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Spring is here and so are Discussion Meets!

A formidable trio — Madeline Smeltzer (Benzie-Manistee), Meg Cooper (Mason) and Sam Schade (Mason) — faced off last year against three male counterparts at last year’s District 9 Young Farmer Discussion Meet.
Date Posted: February 17, 2023

Looking to talk with other Young Farmers about current issues in agriculture? Join other Young Farmers at your district’s Young Farmer Discussion Meet to learn about a pressing question, flex your public speaking skills, and connect with other Young Farmers over events like corn hole, axe throwing and trivia.

Discussion Meets are a leadership competition that help Young Farmers practice the kind of conversational skills necessary for speaking up in meetings — county Farm Bureau, school board, local government — or just around the kitchen table.

This year’s Discussion Meet participants will see some changes come to the traditional format, with a more relaxed and flexible setting based on district preferences. Prepared notes will also be allowed at all district-level meets, where each panel of contestants will discuss the same topic. (A back-up topic is in the guidebook, in case there are enough participants to facilitate a second round).

This year’s district topic is:

Production agriculture requires a lot of capital. Young farmers and ranchers 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 ranches?

Participants who move forward from the district level can compete and win prizes at the state level, with the state winner taking home $2,000 and the chance to compete in and travel to the national competition in Salt Lake City, Utah at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2024 Annual Meeting.

To learn more, visit and check out the guidebook and your District’s Discussion Meet date, taking place from March to June.

Media Contacts
Megan Sprague headshot

Megan Sprague

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