By Alyssa Bednarski
The state-level discussion meet is always highly competitive, but Monroe County’s Chris Heck fought his way to the top and took the top spot as the winner of Michigan Farm Bureau’s 2020 Young Farmer Discussion Meet. Although this year has brought numerous challenges, Chris and his fellow Young Farmers stepped up to the plate for a virtual discussion meet. Treading unfamiliar territory seems to be more common as we progress through the pandemic, but 26 Young Farmers from all 12 districts did it well.
The final round involved four top competitors discussing what seems to be the never-ending topic of trade, and the creation of new polices, standards and demands that cause the trade market to continually change and evolve. It is up to us to meet those demands and continue to grow the economy. During the final discussion meet, there were many inferences to resources — an excellent way to get involved in talk about trade.
While discussing, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) trade policies and agreement resource was referred to and brought up in many key points that affect the United States and the world today. To catch up on new and upcoming trade agreements, visit the AFBF Trade Agreements portion of their website.
Contestants brought up a powerful tool for MFB members: the organization’s annual Washington Legislative Seminar. This annual seminar is an opportunity for members to receive updates on current national issues, explore Washington D.C., and meet face-to-face with members of Congress and other government and regulatory leaders to discuss Farm Bureau Policy. The 2021 event has been canceled due to the ongoing pandemic, but this annual milestone on the MFB calendar is sure to return as soon as travel is safe again. Visit Michigan Farm Bureau’s website for more information.
Your voice is important when trying to make a difference in Farm Bureau policy — a recurring point made throughout the final discussion. Our policy development process provides regular members an opportunity to participate and voice their concerns on issues relevant to the agriculture industry.
Your involvement in that process can result in policy recommendations on local, state and national issues that provide direction to your organization. It’s an informative resource you can use to discover new movements and voice your opinions to better your community, state and nation. You can always find the most current state polices online.
Trade will remain an ongoing topic that consistently changes and evolves. It is up to us, as Michigan Farm Bureau members, to continue to stay up-to-date on trade policies and how they apply to the economy. Using these resources is an informative first step to policy making and how it effects and changes the trade market. Make your mark and contact your state representative today to change agriculture for the better tomorrow.
Alyssa Bednarski is interning with MFB’s Center for Education and Leadership Development. The Jackson County native is studying ag education and biology at Michigan State University.