The Michigan State Horticultural Society gave a distinguished service award to Ken Nye, who retired earlier this year after 37 years working as a commodity specialist for Farm Bureau.

Nye grew up on his parents’ farm in Berrien County near Stevensville, Michigan. He graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in horticultural marketing and was hired by Michigan Farm Bureau in 1977 to work in its Commodity Activities and Research Division as a specialist.

In 1984 he went to Chicago as a horticulture specialist for the American Farm Bureau Federation, where he was involved in international trade and national legislative and regulatory work, traveling to represent grower interests on the national level.

In 1989 Nye returned to Michigan Farm Bureau as director of the Commodity Activities and Research Division. Since 2003, he has managed the MACMA Processing Asparagus Division, which negotiates asparagus prices with processors much as the Michigan Processing Apple Growers Division does for apples.

Ken helped with Farm Bureau’s efforts to expand international markets for growers through World Trade Organization agreements, as well as regional and bilateral trade agreements. He worked on many issues including the Food Quality Protection Act and creation of Project GREEEN, which funnels state funds to Michigan State University researchers based on the prioritized needs of growers.

“Ken is a great spokesman for agriculture, who truly cares about serving Michigan farmers,” said the citation from the hort society.