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Ingham County’s Emily Calderone wins state Young Farmer Discussion Meet

2022 Young Farmer Discussion Meet winner Emily Calderone flanked by prize sponsor Allen Bonthuis of AIS Equipment, state Young Farmer Chair Mitch Kline and MFB President Carl Bednarski.
Date Posted: December 6, 2022

The Sweet 16 of Michigan Farm Bureau’s 2023 Young Farmer Discussion Meet competition narrowed to a Final Four who matched wits to open the Nov. 29 Leadership Banquet. Taking home the state-level win this year was Ingham County’s Emily Calderone.

The small-farm environment Calderone grew up in led to 4-H, FFA and a crop and soil sciences degree from Michigan State University. Her industry resume includes stints in alfalfa breeding, fertilizer sales with Michigan Agricultural Commodities, and seed sales with Dansville-based D.F. Seeds.

Her next step takes her to the Michigan Corn Growers Association, where she’ll serve as market development and industry outreach director.

Calderone’s Farm Bureau involvement has her involved in numerous county-level programs and a strong leaning toward political activism. She has several Lansing and Washington Legislative Seminars under her belt and is a graduate of MFB’s Academy for Political Leadership.

Rounding out the Final Four were Chris Sanford (Jackson County), Katelyn Thompson (Eaton) and Darcy Lipskey (Sanilac).

Discussion Meets are a competitive simulated committee meeting, where competitors are judged on their ability to explore a problem and find solutions.

The final round question saw the contestants examining the interface of agriculture and technology, specifically how advancements in autonomous equipment and drone technology offer solutions to some of the challenges farmers face.

Rounding out this year’s Sweet 16 were Andrew Braun, (Clinton County), Jake Bushey, (Huron), Marcia Cripps, (St. Joseph), Chad Fusilier (Washtenaw), Melissa Fusilier (Washtenaw), Travis Fusilier (Washtenaw), Kaddi Gewirtz (Shiawassee), Sarah Hollon (Clare), Kelsie Letts (Calhoun), Madeleine Smeltzer (Benzie-Manistee), Emily Swift (St. Joseph) and Elizabeth Wernette (Mecosta).

As the state-level winner, Calderone earned a $2,000 cash prize sponsored by AIS Equipment and will represent Michigan at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmer & Rancher Discussion Meet in San Juan, Puerto Rico in January.