GRAND RAPIDS — Matt Jakubik of Iosco County took the top spot at Michigan Farm Bureau's (MFB) 2017 Young Farmer Discussion Meet Nov. 29 at MFB's 98th Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids.
Jakubik grew up on an Iosco County dairy farm, now a 350-acre corn and hay operation he manages with his brother and their father. Now in his 10th year as an agriscience instructor at Whittemore-Prescott Schools, he and his wife Jess recently welcomed to their family newborn son J.J.
Farm Bureau discussion meets test young farmers to a unique public speaking challenge; participants are rewarded for their knowledge of current agricultural issues, their cooperative demeanor and the tact and civility of their delivery. As the contest moderators explain in their opening remarks, these are discussions, not debates.
After a dozen regional contests across the state, nearly 30 participants competed in two opening rounds. Round three saw the field cut to 16 semifinalists, then four finalists faced off to determine the statewide winner.
The other three finalists were Lyndsay Earl, Mason County; Amy Hamilton, Saginaw County; and Joe Packard, Washtenaw County.
This year's discussion topics address four current issues of concern among the agricultural community:
As the state-level winner, Jakubik received a $2,000 cash prize from AIS Equipment and a paid trip to compete in the national-level Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet at the American Farm Bureau Federation 99th Convention and Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tenn., Jan. 7-10, 2018. All four finalists receive an MFB jacket courtesy of Michigan Farm Bureau Health Services and a Yeti cooler from BASF.
NOTE: Contact the MFB Young Farmer Department at 517-679-5444 for more information after Dec. 1.