Every year across Michigan, months of preparation and competitions culminate in Michigan Farm Bureau’s (MFB) annual state-level discussion meets, which take place Nov. 27-28 at the organization’s 99thannual meeting in Grand Rapids.
Farm Bureau reinforces the importance of civil discourse in the discussion meets, even between those of differing opinions, that challenge the conversational wherewithal of young farmers and high school and college students in competitions that reward the diplomatic delivery of persuasive arguments and familiarity with current agricultural issues.
This year sees three tiers of competition: youth, collegiate and Young Farmer.
This year 37 young farmers ages 18 to 35 (see list below) will compete throughout the day Nov. 28 for an opportunity to represent the state in national-level competition. Before each group begins conversing on predetermined topics, a moderator explains that these are discussions, not debates.
This year’s topics address four areas of concern among the agricultural community:
Top competitors from nearly a dozen regional contests across the state first meet in two preliminary morning rounds. Round three sees the field cut to four groups of four constants, then four finalists compete in the final round to determine the statewide winner.
The winner of the 2018 Young Farmer Discussion Meet will receive a $2,000 cash prize from AIS Construction Equipment and a paid trip to compete in the national-level Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet at the American Farm Bureau Federation 100th Convention and Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA., Jan. 7-10, 2018. All four finalists receive an MFB jacket courtesy of Michigan Farm Bureau Health Services and a Yeti cooler from BASF.
High School & Collegiate Programs
Eighteen bright young stars from across the spectrum of youth agricultural education will compete in Michigan Farm Bureau’s Youth Discussion Meet, Nov. 27. Patterned after Farm Bureau’s legacy of young farmer discussion meets, the Youth Discussion Meet will see high school participants representing FFA chapters, 4-H clubs and county Farm Bureaus from across the state who earned their way through regional level competitions in October and November.
This year has bought us seven new Collegiate Farm Bureaus from across the state, making a grand total of 12 collegiate chapters. This year’s State Collegiate Farm Bureau Discussion Meet provides the top two contestants from each chapter level contest the chance to discuss current agricultural issues in Michigan. The state winner will compete in the AFBF Collegiate Discussion Meet at the 2019 AFBF FUSION Conference, March 15-18 in Milwaukee, WI.
MFB’s 2018 Annual Meeting takes place Nov. 27-29 at the Amway Grand Plaza and DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. MFB is Michigan’s largest farm organization, representing the interests of 42,000 farmer members statewide.
NOTE: Following is a list of this year’s discussion meet participants (subject to change). Visit www.michfb.com/annual for contest results and photos from the awards ceremony. For more information after Nov. 29, contact MFB’s Young Farmer Department, 517-679-5444.
Lisa Russcher, Allegan
Nathan McGuire, Antrim
Rebekah Rubingh, Antrim
Carl Wagner lll, Berrien
Elizabeth Marvel, Clinton
Brenda Sisung, Clinton
Alex Taylor, Clinton
Kelsi Stapleton, Delta
Jeff Dreves, Grand Traverse
David Dreves, Grand Traverse
Chad Gruden, Gratiot
Matt Jakubik, Iosco
Chris Sanford, Jackson
Bill Schultz, Kalamazoo
Bryan Heffron, Kent
Joe Ankley, Lapeer
Abby Carpenter, Lenawee
Lyndsay Earl, Mason
Dirk Okkema, Mecosta
Jakob Marciniak, Menominee
Ricky Southward, Muskegon
Michael Genovese, Oakland
Caleb Herrygers, Oceana
Paul Pyle, Ottawa
Amy Hamilton, Saginaw
John Bowsky, Sanilac
Darcy Lipskey, Sanilac
Kyle McCarty, St. Clair
Lance Fritz, Van Buren
Travis Fusilie, Washtenaw
Chad Fusilier, Washtenaw
Joe Packard, Washtenaw
DM, Delta College
Hannah Harless, Glen Oaks Community College
Travis Waigand, Glen Oaks Community College
Brad Bristle, Jackson College
Brice Clark, Jackson College
Crystal Raynes, Kellogg Community College
Trent Neal, Kellogg Community College
John Williams, Michigan State University
Samantha Ludlam, Michigan State University
Austin Blaine, Monroe Community College
Brandon Kantz, Monroe Community College
Megan Wallinga, Muskegon Community College
Olivia Magnon, Muskegon Community College
Andrea Lee, Southwestern Community College
Cameron Victor, Southwestern Community College
Jonathan Sayles, Bay Arenac Career Center
Sydney Akers, Branch Area Career Center
Tyler Rozema, Coopersville High School
John Kantz, Dundee High School
Kyle Stack, Fremont High School
Ethan Gilder, Hopkins High School
Miriam Cook, Heartlands Institute of Technology
Camran Stack, Ithaca Jr/Sr High School
Savannah Beachy, Lakers High School
Andrew Smith, Lakers High School
Matthew Albrecht, Mason High School
Emma Barnum, Mason High School
Patricia Olivet, Olivet High School
Alex Scovill, Perry High School
Lauren Hauler, Springport High School
Katlyn Taylor, Whiteford High School
Brody Ruckle, Whittemore-Prescott