Skip to main content
Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies

Discussion Meets paved Brazo’s path to leadership

Riley Brazo’s beaten a quick path from the seed-corn fields of St. Joseph County to second-in-command atop MFB’s State Young Farmer Committee.
Date Posted: April 30, 2024

In high school Riley Brazo opted for building trades over FFA, but his admiration for the Blue Jacket stuck with him anyway — to the point that later in life he shared online a particularly moving video about the organization’s distinctive corduroy uniform.

A sympathetic peer wired tighter into St. Joseph County’s farming community responded with a proposition: “It’s not FFA, but we have a board seat available. Would you be interested?” 

Thus began Brazo’s involvement with Farm Bureau, starting him on a path toward vice-presidency of the St. Joseph County Farm Bureau, and chairing its Young Farmer program, and representing District 1 on MFB’s State Young Farmer Committee, and now assuming that body’s no. 2 spot. 

From the outset he was intrigued by the opportunities the Young Farmer program provides.

“What drew me in were the networking opportunities, especially at the Young Farmer Leaders Conference. I’ve forged friendships that span the breadth of our state” — connections that transcend mere camaraderie to embody the ag community’s collaborative essence.

“Attending Young Farmer Leaders Conference, then getting involved with it, seeing the committee members not only what they do up on stage, and the work they put in… Then finding those breakout sessions, and the keynote speakers… To me that was just a whole ‘nother level of being able to connect with young farmers.”

Central to Brazo’s journey were Discussion Meets, the legacy platform and gateway activity testing Young Farmers’ comprehension and discourse since the 1950s. Initially apprehensive, he found his voice — and his peers’ — contributing valuable insights on serious topics. 

“Discussion Meets pushed me beyond my comfort zone. They honed my public speaking skills and fostered a deeper understanding of challenges in the industry.”

But the benefits extend far beyond personal growth. Professionally, they cultivate critical thinking and problem-solving skills essential for navigating complex issues and challenges. They facilitate collaboration, encourage consensus-building and inclusivity, and foster the development of innovative solutions.

Reflecting on his Farm Bureau trajectory, Riley acknowledges its profound impact on personal and professional growth. 

“Being part of the state Young Farmer committee has been transformative,” he affirms. “It’s empowered me to step outside my comfort zone and advocate for the future of agriculture.”

For newcomers contemplating involvement, he suggests embracing opportunities for growth and engagement: “Don’t be afraid to step outside your box. Every experience, no matter how small, contributes to your journey within the organization.”

Looking forward, Brazo envisions the Young Farmer program continuing to evolve in response to members’ needs.

“Our focus is on delivering impactful programming that resonates with Young Farmers,” he said. “We’re committed to raising the bar and ensuring our initiatives reflect the aspirations of the agricultural community.”

Riley Brazo lives near Sturgis with his wife Ashley and their son Theo. He works for Fawn River Farms, raising seed and commercial corn, soybeans and 6,000 head of hogs.

Noah Hanson interned with MFB’s Young Farmer Department. 

Megan Sprague headshot

Megan Sprague

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

State YF leader Vittore: The more you give, the more you get

The experience Abby Vittore brings to MFB’s State Young Farmer Committee is a strong legacy of involvement dating back to high school.