Skip to main content
Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies

2024 Young Farmer Employee finalists announced

Date Posted: April 9, 2024

Michigan Farm Bureau is honored to recognize the up-and-coming leaders of Michigan agriculture. All 16 finalists for MFB’s 2024 Young Farmer Awards have been announced, including four in the Ag Employee category.

The Young Farmer Agriculture Employee Award recognizes farm employees and ag professionals for their contributions to the success and long-term profitability of their workplace. Nominees are also judged on their leadership involvement in Farm Bureau, agriculture and the local community.

The 2024 state winner will receive $5,000 off the first payment of a lease or installment on a 100-horsepower or larger tractor from GreenMark Equipment; a $1,000 AgroLiquid gift certificate; and an all-expense paid trip to the AFBF FUSION Conference.  

The four finalists for MFB’s 2024 Young Farmer Agriculture Employee Award are:

Nathan Beyerlein — Tuscola

Nathan Beyerlein portrait.

Tuscola County’s Nathan Beyerlein works as the data manager for Hutson Inc.’s 19 Michigan locations. The Hutson network includes another 13 dealerships in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee. As data manager Beyerlein collaborates closely with the sales team, matching growers with appropriate technology solutions.

He also trains and helps support the John Deere Operations Center, ensuring smooth data flow between equipment and various data-management platforms. Fostering utilization of the John Deere Operations Center platform has been among the most significant achievements of his Hutson career to date.

“Witnessing farmers harness the data they gather throughout the cropping cycle to enhance future planning and agronomic choices is truly rewarding,” he said.

“In my journey from agronomist to data manager, I’ve had the opportunity to apply my knowledge in a full circle, aiding farms in maximizing their equipment’s potential while promoting sustainable practices across application, seeding, harvest and tillage,” Beyerlein added. “What excites me most is collaborating with farms to make data-driven decisions that prioritize sustainability, safeguarding the future of farming for generations to come.”

He credits Farm Bureau with plugging him into the larger agricultural community — a network of tremendous value and utility in his line of work.

“Farm Bureau membership holds immense value for me personally,” Beyerlein said. “It’s more than just a network; it’s a community where I can actively contribute to and shape the agricultural landscape.

“Through Farm Bureau I have the opportunity to forge meaningful connections beyond my local area, while also advocating for the interests of farms and ranches on both local and national stages.”

The organization, he said, offers members “a voice, a platform and a sense of belonging in a community that’s deeply invested in the future of agriculture.”

Andrew Braun — Clinton

Andrew Braun portrait.


Clinton County native Andrew Braun manages 1,800 acres of potato ground near Cass City and Hemlock for Walther Farms, a family-owned operation growing specialty crops in 13 states. Back home in Clinton County he helps his parents and wife Natalie farm 1,000 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat near Ovid.

“Taking over as the general manager of their mid-Michigan location is my greatest achievement so far with Walther Farms,” Braun said, now a 10-year veteran of the company that gives him the flexibility and time to also remain deeply involved in his parents’ operation, Golden Maple Farms.

“Through the Total Acre program, my dad and I have been working to learn more about what it takes to grow high-yielding corn, soybeans and wheat. While we haven’t seen any major breakthroughs in yield yet, I believe we’re trending in the right direction,” Braun said. “We’ve especially been focusing on a more comprehensive approach to plant and soil health that includes utilizing biologicals and micronutrients to help promote plant health and productivity.”

On the clock for Walther Farms, Braun is focused on developing the next generation of farm managers who can take on his role in time. Back home the goal is to increase profitability so it can sustain mom, dad and his growing family — without the need for a second job off farm.

“I believe we can do this by continuing to learn to increase yields and make our current land base more productive.”

He appreciates the opportunities he’s found through Farm Bureau membership.

“Just the ability to network with other farmers from around my county, state and to some extent the country,” Braun said, has tremendous value. “It’s also helped open my eyes to the challenges facing agriculture — global and domestic — and the importance of telling our story at the local, state and national levels.”

Cameron Cook — Clinton

Cameron Cook portrait.

By day, Cameron Cook works as a chattel appraiser for GreenStone Farm Credit Services, specializing in dairy, row crop, blueberries and nurseries. After hours, she and her siblings help out on their parents’ farm: a 300-cow grazing dairy where they raise their own replacements and grow 650 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, triticale, and sorghum Sudangrass.

Winning the World Dairy Expo’s national dairy-judging contest in her last year of 4-H ranks among her notable accomplishments, alongside her work as one of Clinton County’s lead 4-H dairy coordinators. Cook finds great value and motivation in working with young people, providing them with the same kind of guidance that has directed her career to date.

“I find joy working with youth in developing life skills, teaching them about dairy and ag in general — giving them the same opportunities I was given, that helped make me who I am today,” she said.

Cook brings a similar passion to pursuing her career goal of becoming an accredited certified chattel appraiser — and to her involvement with Farm Bureau. She looks forward to serving GreenStone customers with quality work, putting customers first and getting involved. She also hopes her involvement with the family farm helps ensure its continuity well into the future.

“When I think about Farm Bureau, I think of all the personal connections I’ve made,” she said. “My county has a strong Young Farmer group that meets often to discuss the challenges we face.

“I also use my Farm Bureau membership to stay up to date on policies that could affect the customers I work with, as well as my family’s farm.”

Matt Kubowitsch — Kalamazoo

Matt Kubowitsch portrait.

As an agronomist based at Walther Farms’ operation near Three Rivers, Matt Kubowitsch helps ensure ideal growing conditions for 6,000 acres of russet and chipping potatoes. At home he and his wife Alyssa run a small hay, maple syrup, produce and popcorn farm — with some timely seasonal help from his brother Noah.

“At Walther Farms I’m excited to keep producing a high-quality potato, and learn new ways to ensure sustainability,” he said. “On a personal level I’d like to keep expanding our own farming operation and continue providing produce at local farmers markets.”

Neither side of his current-day farming reality were apparent when Kubowitsch was growing up in the suburbs of Chicago.

“I knew how challenging it would be to get into agriculture — even more challenging learning a crop that was never mentioned in college and is not consistent to grow year after year.

“I’m proud of everything I’ve learned about growing potatoes,” he said, adding his experience in recent years has contributed to improving overall chip quality. “I’ve been able to edit our fertility plans and assist with storage management to help increase quality. It’s been a great learning experience. I used to think growing corn and soybeans was challenging, but now growing potatoes makes those crops look easy.”

He credits Farm Bureau with keeping him connected with other facets of the industry, outside potatoes.

“Being a Farm Bureau member lets me be involved in activities outside the field but still impacting the agricultural community,” Kubowitsch said. “I’ve been able to make new connections and learn from others.”

Megan Sprague headshot

Megan Sprague

Young Farmer Programs Specialist
517-679-5658 [email protected]