Breathtaking—that’s the only word I can think of to describe what the Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) is doing for members.
I advise associations to focus on helping members “work less stressfully, more profitably and more productively.” I also suggest asking, “What can we do for members that they can’t for themselves?” MFB has answered both of these questions through a bold initiative: Great Lakes Ag Labor Services, LLC.
Michigan Farmers are dependent on laborers to harvest fruit and vegetables yet labor shortages have challenged members for years. MFB started Great Lakes Ag Services to bring legal migrant workers from Mexico. Four growers participated in a pilot in 2014 and the program has expanded since then. The program ensures workers receive authorization to work in the U.S. as well as making sure farmers have the proper paperwork completed. Not only did the program work for members, it worked for the association as well. The LLC turned a profit the first year.
Listen to my interview with Scott Piggott, CEO, Michigan Farm Bureau, to learn more about how this initiative came together. It’s not just an excellent example of innovation. It’s innovation that matters to members—the very best kind.