TRIBUTE TO JIM BYRUM; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 4
(Senate - January 08, 2020)

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                          TRIBUTE TO JIM BYRUM

 Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I rise today to honor someone who 
has dedicated his entire career to promoting Michigan agriculture and 
someone I am proud to call my friend.
  I have always said that, in Michigan, we don't have an economy unless 
we make things and grow things. For more than 40 years, Jim Byrum has 
been helping Michigan do just that.
  That is a big deal for our State. From West Michigan's fruitbelt, to 
the forests of Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, to sugarbeet 
and dry bean fields in the Thumb, to biofuel production providing good 
jobs in rural communities, to dairy and food processing businesses in 
cities and towns of all sizes, agriculture is our State's second-
largest industry, supporting one in four jobs.
  During his nearly 25 years with the Michigan Agri-Business 
Association, Jim has been a powerful advocate for those one in four 
jobs and for his organization's more than 400 members. His vision, 
insight, hard work, and great sense of humor have played a strong role 
in the association's success.
  It is no surprise that Jim knows exactly what his members need; he 
has his own lifetime of experience to rely on.
  Jim is the fourth generation of Byrums to live on his family's farm 
in Onondaga. Before he joined the Michigan Agri-Business Association, 
he was State executive director of Michigan's Farm Service Agency and 
executive director of the Michigan Bean Commission.
  Jim may be moving on, but the imprint he has left on the agribusiness 
industry will live on. I know that Jim is particularly proud of the 
work he has done to expand markets internationally and to build the 
Michigan Agri-Business Leader Program, which has been bringing together 
different sectors of agriculture and training the next generation of 
leaders since 2008.
  I have been especially grateful for the culture of cooperation and 
bipartisanship Jim has helped cultivate in our State during a very 
challenging time for the industry.
  As Jim told Russ White of MSU Today back in September: ``There's 
going to be more change in the next 20 years of this industry than 
there has been in the past 50. And that change is coming at light speed 
. . . it's going to benefit consumers . . . it's going to benefit 
producers . . . but folks better be ready to embrace it.''
  I know for a fact that Michigan's agricultural industry is better 
positioned to embrace change thanks to Jim's hard work and dedication. 
Speaking of change, I am so happy that Jim will have more time to spend 
with his wife Dianne, who is a leader in her own right, and his two 
children and grandchildren.
  Jim, thank you for your friendship, your leadership, and your 
lifetime of work on behalf of Michigan agriculture. It has been my 
honor to be your partner in helping Michigan make things and grow 
  Thank you.