Front row, left to right: Joe Ramstad, Alyson Erickson, Christine Reitsma, Justin Crowley

Back row, left to right: Haely Leiding, Jeff Pagel, Jeff Debele, Abby Korte

The Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Committee held the preliminary rounds of the Discussion Meet competition at the annual Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Promotion (LEAP) Conference on Jan. 29 in Minnetonka.

Eight semifinalists were selected out of 19 competitors to advance to the final two rounds of competition, which will take place at the MFBF Annual Meeting in November.

Moving on were Justin Crowley (Washington/Ramsey County), Jeff Debele (Wright County), Alyson Erickson (Clay County), Haely Leiding (Washington/Ramsey County), Abby Korte (Norman County), Jeff Pagel (Olmsted County), Joe Ramstad (Cass County) and Christine Reitsma (Stearns County).

Contestants in the Discussion Meet are 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 two topics discussed by contestants in the preliminary rounds were:

  • Advancements in autonomous equipment and drone technology offers solutions to challenges farmers and ranchers have faced for years. How can Farm Bureau improve access to, and help farmers and ranchers deploy, these emerging technologies on their operations?
  • Many external influences are causing supply chain disruption for agricultural goods. How can Farm Bureau reduce the impact of external influences through policy development and programming?

The winner of the November competition will advance to the national YF&R Discussion Meet contest at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention Jan. 6-11, 2023 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

About the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation
The Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation is an advocate for agriculture, driven by the beliefs and policies of our over 30,000 member families and 78 county groups. Learn more about our efforts as an advocate for rural Minnesota at