Minnesota Farm Bureau Announces YF&R Contest Winners

Young farmers in Wright, Redwood and Lyon County captured top honors in the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) competitions.

Pat Bakeberg of Waverly in Wright County won the Achievement Award contest, Joel Mathiowetz of Morgan in Redwood County took home first in the Discussion Meet contest, and Ruth and Paul Lanoue of Marshall in Lyon County won the Excellence in Agriculture contest. The competitions were held during the MFBF 96th Annual Meeting at the DoubleTree in Bloomington. The meeting concluded today, November 22.

These county Farm Bureau YF&R 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 Diego, January 9-13. They also received a recognition plaque from MFBF, $500 prize sponsored by Gislason & Hunter, a trip to the MFBF YF&R Conference to be held in Red Wing, January 23–24, 2015 and a leadership development trip to Washington D.C.

Top winners in each contest at the AFBF competition will receive cash awards and choice of a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado or a 2015 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.

Pat Bakeberg resides near Waverly in Wright County, where he farms with his parents. Their farm consists of dairy, beef and crops. Pat was very involved in FFA, and he is currently a 4-H leader helping youth with their dairy projects at local and state fairs. Pat is a graduate of Ridgewater College with a degree in farm operations management and an emphasis on dairy production.

Discussion Meet

The Discussion Meet finalists competed in two semi-final rounds 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.
Joel his wife, Amanda, reside near Morgan in Redwood County. Their farm includes corn, soybeans, peas and sheep. Joel’s career includes working as a crop insurance agent, serves as the executive director of Minnesota Ag in the Classroom and is currently serving as the Redwood County Farm Bureau president.

Other top finalists in the Discussion Meet were Jake Hein of Becker County, Brad Lanoue of Blue Earth County and Joe Sullivan of Renville 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 were Paul and Ruth Lanoue from Marshall in Lyon County. Paul is a farm business management instructor, and Ruth is a registered nurse. The Lanoues are involved in Ruth’s family farm where they raise crops and cattle. They have five children.

The MFBF 96th Annual Meeting concluded today, November 22.