Farm Horizons, April 2014
Farm Bureau offers services and benefits to all members
By Tara Mathews
Minnesota Farm Bureau is an association of nearly 30,000 families who work to improve economic well-being and quality of life through legislative services, educational programs, and promotions.
There are 78 county and regional Farm Bureaus in Minnesota, which represent all 87 counties.
Minnesota Farm Bureau membership is $60 per year, and is included in the price of insurance purchased through Farm Bureau.
Anyone can be an associate member of Minnesota Farm Bureau, and associate membership is automatic with the purchase of Farm Bureau insurance.
Voting members have the ability to vote for board members or run for a board seat. They must receive their income from a farm or agriculture to be eligible
Membership dues are used for educational, legislative, and promotional services provided by Farm Bureau, and $16 of the $60 is applied locally.
McLeod County Farm Bureau
McLeod County Farm Bureau has 814 associate members and 252 voting members.
Jeff albers, Randy Peterson, Brian Olson, and Ryan Elbert are the four McLeod County agents.
The office is located at 2120 10th Street East in Glencoe.
Insurance, membership, and financial services are available through the Glencoe office.
McLeod County Representative
McLeod County Representative Dean Duesterhoeft has been on the McLeod County Farm Bureau board since 2000, when his father retired from his board position. He has been president of the board for four years.
“I enjoy working with the people,” Duesterhoeft said about his position. “There is a certain level of comfort I feel working within Farm Bureau. I can call anyone on staff, and they are more than happy to help.”
Duesterhoeft and his wife, Jane, run a 340-acre family farm in Lynn Township, southwest of Hutchinson.
They raise pigs, feeder cattle, corn, soy beans, small grain, and alfalfa.
Duesterhoeft graduated from Hutchinson High School and completed a one-year agricultural degree from Hutchinson Area Vocational School (now Ridgewater College).
He has been working on his family farm since 1978, and in 2009 took full responsibility of it from his father and mother.
Farm Bureau programs and promotions
McLeod County has programs and promotions geared toward education, such as a young farmer and rancher program, and donating four promotional books about pig and cattle farming.
All four of the books are written by Minnesota authors Susan Anderson and JoAnne Buggey. The two cattle books were donated to first and fourth grade classrooms in public and private McLeod County schools last year, and the two pig books are this year’s book donation.
Farm Bureau also has a safty trailer that is used for FFA and 4-H safety camps. FFA and 4-H members are taught how to handle different situations they might encounter on a farm, such as how to pull themselves out after being caught waist deep in a grain bin.
Minnesota Farm Bureau hosts Farm Fest, which will take place Aug. 5-7, 2014, and is located in Redwood County at the Gilfillan Estate.
Farm Fest is a regional farm show which has about 35,000 attendees each year. It provides educational opportunities and entertainment, along with farm equipment and a pancake breakfast.
Benefits of Farm Bureau membership
Being a Farm Bureau member is very beneficial, according to Duesterhoeft.
Members have the option to have a voice in legislative matters involving farming and agriculture, whether through members of the board, or personal attendance at legislative sessions.
Membership in county Farm Bureau divisions also grants membership to state and national Farm Bureau organizations.
Members receive a national newsletter monthly, “Voice of Agriculture,” and a county newsletter twice per year.
Members also receive various discounts, such as hotel accommodations; Valleyfair and Minnesota Zoo tickets; lasik surgery and contacts; heavy equipment and Chevrolet/General Motors; and fitness membership.
Who should be a member of Farm Bureau?
“I would recommend anyone who is involved with farm or agriculture become a member,” Duesterhoeft stated. “Although anyone can become a member, and receive the same benefits.”
Members have the opportunity to attend annual Farm Bureau meetings at the county, state, and national level. They can submit ideas for resolutions with any of the three legislators working with Farm Bureau.
To become a member, insurance purchase through Farm Bureau or owning a farm is not required.
How to become a Farm Bureau member
Interested parties can contact the McLeod County Farm Bureau office at (320)864-3168; go to the farm Bureau website, www.fbmn.org; or check out the McLeod County Farm Bureau Facebook page for more information. Any voting member can also sell memberships.
Parties who do not reside in McLeod County can still hold membership with the purchase of Farm Bureau insurance.