By Justin Hein
Not too shabby for completing a five-minute survey online survey…
That’s all Washtenaw County Farm Bureau member Emma Rose did to land herself a new Polaris Ranger 900 utility vehicle—complete Michigan Farm Bureau’s recent Young Farmer Census.
Sponsored by MFB’s Young Farmer department and J&L Motorsports of Tecumseh, the grand prize went to the one lucky drawing winner following the survey that sought Young Farmers’ input about improving the program.
“Thank you, Michigan Farm Bureau and J&L Motorsports, for this awesome Polaris side-by-side!” Rose said. “I’m going to have a blast with it!”
The Young Farmer program is a vital component of MFB’s long-standing commitment to leadership development. It’s designed to equip the next generation of Michigan agriculture with the tools it needs to continue the industry’s prosperity when it comes their time to take the helm.
Program participants at the county Farm Bureau level are encouraged to continually hone their leadership acumen and ascend to MFB’s State Young Farmer Committee. Beyond that, Michigan’s state-level leaders have a long tradition of success serving nationally on the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmer and Rancher Committee.
“I’m involved in Farm Bureau because I see a need to promote and defend agriculture,” Rose stated. “I enjoy getting together with the other Young Farmers in my area. We meet monthly for dinner, farm tours and discussions.”
Michigan’s Young Farmer Census sought input to help keep the program strong, vibrant and engaging for participants. The state Young Farmer committee shook the bushes hard for seven months, promoting the survey in the best interests of maintaining and improving the program they steer.
“While the survey is closed and the prizes have been won, we’re not done with the information we gleaned,” said Adam Dietrich, chair of MFB’s state Young Farmer committee. “The state committee and MFB staff are working together to determine how we can put the information to good use.”
Among the program’s main objectives are getting Young Farmers engaged, networking and sharing information about their challenges and accomplishments. Everyone who responded to the survey, Dietrich said, earned the gratitude of the staff and member leaders planning the program’s ongoing evolution.
“Even after our centennial year celebrations conclude,” he added, “you can be certain the Young Farmer program will continue to introduce new members to Farm Bureau, provide them with personal and professional skills, and develop new leaders to propel our industry and our organization toward a bright future.”
MFB thanks J&L Motorsports for its support of the Young Farmer program and helping procure the grand prize vehicle, valued at more than $15,000. Runners-up Josh Herrygers of Oceana County and Meghan McNally of Wayne County took home a 55-inch smart TV and Series 4 Apple Watch, respectively. Other prizes at district and state events included Yeti coolers, iPads and a 50-inch smart TV.
Anyone looking to get more involved with the Young Farmer program are encouraged to contact their county-level Young Farmer chair, any member of the state Young Farmer committee, or their MFB regional representative.
Justin Hein (517-679-5658) manages MFB’s Young Farmer department.