Two county residents earn Farm Bureau awards 12.09

Written by David Green.

Two Lenawee County residents were honored at the Michigan Farm Bureau annual meeting Dec. 2.

A Clayton-area resident earned the Michigan Farm Bureau’s Agricultural Promoter of the Year award and a TECH Center teacher was named Agriscience Educator of the Year.

JOY MARVIN—No opportunity for agricultural promotion is off limits to Joy Marvin of Clayton. If dressing in a cow costume gets the attention of elementary students, she’ll happily don udders. She has no shame in “tagging on” to non-farm community events if there is the slightest opportunity to tell agriculture’s story and promote Michigan agricultural products.

Marvin was chosen the state’s top promoter and was awarded a $500 grant to support future promotional efforts.

“From community events to a casual visit, she never misses a chance to talk about agriculture, particularly the dairy industry of which she has been a part of with her family for 30 years,” said Lenawee County Promotion and Education Committee chairman Norm Emmons. "She never seems to tire of the activities that are out there to participate in.”

For the past 29 years, she has organized the Lenawee County Farm Bureau's Agriculture in the Classroom program, which teaches local third-graders about Michigan's agricultural diversity. The annual program has grown to reach 1,400 students through the involvement of all the public and parochial schools in the county.

“There are many volunteers in the agriculture industry but Joy is a true promoter. She has a great passion for the industry and will continue to do so without recognition from outside sources,” said Emmons.

KEN BOLLINGER—The roots of the Lenawee Intermediate School District's (LISD) successful agriscience program and FFA chapters can be traced to the vision and leadership of Kenneth Bollinger.

His award for top ag educator came with a $500 grant.

Bollinger, of Adrian, joined the LISD TECH Center staff in 1971 as a horticulture instructor for students in grades 9-12. In 1984, he brought more students into the agricultural career fold by creating a broader ag-tech curriculum and establishing two accompanying FFA chapters which remain active and popular today under his instruction.

The award recognizes an instructor who teaches agriculture and natural resources to prepare youth for a possible career in agriculture.

“In 1968 our county had 12 vocational agriculture programs but that dwindled to four by 1984,” Emmons said in his nomination letter. Since then, Bollinger’s support has given the students in areas with no program a place to learn and develop their interest in agriculture, whether they come from an agricultural background or not.

“His enthusiasm and expertise in the agricultural and horticultural fields has kept up the interest in the county and made the program what it is today,” said Emmons.

LISD TECH Center principal Ryan Rowe concurred saying, “(Ken) has spent countless hours adding knowledge, expertise, and leadership to transform the LISD TECH Center into a professional learning community. Ken combines a cheerful disposition with seriousness of purpose to accomplish remarkable results with all of his students.”

Bollinger’s achievements include growing membership in the LISD FFA ag-tech chapters from about 20 members in 1984 to more than 115 members today. He is credited with adding 15 members in the 2008-09 school year alone by offering an evening agriscience class credit for all high school grade levels.

Bollinger was instrumental in the purchase of 75 acres of land to advance the ag-tech program. Today, the land is made up of 22 acres of woods, 3 acres of wetlands, 45 acres of tillable ground and five buildings to enhance learning opportunities in all areas of agriculture and horticulture.

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