Today, young farmers from Renville, Goodhue and Stearns County finished with high honors in the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) competitions at the AFBF Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. The results of the contests were announced during the closing session.
Joe and April Sullivan of Franklin in Renville County finished in the Top 10 of the 32 in the Achievement Award contest. They advanced yesterday to the interview round to compete against the other finalists. The Sulllivans advanced to the national competition after winning the Achievement Award Contest at the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) YF&R Competition held in November.
The Achievement Award contestants are selected on their exceptional efforts in agriculture through farm management and leadership achievements as well as effective use of capital in their farming operation.
“It was an awesome opportunity to meet young progressive farmers from across the nation and to learn how diverse our country is,” said the Sullivans.
Joe began farming in 2000 during his first year of college. Today, the Sullivans along with their two children, raise corn, soybeans, sweet corn and peas. Joe serves as the Renville County Farm Bureau president, and they are active in the local county corn and soybean growers associations, as well as being involved with their local 4-H and FFA programs.
Lucas Sjostrom of Brooten in Stearns County finished in the top 16 out of 41 in the Discussion Meet.
Sjostrom advanced to the national competition after winning the Discussion Meet Contest at the MFBF YF&R Competition held in November.
Contestants were judged on their basic knowledge of critical farm issues and their ability to exchange ideas and information in a setting aimed at cooperative problem solving.
“The national discussion meet was everything I expected in terms of competition,” said Sjostrom. “I was so honored to be selected to the competition’s Sweet 16 round and had fun every step along the way.”
Lucas and his wife, Alise, farm with Alise’s parents on Jer-Lindy Farm, where they milk 170 cows and raise corn and alfalfa in Stearns County. They are in the process of building Redhead Creamery to make their own cheese. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in animal science and is currently a research graduate student focusing on dairy management. Lucas and Alise have one daughter.
Excellence in Agriculture
Morgan Allen of Kenyon in Goodhue County finished in the Top 10 out of the 28 in the Excellence in Agriculture contest. Yesterday, she advanced to the presentation round to compete against the other young farmer and rancher finalists.
Allen advanced to the national competition after winning the Excellence in Agriculture Contest at the MFBF YF&R Competition held in November. The Excellence in Agriculture contest is designed as an opportunity for young farmers and ranchers who may not derive 100 percent of their income from farming to earn recognition while actively contributing to the agriculture industry and building their leadership skills through their involvement in Farm Bureau and their community. Participants were judged on their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability, involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations.
“I am really honored to have made it to the top 10 and to have had the opportunity to showcase our involvement in production agriculture, agribusiness and Farm Bureau at the local, state and national level,” said Allen. “It has helped to organize my goals for the future and would really encourage others to get involve.”
She is a dairy ruminant nutritionist for Big Gain Feeds. Morgan, her husband Keith and their son own and run HayCreek Farms, a 40 goat milking herd. Milk from the goats is sold to their local micro-creamery where it is turned into artisan cheese and sold at farmer’s markets throughout the metro area.
More than 70 Farm Bureau members from Minnesota are among the estimated 7,000 Farm Bureau members representing each state and Puerto Rico at the AFBF Annual Convention. The convention also features workshops and seminars, as well as, the national resolutions session which set policies for the upcoming year. The AFBF 95th Annual Meeting will conclude on January 15.