For the second consecutive year, membership in the Michigan farm Bureau has increased. Regular farmer membership is up to 48,178, an increase from last year of over 1,000 and non-regular associate membership is up to 145, 636, an increase of about 600.
The benefits for individuals and businesses that join the Farm Bureau are many. In addition to access to networking and leadership opportunities, members of the Farm Bureau can participate in grassroots advocacy movements which help develop farm policy, and receive access to discounts from a wide variety of stores and shops.
Michigan, like the rest of the United States, is suffering from the effects of the economic recession. Most industries in the state are currently struggling and many are shrinking or collapsing outright. In the light of these hard economic times, many Michigan politicians have hoped that agricultural production could strengthen the state economy and help blunt the edge of the recession. Cities such as Detroit have embraced urban farming, for example, hoping to revitalize unused city property and create desperately needed urban jobs.
The hopes that many Michiganders have pinned on the agriculture sector appear to be paying off. The steady growth in Farm Bureau membership in the midst of such economic turmoil indicates the strength of the agricultural industry as a whole. Hopefully with increased membership, the Michigan Farm Bureau can add much needed clout to the struggle for a far and equitable Farm Bill for 2012.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer