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Zastrow represents Michigan in AFBF Young Farmer & Rancher Discussion Meet

Each year, the best and brightest young farmers who win their state competitions, including Zastrow (pictured above), are invited to take part in the national discussion meet. | Michigan Farm Bureau photo
Date Posted: January 9, 2022

Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) 2021 Young Farmer Discussion Meet winner Sarah Zastrow shared her insight and expertise on the national stage during American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) Young Farmer & Rancher Discussion Meet in Atlanta.

Discussion Meets are a competitive simulated committee meeting where competitors are judged on their ability to explore a problem and find solutions. Each year, the best and brightest young farmers who win their state competitions are invited to take part in the national discussion meet.

In the opening round of the discussion, Zastrow joined four other state-level winners to talk about how 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.

“We discussed finding solutions that not only work for the farmer who is implementing them, but work for the energy company, and their neighbors, and the infrastructure they already have,” Zastrow said. “The big takeaway was being flexible, both in Farm Bureau policies and the solutions that we’re trying to implement to work with the farmer, their community, and utilities.”

That discussion was followed up by a second-round question of how Farm Bureau policy can 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.

“It’s an incredible feeling to be representing the state of Michigan,” Zastrow added. “I’m so honored to be talking about ways we can move forward with these solutions.”

Zastrow grew up on a Midland County farm near Freeland, and now farms south of Midland with her husband Zack, raising corn and soybeans and processing popcorn.

Zastrow’s life’s work is in helping farmers combat stress and other mental health challenges, a mission she’s championed through her business Cultivate Balance since 2016. She’s contributed that expertise as a panelist in MFB’s Farmers After Hours series, brought the same priority to the fore as Midland County Farm Bureau president, and most recently launched a new farm-stress podcast, Throwing Wrenches Mending Fences.

As Michigan’s winner, Zastrow received a $2,000 cash prize sponsored by AIS equipment in December after taking the top spot at MFB’s 102nd Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids.

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