Farm Progress

Commodity Corner: Checking in with commodity groups across the state.

August 11, 2017

5 Min Read
NEW DIRECTOR: MWP has one new appointment, Marc Hasenick of Springport (District 2). He replaced Carl Sparks from Cassopolis, a charter member of the Michigan Wheat Program board.

Gov. Rick Snyder’s office has announced his selections to the Michigan Wheat Program’s nine-member board of directors. The governor made two reappointments and one new appointment to the wheat checkoff board. The new appointments run through May 2020.

Reappointments were Sally McConnachie of Deckerville and David Milligan of Cass City. The new appointment is Marc Hasenick of Springport (District 2). Hasenick replaced Carl Sparks from Cassopolis, a charter member of the Michigan Wheat Program board.

McConnachie (District 5) is a managing member of Dave's Dirt LLC. She has farmed for 37 years. She and her family raise wheat, sugarbeets, dry beans, corn and soybeans. She is a member of Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Corn Growers Association and Sanilac County Republican Party. McConnachie previously worked at Sandusky Dental Care.

Milligan (District 7) owns Milligan Farms LLC, where he has farmed for 47 years. The farm grows wheat, soybeans, corn and dry beans. Milligan was named Cass City Citizen of the year in 2013, serves as a member of the board and most recently elected secretary of the National Association of Wheat Growers and previously served on the American Farm Bureau Wheat Committee. Milligan has served as chairman of the Michigan Wheat Program board since its inception in 2011.

Hasenick is part owner of Hasenick Brothers LLC, a 67-year-old family farm, and serves as its tactical logistics manager and pesticide application technician. He has practical knowledge of atypical management practices used in wheat production, is an active supporter of the Springport FFA and serves on the Springport AgriScience advisory board. Hasenick holds a bachelor's degree in crop and soil science from Michigan State University.

Following the governor’s appointments, the board held its 2017-18 officer elections. As a strong show of support, the board voted to continue the current slate of officers. David Milligan was re-elected chairman, and Dean Kantola of Kantola Farms Inc. in Ravenna was re-elected vice chairman. Frank Vyskocil (District 6) of New Lothrop will continue to serve as board treasurer, and Art Loeffler of Star of the West Milling out of Frankenmuth (miller representative) was re-elected secretary of the board.

Kantola has served on the board since its founding in 2011, and was involved in the temporary wheat farmer committee that did the developmental work to establish the wheat checkoff. Kantola farms with his brother in West Michigan and is a partner in Kantola Farms Trucking.

Vyskocil of Shiawassee Valley Farms in New Lothrop (District 6) has a 52-year history in farming. He has been focused on new technology and innovations in fertilizer, soil management and marketing strategies. He grows corn and soybeans, in addition to wheat.

Loeffler, a board member since its inception, is the miller representative on the board. Loeffler serves as the CEO of Star of the West Milling and resides in Frankenmuth.


Michigan potatoes fill big need

The Food Bank Council of Michigan bought over 4.5 million pounds of Michigan potatoes last year for seven food banks located throughout the state. FBCM has partners in Michigan’s potato growers that work with the council and directly with their local food bank.

FBCM has partnered with the state of Michigan since 1990 on MASS — Michigan Agricultural Surplus System. MASS allows FBCM to purchase produce, dairy and eggs from Michigan farmers.

FBCM focuses on No. 2 or B-grade produce. Do you have extra fresh potatoes or some No. 2s that need a home? Want to help your neighbors in need? Contact Kath Clark at [email protected] or 517-614-3290.


Repositioning pork to reach changing audience

With the consumer market for pork and other protein sources changing rapidly, the Pork Checkoff is putting the finishing touches on a plan to capitalize on those changes by repositioning pork marketing. The plan was introduced during the World Pork Expo held in June in Des Moines, Iowa.

“The Pork Checkoff has embarked on a journey to determine how best to market pork today,” says Bob Dykhuis, president of Michigan Pork Producers Association and a pork producer from Holland. “The direction may be drastically different from what we’ve seen in the last quarter century.”

The big changes that require a new marketing plan, the National Pork Board’s chief executive officer Bill Even says, are driven by what he called “the three M’s”:

• Millennials. America’s largest generation has increasing buying power and makes buying decisions differently than its predecessor generations.

• Mobile. The speed of communication and access to information fuels demand, requiring constant attention to new means of communication.

• Multicultural. Currently 36% of the U.S. population, the newest arrivals to the U.S. and their families will make up 50% of the population by 2050.

Dykhuis says the National Pork Board spent the past year conducting extensive research to define the critical needs of pork marketing. The research included in-depth discussions with producers, packers, processors, retailers, food service and consumers.

Jarrod Sutton, the National Pork Board’s vice president of domestic marketing, says the research was designed “to find the marketing sweet spot at the intersection of market trends, such as population growth and growing market diversity; market opportunity that capitalizes on pork’s flavor, convenience and value; and marketing tools the Checkoff can use to reach younger and more diverse audiences.

Sutton views the changing marketplace as an opportunity to inspire all segments of the pork chain to find new ways to succeed. The signs are positive, Sutton adds. Demand for protein remains strong. Red meat and poultry production is projected to grow over the next three years — by 6.6% for beef, 9% for poultry and 12.3% for pork, starting with projections that 2017 will be a record year for pork production. Sutton says the new direction of Pork Checkoff-funded marketing will build on the three pillars of pork’s brand identity — quality, trust and value.

The new marketing strategy will be deployed early in 2018.

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