Twenty-seven competitors faced off Nov. 10 for their chance in the spotlight at Michigan Farm Bureau’s 2023 State Annual Meeting, Nov. 28-30 in Grand Rapids. The two rounds of virtual competition, involving animated discussions about public policy and sustainability, resulted in these 16 standouts advancing:
- Drew Bordner — St. Joseph County
- John Bowsky — Sanilac County
- Matt DeJonge — Washtenaw County
- Melissa Fusilier — Washtenaw County
- Amanda Goodfellow — Mecosta County
- Matt Hensley — Lenawee County
- Darcy Lipskey — Sanilac County
- Charles Loveland — Jackson County
- Sam Ludlam — Ottawa County
- Nate Scovill — Shiawassee County
- Madeleine Smeltzer — Wexford County
- Riley Travis — Isabella County
- Mark Trowbridge — St. Joseph County
- Morgan Walton — St. Joseph County
- Beth Wernette — Mecosta County
- Zoey Zupin — Kent County
Discussion Meets are a competitive simulated committee meeting, where competitors are judged on their ability to explore a problem and find solutions. The final three rounds will cover these important topics:
- Agriculture uses water for everything from growing crops, raising livestock and moving products to and from farms and ranches. Water issues are often hotly debated, are unique to each region and can pose significant challenges to growers. How can Farm Bureau help address water management challenges and seek long term solutions for farmers and ranchers?
- Farmers and ranchers across the country are diverse in not only the goods they produce, but also in the ways they raise and market them. Farm Bureau’s role is to broadly represent all producers. How can our organization further welcome and engage diverse agricultural communities and cultivate dynamic future Farm Bureau leaders?
- 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?
The Sweet 16 and final rounds will take place Nov. 28-29 at MFB’s State Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids. The winner will receive $2,000, sponsored by AIS equipment, and the opportunity to represent Michigan at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmer & Rancher Discussion Meet in Salt Lake City, Utah, in January.
Keep up with the competition by following Michigan Farm Bureau on Facebook.