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Sweet 16 move on to YF Discussion Meet finals at Annual Meeting

Current state Young Farmer chair Paul Pridgeon (top left) emceed the recent semifinal rounds of the state-level Discussion Meet, held online Nov. 12.

More than 30 Young Farmers from across the state competed virtually Nov. 12 in the semifinal rounds of this year’s state-level Discussion Meet, each vying for the final-round spotlight at Michigan Farm Bureau’s 102nd State Annual Meeting, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 in Grand Rapids.

Topics on the agenda included member recruitment and farm safety, with 16 well-spoken standouts moving forward to the final showdown:

  • Andrew Braun, Clinton County (Dist. 5)
  • Riley Brazo, St. Joseph County (Dist. 1)
  • Marcia Cripps, St. Joseph County (Dist. 1)
  • Robyn Fogarasi, Arenac County (Dist. 10)
  • Michael Genovese, Oakland County (Dist. 3)
  • Dalton Hard, Branch County (Dist. 2)
  • Natalie Holbrook, Lapeer County (Dist. 6)
  • Sarah Hollon, Clare County (Dist. 10)
  • Brennan Mudd, Midland County (Dist. 8)
  • Katelyn Packard, Washtenaw County (Dist. 3)
  • Riley Smith, Isabella County (Dist. 8)
  • Lane Stotler, Oceana County (Dist. 7)
  • Katelyn Thompson, Eaton County (Dist. 5)
  • Karl Wernette, Mecosta County (Dist. 7)
  • Katie Wernette, Mecosta County (Dist. 7)
  • Sarah Zastrow, Midland County (Dist. 8)

Discussion Meets are a competitive simulated committee meeting, where competitors are judged on their ability to explore a problem and find solutions. The final rounds will address these important topics:

  • Studies show more farmers and farm families are experiencing stress and mental health issues. What can farmers, ranchers and Farm Bureau do to proactively promote good mental health in both themselves and their communities?
  • COVID revealed several cracks involving the processing of livestock. How can Farm Bureau policy support easing government regulations to ensure long-term economic viability for local animal processing facilities, while ensuring the health of workers and that a healthy product is still delivered to consumers?
  • As the world population increases, so will the need for renewable resources. On a local level and across the globe, how can Farm Bureau help farmers and ranchers continue to increase their efficiency in the use of valuable resources and transition to “Green Energy” practices on their farm or ranch?

The Sweet 16 rounds will take place Nov. 30, with the final four competing for $2,000 cash prize sponsored by AIS equipment and the opportunity to represent Michigan at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmer & Rancher Discussion Meet in Atlanta next January. Keep up with the competition by following Michigan Farm Bureau on Facebook.

Date Posted: November 15, 2021