LANSING — In virtual fashion Dec. 1, Chris Heck of Monroe County took the top spot as winner of Michigan Farm Bureau's 2020 Young Farmer Discussion Meet at the organization’s 101st annual meeting.
Heck lives in Petersburg with his wife, Rachelle, and 2-year-old daughter, Adelaide. He and his brother Ethan grow organic corn, soybeans and wheat on their 400-acre, seventh-generation family farm.
“I’m thrilled to be this year’s winner of the Young Farmer Discussion Meet,” Heck said. “The discussion meet is a great opportunity to talk with peers about the great things going on in the agriculture industry as well as things that need to be worked on. I always come away from a discussion learning something new about the topic or another peer’s involvement in the industry.”
Heck serves as Third Member on the Monroe County Farm Bureau board and is a graduate of Michigan State University where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in crops and soil science.
After a dozen regional contests across the state, 26 participants competed in two opening rounds. Round three saw the field cut to 16 semifinalists, and then four finalists faced off to determine the statewide winner.
The other three finalists were Brenda Sisung of Clinton County; Kyle McCarty of Sanilac County; and Katie Sollman of Mecosta County.
This year's discussion topics addressed four current issues of concern among the agricultural community:
As winner of MFB’s 2020 Young Farmer Discussion Meet, Heck receives $2,000, sponsored by AIS Equipment, and will represent Michigan virtually in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmer & Rancher Discussion Meet in January 2021.
Each of the four state finalists received a Yeti Cooler, $400 cash prize, and branded luggage, sponsored by Michigan Farm Bureau Health Services and the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture.
As part of the 2021 American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet competition, Heck will be competing against a field of national competitors for these coveted prizes:
Discussion Meets are competitions that simulate a committee meeting in which conversation and active participation are expected from each participant. This competition is evaluated on an exchange of ideas and information on a pre-determined topic. Participants build basic discussion skills, develop a keen understanding of important agricultural issues and explore how groups can pool knowledge to reach consensus and solve problems.