Young MN Farmers Capture Top Honors in YF&R Competitions

(Bloomington, MN) -- Young farmers in Renville, Goodhue and Stearns County captured top honors in the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) competitions.

Joe and April Sullivan of Franklin in Renville County won the Achievement Award contest, Morgan Allen of Kenyon in Goodhue County won the Excellence in Agriculture contest, and Lucas Sjostrom of Brooten in Stearns County took home the first place honors in the Discussion Meet contest. The competitions were held during the MFBF 95th Annual Meeting at the DoubleTree in Bloomington. The meeting concluded today, November 23.

These county Farm Bureau young farmer members will advance to national competition where they will represent Minnesota at the national competition at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) Annual Meeting in San Antonio, January 11-15. They also received a recognition plaque and $500 from MFBF and a trip to the MFBF YF&R Conference to be held in Fargo, January 24–25. The top winners in these contests will qualify for a leadership development trip to Washington D.C. in 2014.

Top winners in each contest at the AFBF competition will receive cash awards and choice of a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado or a 2014 GMC Sierra.

Achievement Award
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.

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.

Discussion Meet
The Discussion Meet finalists competed in a semi-final round on Saturday morning followed by the final four competition. 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.

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.

Other top finalists in the Discussion Meet were Joel Mathiowetz – Redwood County, Maria McGinnis – Washington-Ramsey County and Jake Hein – Becker County.

Excellence in Agriculture
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.

Winning this year’s Excellence in Agriculture competition was Morgan Allen of Kenyon in Goodhue County. 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.

The MFBF 95th Annual Meeting concluded Sunday, November 23.

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