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COLDWATER, MI --

The weather was certainly playing tricks on the participants of the 50th annual Farmer’s Day as it felt like they could have started planting that day. The event was held on February 20 at the Branch Area Career Center in Coldwater, MI and included many of the usual offerings with a few special surprises thrown in.

The area Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) educators were on hand to present a variety of topics of interest to the local farming community. Growing corn and soybeans with the variants of irrigated and non-irrigated land was presented along with pest control, productive mindsets, and the new Veterinary Feed Directive. A detailed talk on a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant was given concerning the use of goats to control invasive species. While the end result was to discover if goats were a productive tool, many other lessons were learned and shared.

Young people intending to show hogs at their county fair were at the Pork Quality Assurance session during the morning. If a 4-H or FFA member is caring for swine with the intention of exhibiting the animal as a project, the class is a requirement. This was the last time the program will be focused on hogs as the presentation will be changing for 2018, when it will be required of all livestock showman before they are allowed to show their animals.

Vendors filled the north end of the facility with businesses coming from a large regional area. The expanded section also hosted local organizations and dealers. The local radio station, WTVB, broadcasted live throughout the day with interviews and invitations to join in on the anniversary festivities. The most popular giveaways? The samples of jerky and sausage and cups of ice cream were constantly being appreciated as well as other items such as pens, bags, and candy.

A special 50th anniversary luncheon was sponsored by the Branch County Agri-Business Council with help from the Branch County Dairy Producers and Clemens Food Group. The hot meal included pulled pork along with twice baked mashed potatoes, four bean baked beans, cole slaw, and delightfully decorated cupcakes that were displayed surrounding a cake proclaiming the anniversary. The meal was served in the mall area so the audience could enjoy the luncheon speaker, another addition due to the celebration.

The speaker was Dr. Ray Guarendi who is a father of 10 adopted children, a clinical psychologist, television and radio show host, and an author of 11 books. He presented a talk about “The Sanity of the Family” and humorous stories about families that the entire audience could relate to. His afternoon session was a continuation of the lunch program.

Four of the Branch County Agri-Business Council members shared their remembrances of Farmer’s Day from the last 50 years. Merle and Liz Donbrock, Gene Easterday, and Remus Rigg talked about the evolution of the event and how it started.

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