Held every year in Michigan, the Young Farmer Discussion Meet gives young farmers a chance to come together and talk about current agricultural events. The convention, however, is more than just a friendly get together: It is a competition that judges the newcomers based on their public speaking abilities.
Taking place for the past 91 years, the contest is an annual tradition in the area, drawing large crowds amidst fierce competition. This year's winner, Cheryl Strautz, of Stanton, Michigan, competed against 34 other young farmers from the state and was chosen based on her excellent performance in four public speaking rounds.
The event is open to Michigan Farm Bureau members who are between the ages of 18 and 35. Contestants are judged based on their ability to effectively communicate, analyze various farm life issues and cooperate with their fellow competitors. Thrilled with her win, Strautz received the grand prize of a trip - all expenses paid for - to John Deere headquarters in Iowa, where she will tour a factory and see how John Deere farm equipment is assembled.
In addition to her trip, Strautz is the recipient of a $500 cash price and will go on to compete at the national level at the Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet at the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. Strautz is practicing hard in preparation for the event as the winner wins a 2011 Dodge Ram Pickup.