Lansing Area Agriculture and Natural Resources Club celebrates 80 years
Established in 1941, the Lansing Area Agriculture and Natural Resources Club (LAANRC) celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2021.
Established in 1941, the Lansing Area Agriculture and Natural Resources Club (LAANRC) celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2021. Throughout its history, the club (formerly called the Lansing Farmers Club) has thrived by providing a stimulating venue for its members.
The club’s stated purpose is to provide opportunities for those interested in agriculture and natural resources to interact regularly with others who have like interests. The club helps to keep members updated in these areas, share a social environment and develops new friendships all while supporting a scholarship program for deserving students in the Michigan State University (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR).
“The Lansing Area Agricultural and Natural Resources Club plays several key roles in my life,” said Steve Harsh, former LAANRC president and long-time active member.
“The speakers from campus serve as a bridge back to the college in terms of what is evolving in new research, academic and outreach activities. The monthly meetings are a means to remain engaged with former university and professional colleagues," Harsh added. "Without the club, it would be difficult to maintain these relationships. The club provides an opportunity to give back to MSU with our support of student scholarships through the club’s endowment. Lastly, the socialization with others interested in agriculture and natural resources is something both my wife, Karen, and I relish."
Education and fellowship
On April 25, 1941, a group of 24 Lansing area men, mostly city businessmen who became farmland‐owners and a few agriculture professors, met at Hunts Food Shop across from the Michigan State College (MSC) Union. This first exploratory meeting resulted in the formation of the Lansing Farmers Club patterned after similar clubs being formed in Southwestern Michigan and around the nation at that time.
“The motivation for these city-based entrepreneurs to form a club was to learn how to better manage the investments they had made in farming operations following the Great Depression,” explained Bob Pangman, LAANRC secretary-treasurer.
Monthly educational meetings soon began with presentations made mainly by Michigan State College agricultural faculty. Educational tours supplemented meetings and included the very popular tours of member’s farms.
“Our membership continued to grow as active farmers and off-farm agribusiness people in the region became interested and involved. Many of the MSC/MSU agricultural staff who were presenters at first, became full-time members,” Pangman added.
Since the club’s inception, 71 individuals have served as president and 15 as secretary-treasurer. The longest serving secretary-treasurer was Howard Cook who served for 24 years from 1945 to 1969. The current secretary-treasurer, Bob Pangman, comes in second longest, holding the office since 2003.
For 73 years, the club has met at the Okemos Masonic Center enjoying meals prepared by the members of the Order of the Eastern Star. These dinners and involvement with the club have contributed greatly to the club’s success over the years.
Throughout its history, the club has thrived by providing a stimulating venue for learning, for fellowship among the members and for activities to financially assist promising youth interested in agricultural and natural resource careers.
According to Pangman, “Monthly meetings still provide the framework for the club’s activities. Not even COVID-19 could deter the club from meeting during the past year. The group continued to meet virtually via Zoom.”
Assisting youth interested in ANR careers
Since 1945, the club has supported youth development grants and scholarships. In 2013, club members established the LAANRC Endowed Scholarship Fund at Michigan State University to support scholarships for outstanding CANR students.
Club members and friends have continued to donate to the endowment, which has recently grown to more than $100,000.
"Our goal is to support talented CANR students who are future leaders of agriculture and natural resources,” said Sandy Stuckman, Scholarship Coordination Team chair. “Our desire is to increase the size and/or number of scholarships annually. We are very impressed by and proud of former scholarship recipients as we learn of their career choices and accomplishments after graduation from MSU."
Gifts honoring the club’s 80th anniversary can be made to support the LAANRC Endowed Scholarship. To make a gift online, visit http://givingto.msu.edu. Click on "give now" and type in the name of the fund "Lansing Area Agriculture and Natural Resources Club" to donate.
Gifts may also be made by check payable to Michigan State University (please include account number A1004020 on the memo line of the check). Forward the check and donation form to:
Michigan State University
535 Chestnut Drive, Room 300
East Lansing, MI 48824
For more information on the club, visit lansinganrclub.org.