The Art of Discussion: Insight From a Finalist

Twenty-five minutes, four competitors, one question. In a single round of the Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet contest, competitors strive to display their agricultural knowledge and commitment to improving the industry.

In order to be successful one must perform a balancing act by presenting original and fact-based thoughts while helping to facilitate discussion in a cordial manner.

Over the past several days at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 96th Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show, dozens of finalists from around the country have aimed to do just this.

Before the final round I had the chance to catch up with Megan Hansen, a “top four” finalist and Young Farmers and Ranchers member from Iowa. For Hansen, success can be found in doing your homework ahead of time.

“Have your opening and closings down, or at least a strong idea of what you want to do with them,” she said. “Have three to five strong points that you want to come across with in the conversation and at least have a couple of solutions to go right along with those thoughts.”

As a mom, Hansen also encourages competitors to utilize more than just facts, and draw from personal experiences. “Take those questions to heart and just see how they can be applied to your farming operation or your everyday life.”

The final round took place this morning with the question, “Should farmers and ranchers be held liable for possible food-borne illnesses when the food item of concern can be traced back to their farms or ranches? Why or why not?”

The top four competitors were (in no particular order):

Megan Hansen – Iowa

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Jeremy Barron – Indiana

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Sean Arians -Illinois

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Doug Giles – Tennessee

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The results will be announced in the final general session with the top four finalists receiving a $2,500 prize, and the overall winner receiving either a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado or a 2015 GMC Sierra pickup.

Although the prizes are large and the title of Discussion Meet Champion is prestigious, Hansen reminds future competitors to simply have fun with it.

“Enjoy it!” she said. “It’s there to help us as young professionals and as a part of the young farmers and ranchers committee to be able to have the conversation.”

KennaLewis is a student at California Polytechnic Institute. She was a summer communications intern at the American Farm Bureau Federation in 2014.

#AFBF15

YF&R Sweet Sixteen Discussion Meet Finalists

This afternoon the 16 finalists that will move forward to the next phase of the Discussion Meet competition were announced. The Discussion Meet simulates a committee meeting in which active discussion and participation are expected. Participants are evaluated on their ability to exchange ideas and information on a predetermined topic.

  • Cameron Edwards           Kentucky
  • Bill Walker                        North Carolina
  • Doug Giles                       Tennessee
  • Victoria Shaw                   Ohio
  • Brandon Fawaz                California
  • Brittany Ivey                     Georgia
  • Megan Hansen                 Iowa
  • Sarah Blood                     New York
  • Shane Greckel                Nebraska
  • Sean Arians                     Illinois
  • Keiko Osumi                    Florida
  • LaNae Nalder                  Idaho
  • Jeremy Barron                 Indiana
  • Brent Haken                    Oklahoma
  • Gaea Hock                      Mississippi
  • Kevin Warring                 Maryland

These 16 will compete Sunday at 1:15 pm PST – stay tuned to find out who moves onto the final four!

Young Farmers and Ranchers Win Big at #AFBF14

Winners of the Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award, Discussion Meet and Excellence in Agriculture competitions were announced today at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 95th Annual Convention. Young farmers and ranchers from around the country competed for the awards by demonstrating knowledge of and achievement in agriculture, as well as commitment to promoting the agriculture industry.

Brandon and Katherine Whitt of Tennessee won the Achievement Award. They are the winners of either a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado or 2014 GMC Sierra, courtesy of GM. The Whitts will also receive paid registration to attend the 2014 AFBF YF&R Leadership Conference in Virginia Beach, Va., in February.

Brandon and Katherine Whitt (left) of Tennessee won the Achievement Award.

Brandon and Katherine Whitt (left) of Tennessee won the Achievement Award.

Runners-up in the Achievement Award contest are Shane and Mary Courtney of Kentucky,  Jacob and Danielle Larson of Florida and Dwight and Jamie Little of Idaho. The runners-up will receive a Case IH Farmall 65A, courtesy of Case IH, and $3,000 in cash and STIHL merchandise, courtesy of STIHL.

The Achievement Award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who have excelled in their farming or ranching operations and exhibited superior leadership abilities. Participants are evaluated on a combination of their agricultural operation’s growth and financial progress, Farm Bureau leadership and leadership outside of Farm Bureau.

Nathan Prill of Michigan (left) won the Discussion Meet.

Nathan Prill of Michigan (left) won the Discussion Meet.

Nathan Prill of Michigan won the Discussion Meet. He will have his choice of either a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado or a 2014 GMC Sierra, courtesy of GM, plus free registration to the 2014 AFBF YF&R Leadership Conference.

The three runners-up in the Discussion Meet are Caleb May of Illinois, Shelby Watson of Maryland and Chris Pollack of Wisconsin.

Each runner-up will receive a Case IH Farmall 55A, courtesy of Case IH, and $3,000 in cash and STIHL merchandise, courtesy of STIHL.

The Discussion Meet simulates a committee meeting in which active discussion and participation are expected. Participants are evaluated on their ability to exchange ideas and information on a predetermined topic.

Linda McClanahan of Kentucky won the Excellence in Agriculture Award. She will receive her choice of either a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado or 2014 GMC Sierra, courtesy of GM, plus free registration to the 2014 AFBF YF&R Leadership Conference.

Linda McClanahan of Kentucky (left) won the Excellence in Agriculture Award.

Linda McClanahan of Kentucky (left) won the Excellence in Agriculture Award.

The three runners-up in the Excellence in Agriculture competition are Dr. Emily Buck of Ohio, Jennifer Hatcher and Chuck Yoest of Tennessee and W.P. and Amy Johnson of Virginia. Each runner-up will receive a Case IH Farmall 45A, courtesy of Case IH, and $3,000 in cash and STIHL merchandise, courtesy of STIHL.

The Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who do not derive the majority of their income from an agricultural operation, but who actively contribute and grow through their involvement in agriculture, their leadership ability and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations.

Discussion Meet Competitors Qualify for ‘Sweet 16’

We talk a lot about the need to start conversations about agriculture. There are many issues that farmers and ranchers currently face and will face in the near future that will require solutions through collaborative discussion. For the 2013 Discussion Meet contestants, these conversations already are happening as they participate in this year’s competition.

The AFBF Discussion Meet is designed to simulate a committee meeting where participants engage in a conversation about a topic important to agriculture. Competitors are evaluated on their ideas, cooperative discussion and collaboration with others.

The Discussion Meet began today with two rounds of competition. Panels of four contestants discussed issues like farm labor and how to engage Farm Bureau members who are not actively employed in agriculture. Judges then determined the top 16 contestants, who will advance to the Sweet 16 round at 8 a.m. Monday.

Congratulations to the 2013 Discussion Meet “Sweet 16” competitors:

Dillon Kjerstad, Arizona
Diane Coderniz, California
Kelvin Moreno, Florida
Matt Bottoms, Georgia
Elizabeth Kohtz, Idaho
Ann Larson, Illinois
Julie Ann Thelen, Indiana
Dr. Stacy Vincent, Kentucky
Brooks Long, Maryland
Alysa Sanford, Michigan
Kristy Miron, Minnesota
Cory Williamson, Mississippi
Kulani Lawler, Missouri
Brad Heimerl, Ohio
Allison Honea, South Carolina
Chaney Mosley, Tennessee

Best of luck to all of the Sweet 16 competitors and stay tuned to find out who will be the 2013 Discussion Meet winner.

amandalewishill is Amanda Hill, associate editor at Texas Farm Bureau. Amanda writes for Texas Table Top, a blog engaging in conversations about food, nutrition and farming in the Lone Star State. She also helps manage Texas Farm Bureau’s social media efforts, including FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and more. Find her on Twitter (@amandalhill).

Top Ten Finalists for 2013 Excellence in Agriculture Award

In agriculture, it takes all of us working together to provide a superior product for our customers, the American consumers who buy the food and fiber that we grow. From the families who raise crops on their land, to the veterinarians who provide care to livestock, to the ag educators who teach young students the importance of growing food in their area.

Every contributor to the process is vital to ensuring American agriculture remains a strong part of our country’s rich story.

The AFBF Excellence in Agriculture Award honors men and women who make significant contributions to agriculture, but who do not receive their primary incomes from farming and ranching. Participants also demonstrate outstanding leadership and involvement in Farm Bureau and other organizations.

These contestants from across the country understand that we must work together to give farmers and ranchers every opportunity to succeed. Without them, we could not move ahead.

The following Farm Bureau members have been named the top ten finalists for the 2013 Excellence in Agriculture Award:

Emily Eubanks, Florida
Drs. John & Marybeth Feutz, Indiana
Jarrod & Sarah Bowser, Kansas
William & Julie White, Mississippi
Kari Hanson, Montana
Alexandra Wright, New York
Steve & Mindi Clark, Oklahoma
David & Meghan Corvin, Tennessee
Kelby & Kathie Iverson, Utah
Dana Allen Fisher, Virginia

David & Meghan Corvin from Tennessee are among the finalists in the Excellent in Ag competition. Photo by Amanda Hill of Texas Farm Bureau.

David & Meghan Corvin from Tennessee are among the finalists in the Excellent in Ag competition. Photo by Amanda Hill of Texas Farm Bureau.

The winner will be announced tomorrow during the closing general session. Please join me in congratulating all of the finalists and other participants for their contributions to American agriculture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

amandalewishill is Amanda Hill, associate editor at Texas Farm Bureau. Amanda writes for Texas Table Top, a blog engaging in conversations about food, nutrition and farming in the Lone Star State. She also helps manage Texas Farm Bureau’s social media efforts, including FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and more. Find her on Twitter (@amandalhill).

Top Ten Finalists for 2013 YF&R Achievement Award

We hear every now and then about the “greying” of American agriculture, that our farmers and ranchers are aging and no one is there to take the reins. Based on what I see this weekend at the AFBF Annual Meeting  – and from my friends back home in Texas – I know nothing could be further from the truth.

Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer & Rancher Achievement Award contestants provide fantastic proof that the future of agriculture is in good hands. Members from across the country participated in this contest, first at the local and state levels and then advancing to represent their states this weekend at the national contest.

The YF&R Achievement Award honors a young member or couple who demonstrates the best of agriculture – farm growth, financial savvy, Farm Bureau leadership and more.

These folks are the cream of the crop. Spend a few minutes with any of the contestants, and you’ll feel energized and encouraged about the future of farming and ranching across this country.

Please join me in congratulating the following top ten finalists for the 2013 YF&R Achievement Award:

Dan & Mikki Hosman, Arkansas
John & Alicia Boelts, Arizona
Josh & Amy Farley, Florida
Chris & Marilynn Hopkins, Georgia
Orville & Jessica Haney, Indiana
Michael Springer, Kansas
Ryan & Misty Bivens, Kentucky
Brad & Minnie Bray, Missouri
Joshua & Julieanna Ogle, Tennessee
Nate & April Aker, Virginia

The winning member will be announced later during the meeting. Check back soon for the results of the YF&R Achievement Award contest.

In the meantime, fear not – the future of American agriculture most certainly is in good hands.

amandalewishill is Amanda Hill, associate editor at Texas Farm Bureau. Amanda writes for Texas Table Top, a blog engaging in conversations about food, nutrition and farming in the Lone Star State. She also helps manage Texas Farm Bureau’s social media efforts, including FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and more. Find her on Twitter @amandalhill).

Service, Leadership and Sleep Deprivation

I’m writing this a little bleary-eyed, a little caffeinated and a lot motivated. My wife, Anna, and I serve on the Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee for American Farm Bureau with 26 other great young leaders in our industry, and with that comes a lot of responsibility at the annual meeting. Primarily, we’re responsible for putting on the Discussion Meet, Excellence in Agriculture, and Achievement Award competitions (all of which will be discussed in greater detail in later posts), which means that we’re putting in 12- to 18-hour days of work to make sure these events go off without a hitch. If you see some smiling young members running all over the Opryland Hotel while you’re here, there’s a good chance it’s one of us.

But since the 28 of us only get to get together four times a year, we make the most of our socializing time after the work is done, leading directly to the bleary eyes and caffeine needs. (Without going into too great detail, I’ll just say we’ve uncovered some unexpected musical talents among the group in the last two nights.) The bonds that are formed when we’re playing and working together make the 18-hour days fly by, and we’ll all be looking forward to the next time we get together and do it again.

If you’re at the meeting and you have any questions, feel free to grab one of us and we’ll do our best to help you. Odds are good that we’ll know where to find the coffee.

zjhunn is Zach Hunnicutt, a Nebraska farmer. He farms with his dad and brother, growing field corn and soybeans for livestock, and popcorn for people. Find him on Facebook and Twitter (@zjhunn).