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State Young Farmer Discussion Meet prelims Nov. 10 online

Last year’s Final Four lineup included (from left) Katelyn Thompson (Eaton County), Emily Calderone (Ingham), Darcy Lipskey (Sanilac) and Chris Sanford (Jackson).
Date Posted: November 1, 2023

Mark your calendars for Nov. 10 to watch 29 of Michigan’s most talented Young Farmers face off in the preliminary rounds of the 2023 State Young Farmer Discussion Meet

These two rounds are the next big hurdle along each contestant’s journey as they vie for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen and ultimately the Final Four, live on stage at MFB’s 2023 State Annual Meeting, Nov. 29 in Grand Rapids.

Here are this year’s preliminary round contestants:

  • Haleigh Austin, Kent
  • Carl Bednarski Jr., Tuscola
  • Drew Bordner, St. Joseph
  • John Bowsky, Sanilac
  • Matt Dejonge, Washtenaw
  • Erica Drake, Washtenaw
  • Melissa Fusilier, Washtenaw
  • Travis Fusilier, Washtenaw
  • Amanda Goodfellow, District 7, Mecosta
  • Joshua Haubenstricker, District 8, Saginaw
  • Tyler Hendrickson, District 4, Ottawa
  • Matt Hensley, District 2, Lenawee
  • Kelsie Letts, District 2, Calhoun
  • Darcy Lipskey, District 6, Sanilac
  • Charles Loveland, District 2, Jackson
  • Sam Ludlam, District 4, Ottawa
  • Dirk Okkema, District 7, Mecosta
  • Nate Scovill, District 5, Shiawassee
  • Madeleine Smeltzer, District 9, Wexford
  • Jordan Smith, District 9, Missaukee
  • Emily Swift, District 1, St. Joseph
  • Kylie Thompson, District 5, Eaton
  • Riley Travis, District 8, Isabella
  • Mark Trowbridge, District 1, St. Joseph
  • Eric Voelker, District 7, Mecosta
  • Morgan Walton, District 1, St. Joseph
  • Beth Wernette, District 7, Mecosta
  • Madison Zimmer, District 6, Tuscola
  • Zoey Zupin, District 4, Kent

The preliminary rounds will take place virtually, via Zoom, and challenge contestants to thoughtfully address these two topics:

  • Working with elected officials in all levels of government is critical to advancing public policy that supports farmers and ranchers. How can Farm Bureau help elected leaders better understand the challenges of the agriculture sector and the importance of supporting the financial viability of America’s family farms and ranches? 
  • What is sustainable agriculture and how can Farm Bureau help farmers and ranchers access market-based solutions that advance sustainability goals without restricting their ability to stock America’s pantries, help feed a growing population and maintain farm profitability? 

Discussion Meets are meant to simulate a committee meeting where active participation is expected from all. Meets are evaluated on an exchange of ideas and information on a pre-determined topic. Participants 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.

Contestants moving on to the Sweet Sixteen competition will be announced on Michigan Farm Bureau’s Facebook page at 7 p.m. Nov. 10.

Want to watch? Visit the State Annual Meeting Discussion Meet page and register for any preliminary round you’d like to watch by clicking on the link.

Rooms may face last minute adjustment, due to potential contestant changes. Contact Megan Sprague for more information.

Megan Sprague headshot

Megan Sprague

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