It started with 150 high school students representing 27 counties in six regions across the state. Only 19 competitors now remain for Michigan Farm Bureau’s 2023 High School State Discussion Meet, scheduled for Nov. 29 at MFB’s State Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids.
Here they are, alphabetical by county and with asterisks (*) denoting regional alternates:
- Allegan County — Olivia Belden*, Hopkins FFA
- Bay County — Cole McGee, Bay-Arenac Career Center FFA
- Calhoun County — Karlie Goble, Calhoun County Farm Bureau
- Clare County — Madison Forfinski, Hide-N-Hare 4-H Club
- Clare & Gladwin Counties — Grace Taylor*, Clare-Gladwin FFA
- Clare & Gladwin Counties — Caiden Ross, Clare-Gladwin FFA
- Eaton County — Sydney Monahan, Olivet FFA
- Eaton County — Elizabeth Stanke, Charlotte FFA
- Gratiot County — Brent DeSaegher, Ithaca FFA
- Gratiot County — Nicole Hollabaugh, Critters & Crafts 4-H Club/Ithaca FFA
- Hillsdale County — Hunter Bognar, Jonesville FFA
- Huron County — Makaila Cantrell, Lucky Livestock 4-H Club
- Ingham County — Sophia Barnum, Mason FFA
- Kent County — Piper Koebel, Cedar Springs FFA
- Lenawee County — Anjel Solis, Lenawee TECH Center PM FFA
- Monroe County — Emily Sullivan, Milan FFA
- Monroe County — Isabella Garcia*, Milan FFA
- Monroe County — Celina Eldridge*, Montcalm County Farm Bureau
- Muskegon County — Grace Torsch, Montague FFA
- Ottawa County — Kadence Hren, Careerline Tech Center AM FFA
- Sanilac County — Westley Chapin*, Sanilac FFA
- Sanilac County — Makayla Blashill, St. Clair County Farm Bureau
- Shiawassee County — Myleigh Rohner, Byron FFA
- Shiawassee County — Reece Eustace, New Lothrop FFA
- St. Clair County — Dori Stuever, Capac FFA
At the state level, competitors will face off in two opening rounds. The top six will move on to the finals, vying for the top and runner-up spots.
Would you make the cut? Check out the high school state questions:
- Round 1: Farmers and ag business professionals across the country are diverse in not only the goods they produce, but also in the ways they raise and market them. How can organizations like Farm Bureau, FFA and 4-H further welcome and engage diverse agricultural communities and cultivate dynamic agricultural leaders?
- Round 2: Agriculture uses water for everything from growing crops, raising livestock, and moving products to and from farms and ag business operations. Water issues are often hotly debated, are unique to each region and can pose significant challenges to growers. How can the agricultural industry help address water management challenges and seek long term solutions?
- Final Round: Production agriculture requires a lot of capital. Young agriculturalists face challenges gaining access to the capital they need to start or grow their operations. What tools are currently available, and what new programs could be introduced, to help young people access financial resources—and make sound financial decisions—to run their farms and ag business operations?
Sponsored by DTE Energy and the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture, the high school discussion meet simulates a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected from each participant.
Similar to the Collegiate and Young Farmer Discussion Meet, students are evaluated on an exchange of ideas and information on a pre-determined topic. They 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.
Can’t make it to State Annual? You can still provide support to the discussion meet competitor from your county or district! Connect with their high school agriscience teacher or 4-H club leader to send students a note of encouragement.
Regional competitors received small gifts and commemorative pins for their participation, with the top three receiving cash prizes. The state runner-up will receive a $150 cash prize and plaque; the overall winner gets $250 and a plaque. All prizes are courtesy of DTE Energy and the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture.