professional, and really listen to them.

“Learn what’s important to them, and it’ll help you find the value they’re looking for. Once you know their interests, talk about how the organization could benefit them through its various programs, discounts, or just the ability to network and meet others in the area and industry.

“Most importantly, remember it doesn’t hurt to just ask. Now might not be a good time for them to join, but at least you’ve planted a seed for the future.”

Planting seeds. That is how we grow.

Tricia McDonald joined Gratiot County Farm Bureau in 2017, first getting involved simply because she had friends to go to events with. Fast forward three short years and Tricia notched an outstanding achievement as the top membership writer statewide

Continuing our series of real talk with real experts about the real issues facing Michigan farmers, Farmers After Hours: Rural Access, Wellness and You will explore the struggles and resources available for rural healthcare, wellness and support. By breaking down the building blocks of overall health — medical healthcare, rural health trends and mental health — this series will help viewers build awareness of their current health habits and connect with resources to improve their overall well-being.

  • March 17: Live Farmer Panel
  • March 24: Rural Access: The Struggle is Real; healthcare & broadband; Eric Frederick, Connect Michigan
  • March 31: Creating Connectivity: Resources for Rural Areas; healthcare & broadband; The Rural Broadband Association and Rural Health Association
  • April 7: Rural Health Trends; mental health, suicide and cancer; Drs. Elena Stoffel and Joe Himle, University of Michigan
  • April 14: Rural Trends: Diffusion and Meaningful Solutions; mental health, suicide and cancer; Kim Vapor and Dr. Joe Himle, University of Michigan
  • April 21: Farm Stress: The Physical and Mental Toll; real-life stressors, tolls and stigma reduction; Charlotte Halverson, AgriSafe
  • April 28: Combating Stress: Tactics, Resources and Networks; Eric Karbowski, MSU Extension
  • May 5: Live Ask-the-Expert Panel

Register for the new Farmers After Hours series here. Catch up on previous series here on YouTube.

MFB staff contact: Kate Thiel517-679-5741


Continuing our series of real talk with real experts about the real issues facing Michigan farmers, Farmers After Hours: Rural Access, Wellness and You will explore the struggles and resources available for rural healthcare, wellness and support.

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