Lucas and Alise Sjostrom of Stearns County took first place in the Young Farmers & Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture. The Excellence in Agriculture finalists presented virtually on Monday, November 23.

The Excellence in Agriculture spotlights young Farm Bureau members who are agricultural enthusiasts but have not earned a majority of their income from an owned production agriculture enterprise in the past three years. Competitors are evaluated on their understanding of agricultural issues, leadership experiences and achievement, and their ability to communicate their agricultural story. Participants were judged on their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability, involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations.

Sjostroms will advance to the national competition where they will represent Minnesota in the national contest at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) Annual Meeting held January 9-13, 2021. They also received a recognition plaque from MFBF, $500 prize, a trip to the MFBF LEAP Conference to be held in Sioux Falls, SD in 2021 and a leadership development trip to Washington D.C.

Four award winners will be chosen for each of the three 2021 AFBF YF&R Contests: Achievement Award, Excellence in Agriculture and Discussion Meet. The winner will receive a new Ford vehicle up to a value of $35,000. Second place will receive a Case IH Farmall 50A tractor. Third place will receive a Case IH 40” Combination Roll Cabinet and Top Chest and a $500 Case IH parts card courtesy of Case IH, a $2,500 Investing in Your Future cash prize courtesy of American Farm Bureau Insurance Services, as well as, $1,850 of Stanley Black & Decker merchandise. Fourth place finalists will receive a Case IH 40” Combination Roll Cabinet and Top Chest and a $500 Case IH parts card courtesy of Case IH. Special thanks to our sponsors, Ford, Case IH and Stanley Black & Decker, for their continued support of the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers contests.

Lucas, Alise and their family own and operate their cheese plant on the family dairy farm near Brooten in Stearns County. Lucas has a career off the farm as the executive director for Minnesota Milk. Alise works full time as the president of the Redhead Creamery cheese company. Both strive to advocate for agriculture by being able to bring over 100,000 people to their farm and being a voice for farmers at the local, state and national levels.

Excellence in Agriculture runner-up was Corey Ramsden Scott of Washington-Ramsey County. The runner-up will receive a $250 cash prize. Other top finalists in Excellence in Agriculture were Mark and Sara Hewitt of Le Sueur County.