Schroeder receives Hub Club Service to Ag Award
COURTLAND — A January 22 blizzard postponed the New Ulm Farm-City Hub Club’s annual meeting and banquet by a week, but it didn’t dampen enthusiasm. More than a hundred members and guests attended the event Monday, January 29 at the Courtland Community Center.
Highlight of the evening was Michele Schroeder of rural Courtland receiving the 39th Service to Agriculture Award presented by the club. The award recognizes an individual who goes above and beyond in promoting the club and/or agriculture.
Presenter Dennis Schmidt noted that Schroeder has promoted area agriculture since she moved to New Ulm. The day that she came to town, looking for an apartment, Schroeder saw a sign for the Hub Club and decided she wanted to be a member. She joined even before joining a church in town.
Schroeder’s entire life has centered around agriculture, first as a 4-H member in Sibley County, then as a State 4-H Ambassador. As an FFA member, she was a State FFA Degree recipient. She was runner-up to Princess Kay. She’s an animal science graduate from the University of Minnesota and was on the dairy judging team. In the community, she’s been involved in the Minnesota Holstein Association, Nicollet County ADA, Farm Bureau, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Immanuel Lutheran School (Courtland) PTA, the New Ulm Chamber of Commerce, and is an adult leader for Milford 4-H.
“Almost everything she’s done has dealt with agriculture,” Schmidt said. “She worked for KNUJ for three years and has been an agricultural appraiser at Upper Midwest Management since 2011.”
Schroeder has also worked for Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation, Christenson Farms, Farmer Publications, and Minnesota Milk Producers Association.
Schroeder has been an active leader of the Hub Club, serving as its secretary, vice president and president; starting the club’s very successful Family Night on the Farm, chairing the annual Farm Show, and chairing the club’s 40th anniversary celebration.
Before the presentation of the Service to Agriculture plaque, Schmidt called on several of Schroeder’s friends and family to speak. First up was Mary Pipping, representing the UMMC staff.
“Nobody takes more pictures than Michele,” Pipping pointed out as she held up Upper Midwest’s camera–which Schroeder wore out!
Pipping also noted the Schroeder has a problem keeping track of the keys to UMMC’s van–losing them for quite a period of time. To rectify that, Pipping presented Schroeder with a new van key–on the end of a large chain dog leash that she wrapped around Schroeder’s neck.
Next up was Schroeder’s “closest friend since fifth grade,” New Ulm attorney Mary Kay Mages.
“When we were daydreaming about our future lives, Michele said ‘I am not marrying a dairy farmer–I want to marry a man, not cows.’ She married cows–and a pretty darn good dairy farmer who had no idea what he and his family were getting into,” Mages stated. “He’s good for her. He grounds her–he’s the calm amid the flurry that is Michele.”
In summing up, Mages said, “She’s best friends with whoever she’s with at the moment. She treasures each one of you so much. Her to-do list is jam packed but she has room for 12,000 best friends.”
Final speaker was Schroeder’s husband Jason who noted that he was walking a fine line. “I’m here to humiliate my wife–and sleep in the same bed tonight,” he said, with a laugh.
Jason did share a few stories. One being that–although Michele is vibrant and full of energy–mornings don’t start that way. To get her going, he starts the coffee maker before he goes out to do chores and hopes for the best. “Don’t reach out to her before 80 in the morning,” he warned.
He also mentioned Schroeder’s collection of hundreds of Precious Moments figurines. “She assured me that they’re part of our retirement fund. She said, ‘You come with cows, I come with Precious Moments,’ when we got married. We even have an insurance policy on them–we pay real money to insure porcelain figurines.”
And, a final story from Jason.
“She’s a frugal shopper. Hell, she’s downright cheap. She won’t buy until it’s on sale–they won’t make any money off her. You should see her flight pattern in a store–she goes clear across the store and back and forth. Then she gets out the coupons. It’s a real treat to go grocery shopping with my wife.”
On a serious note, Jason thanked the club for honoring Schroeder, noting that the Hub Club was a big reason that Schroeder hung around New Ulm (before he met her).
“You’re all part of our lives. I congratulate Michele for receiving this award. I look at the list of past winners–there are a lot of people I looked up to. They all cared about the community and promoted ag. I’m proud to have her join that list and I’m proud of her accomplishments.”
In accepting the award, Michele answered a question she was asked the day she was announced as the winner, back in November–“Why do you do what you do?”
She explained that it’s the people, wanting to be part of a group that makes things happen (rather than watch things happen), that the ag community has work to do to tell the industry’s story (or others may do it for them), that her community is important to her, that she takes pride in the club that gives her a sense of belonging, and ag is in her blood and her way of life.