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LANSING, MI -- Every year at least two or three of the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee (MSPC) directors are up for appointment or reappointment by the Governor. This year was the big year with three appointments being made.

Richard (Andy) Welden of Jonesville has served tenure on the MSPC representing farmers in District 2 (Calhoun, Eaton, Hillsdale, Ingham and Jackson counties). He farms with his sons in Jonesville and is owner of Welden Farm. They raise commercial and food grade soybeans in rotation with corn and wheat. MSPC wishes to sincerely thank Andy for his many years of service on the MSPC, and we look forward to working with Andy on other industry boards in the coming years. (Andy currently serves on the United States Soybean Export Council – USSEC – on behalf of Michigan's soybean farmers).

Governor Snyder selected Peter (Pete) Crawford of Dansville as Andy's successor in District 2. Crawford, owner of Crawford Farms, started farming in 1984 in Ingham County. He studied agriculture at MSU where he received a certificate in Soil and Chemical Technology. Through the years, he served on the boards of the Michigan Soybean Association, American Soybean Association (ASA) and Ingham County Farm Bureau. He also was Michigan's first ASA/DuPont Young Leader in 1987. A native of Scotland, he's served the USA as a sergeant in the Marine Corps and was a helicopter crew chief. Pete farms 2,500 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat with his wife, son, son-in-law, daughter and cousin. Part of the land they work is his wife's family's Centennial Farm. Pete has been a seed dealer for Great Lakes Hybrids for 30 years, a certified crop adviser, and a certified seed grower for Great Lakes and DF Seeds. He also is on the county's Farm Service Agency committee. He likes to camp with family and friends and indicates the best part of life is his three grandkids.

In District 4, Dennis Gardner of Croswell was reappointed for a second three-year term on the MSPC. Dennis is co-owner of Gardner Farms and has been farming for 28 years raising soybeans, corn, sugarbeets and wheat on 1,600 acres. He received his Ag Tech degree from MSU in 1991. Dennis has already served as both secretary and vice president on the MSPC board and represents soybean producers in Huron, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair and Sanilac counties. Dennis is also very active in his church and on the sugarbeet board.

In District 5, representing farmers in Arenac, Bay, Lapeer, Saginaw and Tuscola counties, Tom Hess of Vassar was appointed last winter to fulfill the remaining one-year of a term previously held by now MSPC employee, Mark Seamon. A special thanks to Tom for his dedicated year of service on the MSPC!

Lastly, Governor Snyder appointed Michael (Mike) Sahr of Saginaw for a three-year term on the MSPC representing soybean farmers in District 5. Mike previously served on the Michigan Bean Commission and is owner of both Michael Sahr Farms LLC and Michael Sahr Crop Insurance Agency LLC. He lives on a Centennial Farm in Saginaw County where he started farming 40 years ago with his father and is now farming approximately 600 acres with his son. They also farm in Presque Isle County. Mike manages the farm, with his son doing the day-to-day operations. Mike says he thoroughly enjoys being a steward of the land.

The MSPC, whose mission is to manage checkoff resources to increase return on investment for Michigan soybean farmers while enhancing sustainable soybean production, is directed by a board of seven farmers from across the state to invest soybean checkoff funds into beneficial projects in areas such as research, market development and education. For more information on the MSPC or to be considered for a future position on the board, contact Executive Director Gail Frahm at 989.652.3294.

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