This districts found new ways to come together, through summertime CORE programming and many Young Farmers we’re able to connect and compete through the Young Farmer awards luncheon, new chair training and Discussion Meets.
“Events like the Discussion Meet in my district have helped get new members excited about taking an active role in Farm Bureau. They allow members from across the state to meet new peers and grow as leaders,” said Lane Grieser, who represents District 7 on the State Young Farmer Committee.
“I also had the opportunity to help facilitate the new-chair training, which helped our brightest young local leaders build relationships with other chairs and bring back some exciting new ideas to their own committees.”
At a July 30 luncheon at Dairy Discovery in Alto, we celebrated our 27 Young Farmer Award finalists and sponsors. MFB President Carl Bednarski welcomed the group, spotlighting how involvement makes such a profound impact on the organization’s success.
Matt Alt, a financial services officer from GreenStone Farm Services, and a member of their Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Champion committee, also spoke to financial opportunities available to young farmers.
These speakers were followed by a networking luncheon with Young Farmer program sponsors, and concluded with professional development with Marlene Eick, who focused on what steps finalists could take along their leadership journey, and how to build younger leadership behind them.
The event was facilitated by MFB State Young Farmer Committee members Paul Pridgeon, Amanda Sollman and Mitch Kline.
New Chair Training
The following day at Farm Bureau Center in Lansing, 13 new county chairs from across the state convened for a Young Farmer chair networking and leadership training event.
The training kicked off with a round-robin of resource presentations covering everything from Collegiate Farm Bureau to Young Farmer contests to budgets. The latter half of the day included sessions on executing event plans, “from the moment someone pulls in to the last handshake,” and tips for leading effective committee and board meetings.
Afterwards, participants agreed the event helped them to grow as a leader and expand their growing network of supportive contacts throughout Michigan agriculture.
State Young Farmer Committee members Amanda Sollman, Lane Grieser, Daniela Dryer and Abby Vittore all teamed up together to facilitate the event.
Most district-level discussion meets took place in August and September, often as part of larger CORE events and regional events like trap shoots to golf outings. Sixty-four contestants representing more than 39 county Farm Bureaus took part in this year’s district meets, chewing on topics including farm safety, stress and mental health.
Designed to mimic a committee meeting setting, discussion meets provide a venue for budding leaders to polish public speaking skills, stretch their understanding of real-life challenges, and proposing thoughtful solutions for Farm Bureau to consider.
District finalists will advance to the virtual, state-level preliminary contest, Nov. 12. From there the field will be narrowed to the 16 participants who will compete in the final rounds at MFB’s 2021 State Annual Meeting.
Megan Sprague manages MFB’s Young Farmer program.