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Isabella Young Farmers putting pandemic slump behind them

Isabella County cousins Emily Torres (left) and Ashleigh Bryant (right) co-chair the county Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer team.
Date Posted: March 16, 2023

Isabella County’s Ashleigh Bryant grew up around agriculture — her family’s farm and seed business — but she never saw herself coming back to it as an adult.

That all changed when she got involved in FFA, where she found her passion for leadership and agriculture, leading to her enrolling in Delta College’s ag-tech program and an internship with Beck’s Hybrids.

Bryant fell in love with Beck’s and started selling seed for them full-time right after graduation, as well as continuing to help out on the family farm.

She was encouraged to join Farm Bureau by Cathy McCune, current Isabella County Farm Bureau president and membership captain. Her first meeting showed her she fit naturally into the organization — and the leadership roles it offers — and became the county’s Young Farmer chair almost immediately.

“My mom likes to say I’ve been bossing people around since I was a year old,” Bryant said, “so it just worked out really well.”

Bryant’s co-chair is her cousin, Emily Torres, who she’s excited to work with in planning new events and striving to grow the program.

“We’re getting back to that community feel coming out of COVID and getting to a place where there’s more conversation happening about Young Farmers,” she said.

Their biggest goals are to keep the fire they’ve stoked going: continue getting together, building community and encouraging active participation.

Looking forward, Bryant and Torres are excited to see a skeet shoot event they’ve been planning take shape — something they hope will help spark other new events and maintain their momentum. They also hope to partner with surrounding counties, collaborating on fun new Young Farmer events beyond Isabella’s borders.

This article is part of an ongoing series looking at the accomplishments of county Young Farmer chairs; look for more in upcoming issues of Farm Gate.