Farm Bureau serves up mounds of chicken

EVART – Fair goers didn’t have to go far for a mouth-watering chicken lunch Wednesday when Farm Bureau members cooked up lunch at their annual chicken barbecue at the Osceola 4-H FFA Fair.

The bureau sold around 440 lunches complete with a barbecued chicken, cole slaw, roll and potato salad for $8 each.

L.D. Hesselink, senior member of the Farm Bureau, said the chicken barbecue began when the 4-H council decided to cook chicken for the fair around 50 years ago. He has helped with the annual fundraiser ever since, storing the large grills at his house in the off season and organizing the grilling during the event.

“I’ve got good help,” Hesselink said. “That always helps.”

The barbecue typically brings in around $2,200 for the bureau after meal expenses are paid. The money is used to fund events and initiatives to educate the community about agriculture, said Summer Deline, promotion and education chairperson. Agricultural initiatives include Rural Education Days – a day field trip for Osceola County fourth graders to learn about a local dairy farm – and Young People Citizenship Seminar held around Michigan to educate young farmers about the political arena.

“We do a lot to educate the community,” said Deline, who raises cattle, horses and a donkey on her farm in Ashton.

After the cost for the meal remaining at $7 for many years, the group decided to increase the cost to $8 per meal this year due to rising food costs.

The increased cost did not stop barbecue lovers from enjoying the popular Farm Bureau meal for another year.

“This gives people the opportunity to meet a lot of farmers and it gives the farmers the opportunity to give back,” Deline said. “I like it because I get to see everybody.”