THE LANSING FARMERS CLUB: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
CELEBRATING 80 YEARS IN 2021
Throughout its history, the Lansing Farmers Club (now Lansing Area Agriculture & Natural Resources Club) has thrived by providing a venue for learning, fellowship among the members and a means to assist promising youth interested in agricultural and natural resource careers. Additional history of the club may be found on our website lansinganrclub.org
Michigan Agruculture 1920-1947:CLICK HERE for a brief summary from the book Michigan Agriculture 1800-1980.
The Lansing Farmers Club began during an exploratory meeting at Hunts Food Shop across from the Michigan State College (MSC) Union on April 25th, 1941. Glenn Cathey organized the meeting and informed 10 "city farmers" in attendance about newly formed clubs in Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Chicago and Detroit who were holding educational meetings to assist members in managing their farms. At this meeting, it was decided to form a Club, call it the Lansing Farmers Club and appoint Glenn Cathey as temporary chairman and Howard Cook as temporary secretary.
Mr. Cathey invited a group of 24 Lansing area businessmen who were potential members to a second meeting in May, 1941, along with a few agriculture professors. Before the meeting ended, a Board of Directors was named and plans for the next meeting established
Education and Fellowship Throughout The Years
Regular educational meetings began on a monthly basis in 1941 usually with agricultural staff from Michigan State College as presenters. Tours supplemented meetings. Summer tours to member’s farms were popular.
Club membership initially was by invitation only and exclusively male. Two "ladies nights" were held each year. In the 1980s, family memberships were established which encouraged the involvement of women. To date, two women have served as president and many have been active on the Board of Directors.
For 73 years, the Club has met at the Okemos Masonic Center and enjoyed meals prepared by the members of the Order of the Eastern Star. The OES dinners and involvement with the Club have contributed greatly to the Club’s success over the years.
Since the Club’s inception, there have been 71 different Presidents and 15 Secretary-Treasurers. The Secretary-Treasurer holding the position the longest was Howard Cook who served for 24 years from 1945 to 1969. Our current Secretary-Treasurer Bob Pangman comes in second longest as he has served since 2003 and is in his 18th year.
Assisting Youth Interested In Agriculture and Natural Resources Careers
Since 1945, the Club has supported youth development grants and scholarships. A Club milestone was achieved in 2013 with the creation of a scholarship endowment fund at Michigan State University with gifts from members to support scholarships for outstanding students in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. A major fund-raiser sponsored by the Club, and planned to be held on a bi-annual basis, has been a live and silent auction conducted at one of the monthly meetings. A wide range of useful auction items has created a fun experience for members and significant support for the scholarship endowment.
Looking To The Future
In 2016, the Club implemented a strategic planning process with extensive member involvement. Outcomes included changing the name to Lansing Area Agriculture and Natural Resources Club, a revised purpose statement and more clearly defined goals to reflect current membership interests. New By-Laws were adopted in 2017 creating a revised organizational structure supported by teams of members responsible for specific functions to achieve Club goals. A new annual Membership Directory has been published and distributed since 2018 that has been well-received by members. In 2020, a new club website was created to assist in giving the Club greater visibility and to serve as an informational resource for members and the public. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, monthly virtual Club meetings, Board meetings, and Team meetings were conducted using Zoom. These virtual efforts, even when surrounded by challenges, have moved the Club into the future with renewed energy and enthusiasm.