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COLDWATER, MI --

For 50 years, Coldwater, MI has hosted an annual Farmer’s Day with speakers, vendors, and an opportunity to mingle with those work daily in the business of agriculture. It will be held on February 20 from 9 am until 4 pm at the Branch Area Career Center and in honor of this special anniversary, a celebration hot meal will be offered as a scholarship fundraiser.

In 1967, the Branch County Council of Cooperatives sponsored an all day event in cooperation with the county Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) service. The first presenters were three extension specialists James Porter, Hugh Henderson, and Bob Maddex. Porter shared on the latest in fertilizers and applications in reference to his area of expertise of soils. Henderson, an animal husbandry specialist, talked about what to feed livestock and Maddex, who specializes in agricultural engineering, spoke on the newest information concerning materials handling.

Each of the sponsoring cooperatives had an individual display devoted to an aspect of farming with materials handling equipment, farm building construction, egg production, farm fuels, milk and livestock marketing, modern insurance coverage changes, artificial breeding, and farm financing covering the range of interests. The event was considered “a tremendous success” by the county extension director Boyd Wiggins and plans were made for a second Farmer’s Day the next year.

Fast forward 50 years and Farmer’s Day is still going with a slightly altered look as some things have changed but agriculture is still the same. There is an ongoing interest in many of the topics that were brought up in 1967, but with the advancement in technology and the science behind farming, the programs look a little different. One year, a talk was given on the use of drones on the farm with various technological applications on the unit specifically focused for agricultural use. Goats as a detriment to invasive species of weeds and for an improvement on a property’s forage availability will be the topic for one of the 2017 presentations. The evolution of farming practices has been shared through the years and is expected to continue with old ideas being revived along with new ones being researched.

Vendors from all around the tri-state area will be on hand to present the most current ideas in traditional packages with tractors and agricultural implements on display along with seed companies, insurance agencies, financial institutions, and community organizations.

A new feature for the 50th anniversary will be the luncheon speaker, Dr. Ray Guarendi, who will be sharing on “The Sanity of the Family”. He will have an additional talk during the afternoon sessions. The annual offerings of the Restricted Use Pesticide Exams and Pork Quality Assurance are available that day as well.

The hot meal will cost $3 with the funds being applied to the Branch County Agri-Business Council’s scholarship fund for students pursuing agricultural careers. The Council, along with the Branch County Dairy Producers and Clemens Food Group, are sponsoring the lunch.

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