Friday, Nov. 11, saw 25 competitors vying for the spotlight of the Young Farmer Discussion Meet finals at Michigan Farm Bureau’s 2023 Annual Meeting, Nov. 29-30 in Grand Rapids. The two rounds of virtual competition challenged contestants’ understanding of supply chain issues and off-farm work, resulting these 16 outstanding Young Farmers moving forward:
- Emily Swift, District 1, St. Joseph
- Marcia Cripps, District 1, St. Joseph
- Chris Sanford, District 2, Jackson
- Kelsie Letts, District 2, Calhoun
- Chad Fusilier, District 3, Washtenaw
- Melissa Fusilier, District 3, Washtenaw
- Travis Fusilier, District 3, Washtenaw
- Andrew Braun, District 5, Clinton
- Emily Calderone, District 5, Ingham
- Kaddi Gewirtz, District 5, Shiawassee
- Katelyn Thompson, District 5, Eaton
- Darcy Lipskey, District 6, Sanilac
- Jake Bushey, District 6, Huron
- Elizabeth Wernette, District 7, Mecosta
- Madeleine Smeltzer, District 9, Benzie-Manistee
- Sarah Hollon, District 10, Clare County
Discussion Meets are a competitive simulated committee meeting, where competitors are judged on their ability to explore a problem and find solutions. The next three rounds will cover these important topics in agriculture:
- How can Farm Bureau effectively support and equip young farmers and ranchers to successfully manage economic and infrastructure challenges to ensure healthy and sustainable farms and ranches across the country?
- Advancements in autonomous equipment and drone technology offer solutions to challenges farmers and ranchers have faced for years. How can Farm Bureau improve access to, and help farmers and ranchers deploy, these emerging technologies on their operations?
- Climate has become a major topic among business leaders, policymakers and consumers. As an industry that depends on the weather, what role do we as farmers and ranchers play in shaping climate initiatives to benefit society overall as well as our own farms and ranches?
The Sweet 16 rounds will take place Nov. 29 at MFB’s Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids. The four top competitors will then compete for their chance at $2,000, sponsored by AIS equipment, and the opportunity to represent Michigan at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmer & Rancher Discussion Meet in San Juan, Puerto Rico in January.
Keep up with the competition by following MFB on Facebook.