Winners emerged in both the Youth and Collegiate Discussion Meets on day one of Michigan Farm Bureau's 100th Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids on Tuesday, Dec. 3. The winner of the youth meet hailed from Mason High School in Ingham County, with the winner of the collegiate meet from the Delta Collegiate Farm Bureau.
Eighteen bright young stars from across the spectrum of youth agricultural education competed in the Youth Discussion. Patterned after Farm Bureau’s legacy of discussion meets, but for a younger host of contestants, the Youth Discussion Meet saw participants representing FFA chapters, 4-H clubs and high schools from across the state.
Emma Barnum from Mason High School in Ingham County came out on top of this year’s competition, followed by runner-up Alex Scovill of Perry High School in Shiawassee County. Also competing in the final round were Addy Battel from Cass City High School, Madelyn Cary from Alma High School, Caleb Dyer from Springport High School and Jacob VanderMolen from Careerline Tech Center.
The question for the youth final round was: Realizing, not every school system can simply add an agriscience education department nor does every county have funds to increase Michigan State University Extension staff, how could your youth organization reach students who do not have access to agricultural opportunities for them to understand the depth of ag careers?
The final round represented the culmination of a process that began with six regional contests that took place in October and November. The top three contestants from each region faced off alongside each other in yesterday’s competition.
The first- and second-place winners took home $250 and $150 cash prizes, respectively, courtesy of DTE Energy and the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture.
The Youth Discussion Meet is open to any high school student interested in agriculture.
In the Collegiate Discussion Meet, Michael Ceja from Delta Collegiate Farm Bureau took the top spot. Muskegon Collegiate Farm Bureau’s Cody Christensen was named the runner-up.
Also competing in the final round were Bethoney DeSilvis of the Monroe Collegiate Farm Bureau, Jon Kantz of the Monroe Collegiate Farm Bureau, Alyssa Schuck of the Kellogg Collegiate Farm Bureau and Kylie VanHouten of the Montcalm Collegiate Farm Bureau.
Two contestants from each collegiate Farm Bureau chapter throughout the state earned a spot to discuss and advance through preliminary and final rounds at the state level.
The question for the collegiate final round was: How can Farm Bureau at the collegiate, county, state, and/or national level help address mental health issues within the agriculture community?
The first- and second-place winners took home $250 and $150 cash prizes, respectively, provided by the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture, and the winner will compete in the American Farm Bureau Federation Collegiate Discussion Meet at the 2020 AFBF Young Farmer and Rancher Conference, March 13-16, in Louisville, Ky., courtesy of the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture.
Discussion meets test young leaders with a unique public speaking challenge; participants are rewarded for their knowledge of current agricultural issues, their cooperative demeanor, innovative problem solving and the tact and civility of their delivery. As the contest moderators explain in their opening remarks, these are discussions, not debates.