The Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Committee held the preliminary rounds of the Discussion Meet at the MFBF LEAP Conference at the Sanford Center in Bemidji on February 1.

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 two topics discussed by contestants were:

  • The increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters creates additional risk for farmers and ranchers. What tools and production practices can be engaged to reduce climate and weather risks?
  • The decline in rural populations is accelerated by a poor farm economy. What solutions would enhance the vibrancy and economic sustainability of agriculture and rural communities?

Eight semi-finalists were selected and will compete in the final two rounds of competition at the MFBF 102nd Annual Meeting in November. The eight semi-finalists are Maddie Weninger – Wright County, Amanda Cook – Chisago County, Elizabeth Nass - Clearwater County, Grant Moorse – Lyon County, Jeff Pagel – Olmsted County, Jonathan Giberson Jr. – Cass County, Jamison Schneckloth – Mower County and Justin Crowley from Washington-Ramsey County.