Michigan Farm Bureau’s (MFB) Young Farmer Agriculture Achievement Award recognizes a successful young Farm Bureau member or married couple for outstanding achievement in the business of farming and leadership in the agricultural community. Applicants are judged on their farm management ability and involvement in Farm Bureau and other organizations.
This year’s achievement winner is Huron County cattleman and cash crop farmer John Strieter. The 34-year-old works 3,300 acres, raising hay, corn, soybeans, sugar beets and wheat; the farm also includes a small herd of 50 beef cattle.
Strieter was a 16-year-old high school student when he started farming, investing money raised from selling 4-H projects into a fledgling hay business, starting with 40 acres rented from his grandmother. Since then he’s meticulously grown the operation, buying acreage when it’s prudent and renting far more, leveraging the sound relationships he’s built with neighbors and landowners throughout western Huron County.
“I believe everything happens by design, and you have to make your own opportunities,” Strieter said. “I have taken this into my daily life as I work to build relationships with and trust from area farmers. I attribute much of my success to the secret value of the coffee shop.”
From humble beginnings, Strieter’s farm has grown to include a sizeable fleet of trucks and implements and six custom-designed storage buildings. His focus is on hay for both dairy and equine markets, and has found a profitable sideline in straw, harvesting approximately 7,500 acres annually.
Strieter’s hay business prides itself on maximizing efficiencies through mechanization and thorough training of both full-time and seasonal employees. And he’s vigilant in identifying and minimizing bottlenecks that impinge on those efficiencies. That strategy pays off in the form of reliably lucrative markets in Kentucky horse country and dairy farms in and immediately south of Michigan.
Strieter’s future looks promising so long as he holds to his intended course: continue maximizing efficiencies and exploring new marketing opportunities.
“My motto is: Everything happens by design, not destiny. You must create your own opportunities. And that is what I plan to continue to do.”
MFB’s Young Farmer Achievement Award winner receives a Kubota tractor lease, an AgroLiquid gift certificate and a paid trip to compete in national competition at the AFBF 99th Annual Meeting, sponsored by the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture.
The other Young Farmer Achievement Award finalists were Nathan and Amy Engelhard, Tuscola County; Terry Page, Ionia County; and Greg Shooks, Antrim County.