KEVIN YOUNG, DIRECTOR
60822 Creek Road
Niles, MI 49120
269-684-3870
kevin60822@sbcglobal.net


JULY/AUGUST 2020 GRANGE NEWS

Wow July!? Where did the first 6 months of 2020 go to? I wish it would have taken COVID-19 along with it so we could get back to a little bit of normal living now. I hope everyone that plants a garden was able to get their plants before the stores sold out of vegetables early this season. We were able to get our plants before what we wanted were sold out including our seed potatoes. We planted our seed potatoes late yet again this year but Mom and Dad put theirs in the garden here at the house so they could be watered with the rest of our shared garden. We had a good crop of potatoes last year with planting them by way of the Ruth Stout method of gardening. This method will require basically very little watering and no weeding when done correctly. It is a system where you are “composting” the materials back into the soils during the winter months including the plants/vines from the growing season! No more need to use the rototiller. I hope this works well! Google Ruth Stout method of gardening. There are videos and everything on the internet on this form of gardening plus others as well.
 We are a few short months now from our 2020 State Session that is being held at the Ramada Inn Conference Center in Grayling. It is going to look and be different this year due to the Pandemic but we as an organization need to keep our fellow Brothers and Sisters safe. Because of the changes that were made the Agriculture Department will NOT be holding in contest classes to enter this year. It is unfortunate but there just isn’t enough time to set up displays and receive enters and have judges do the judging so the Department Directors can get the paperwork done and ribbons presented all while we all need to be in Session as Delegates. We have lots that must be accomplished in one day this year. With that said, all Ag Dept. classes from this year will roll over into next year’s Program Book. I am sorry if you have been growing something special for the contest classes but maybe you can share with friends or food banks that are struggling to provide food to those in need. If you have pictures to share of your gardens please feel free to forward to the Worthy Secretary and maybe we can get them included in one of the issues of the MGN! 
Fair season this year is goin​g to look very different thanks to COVID-19. I have not heard of any County Fair thus far that has not canceled/postponed 2020 until the time they will have it in 2021. It is sad but a hard decision for Fair Boards to make this year. My local county fair that I exhibited at and currently volunteer each year was to celebrate our 75th Anniversary and had lots of special things planned to help celebrate. They are now hosting the Berrien County 2020 Showcase – Youth are Essential during our normal fair week. The bad side of this is that no public is invited and it is just a “Show and Go” type event where you bring your animal in for the day, show it and take it home. No auctions are being held that I am aware of so many families will be left trying to find a way to get something in return on their investments on the cost of the animal and feed. If you hear of a family that is looking for people to buy the animal(s) and you have room in your freezer for a pig or maybe even a half of beef etc., please think about helping them out. My family is in that same situation and we will be working hard to figure out what to do with 3 market hogs. As of right now the market price on hogs is very low, so that really isn’t an option either. Also, if your local County Fair is hosting any type of special fund raiser please support them. These funds will no means make up what they are going to lose by not holding their weeklong event. Lots of Fairs are sponsoring “Drive Thru Fair Food” events which is also giving food vendors that are at these fairs a chance to make a little income as well. This pandemic has hurt so many people and businesses that we would not have thought it would hurt until you think about all of the year round events that aren’t happening because of health concerns.
Here is hoping your gardens are growing or will be and that your harvest is bountiful. Until the next MGN….


AGRICULTURE
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020 GRANGE NEWS

Wow! August is almost over and another County Fair season SHOULD be in the books for my area. As it was in all other areas of the State and Country most fairs postponed or canceled due to the Pandemic. I am sure you are like me and am tired of hearing about the Pandemic. My county fair did what was called the Berrien County Showcase – Where Youth are Essential. There was a number of departments that hosted a one day show and go event for the exhibitors. We went to the goat show and it was a nice event but nowhere near as many exhibitors as what come to the fair for the week. Our departments that have Market Animals did not have auctions online for the kids so they had to find buyers on their own. We ended up sending out market goats to the auction house in Shipse. As for the 4 pigs, 3 of them will be going on Sunday the 23rd to the fairgrounds to be loaded up on a truck to be sent to a processor. Our swine committee was able to get spots secured at 5 area processors as it is very difficult to get any type of animal into a processor for your freezer right now. With the “fair week” past us, that means my chores will slow way down as I do not have goats and pigs to care for any longer. Well I will have 1 pig to care for until Sept 1st when we take it directly to our processor ourselves. The animals will surely be missed for the next few weeks, but I do have chores to do yet. Our small flock of chickens are stilling doing fairly well even though a good number of them are around 3 years old and are not giving many eggs. We will have to replace them by next spring.
The garden hasn’t done well this summer for some reason. We did get potatoes planted and should have lots of them since Mom and Dad planted their seed potatoes in the garden this year rather than at their house. With my mom having foot surgery on May 29th, they decided that it would be best of it here in the garden to be cared for while she recovers from surgery and Dad takes care of their house chores and yard. 
As we move in to the harvest season, please keep in mind that we will once again be sharing the roads with very large sized farm equipment. I know we are all in a hurry to get where we are going but we need to keep in mind that those big pieces of equipment help to put food on our families’ tables.
I look forward to seeing everyone that are coming as delegates to the Michigan State Grange Convention that is being held in late October at the Grayling Ramada Inn and Conference Center. It is going to be a different Convention for sure but what hasn’t been normal this year?!!
See you at State Session!!