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Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies

Young Farmer Awards: Grow your leadership resume, apply by March 1

Midland County farmer Sarah Zastrow earned MFB’s 2022 Young Agriculture Leader Award.
Date Posted: February 2, 2023

Every year Michigan young farmers, ages 18-35, apply to be recognized for their agricultural involvement, leadership and achievements. Sixteen finalists are selected and recognized for their contributions and achievements, and a winner is distinguished in each of the four categories.

Applications for the 2023 awards are due March 1; forms are available online.

Young Farmer Award applications are a great way to build your leadership resume and compile your accomplishments in a visual way that acknowledges the great things you’re doing on the farm, in the community, and with your county Farm Bureau. The goals section of each application gives you a place to write down your goals, which research has proven makes it more statistically likely that you’ll accomplish them!

Not sure which award applies to you?


Young Agriculture Leader

Highlights: Participation in the agricultural community and leadership experiences with Farm Bureau and on the farm.

Who can apply: Young Farmers who earn a majority of their income from a farm operation.

Examples: Farmers who grow fruit, vegetables, row crops, livestock, mushrooms; run greenhouses, custom-harvest, or hay operations.

Even though this award recognizes farmers who earn a majority of their income from a farm operation, it does not have a financial component.


Young Farmer Achievement

Highlights: The growth and success of the farming operation. Secondarily, community and Farm Bureau involvement.

Who can apply: Young Farmers who earn a majority of their income from a production agriculture enterprise (e.g. crop, livestock, plant) where they have ownership.

Examples: Farmers who own fruit, vegetable, row crop, livestock, greenhouse, mushroom, custom-harvest, or hay operations.


Young Agriculture Employee

Highlights: Contributions made to the long-term profitability and success of the farm or agribusiness where employed. Secondarily, community and Farm Bureau involvement.

Who can apply: Young Farmers who have no ownership stake, but receive a specific wage/salary; have implied/written job responsibilities; and whose work is controlled by an employer.

Examples: Farm equipment sales, seed sales, production agriculture enterprise employees, or ag technology jobs.


Excellence in Agriculture

Highlights: Involvement in agricultural organizations, leadership ability and participation in Farm Bureau.

Who can apply: Young Farmers who do not earn a majority of their income from an owned production agriculture enterprise (e.g. crop, livestock, plant) in any of the past three years.

Examples: Agriscience educators, insurance industry, commodity groups, food systems, natural resources, or government jobs.


All applications are reviewed by a panel of five judges and then the top four in each category are moved on to the second round where three industry judges review the applications and interview each candidate. Achievement and Excellence interviews are conducted in-person at Farm Bureau Center and Leader and Employee interviews are conducted via zoom.

All 16 finalists who are interviewed receive $400 and MFB apparel. Winners receive an equipment lease ($5,000-$10,000 value); $1,000 AgroLiquid gift certificate — and a trip to one of the 2023 AFBF Conferences!

Not a Young Farmer, but know great one? Encourage Young Farmer leaders in your county to apply and make sure to tell them why you think they’re deserving!

Applications are due March 1, 2023 This year’s applications are online; applicants are encouraged to compose and save their answers in a separate document (offline) prior to submitting. Applications are open now on Michigan Farm Bureau’s website.

Media Contacts
Megan Sprague headshot

Megan Sprague

Young Farmer Programs Specialist
517-679-5658 [email protected]