GRAND RAPIDS — Sixteen bright young stars from across the spectrum of youth agricultural education competed in Michigan Farm Bureau’s Youth Discussion Meet, Nov. 28 at the organization’s annual meeting in Grand Rapids. 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 and high schools from across the state.
Luke Wheeler of the Sand Creek FFA came out on top of this year’s competition, followed by runner-up Cameron Victor of the Branch Area Careers Center FFA. Also competing in the final round were Addy Battel, Cass City FFA; Caitlin Henne, Springport FFA; Connor Nugent, Lowell FFA; and Benjamin Zaleski, North Huron FFA.
This year’s contestants took on several topics relevant to farmers today:
Farm Bureau 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.
The final round on Nov. 28 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 Nov. 28 at MFB’s 98th Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids.
The first- and second-place winners took home $300 and $200 cash prizes, respectfully, courtesy of the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture.
Formerly known as the FFA Discussion Meet, the Youth Discussion Meet is now open to any high school student interested in agriculture.
NOTE: Contact the MFB Young Farmer Department at 517-679-5444 for more information after Nov. 30.