Eastern Wyoming College student Chelsea Baars discussed agriculture issues at a recent Wyoming Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Collegiate Discussion Meet and earned $300 cash and an expense-paid trip to Pittsburgh, Penn. Baars competed Nov. 10 in the event held in Laramie. Seventeen competitors representing Sheridan College, Eastern Wyoming College, and the University of Wyoming entered the competition.

The competition is designed to simulate a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected from each committee member. The competition was open to all Wyoming college students with an interest in agriculture.

Contestants are given pre-determined topics. They are judged on their knowledge, speaking ability, ability to participate in a committee meeting and listen to others and air all points of view. All contestants competed in two rounds of competition. The top 8 advanced to an “Elite 8” round and the top four advanced to the “Final Four” round.

Discussion for the preliminary rounds and Elite 8 round included the topics of the nation’s tax policy, food labeling, and ownership of intellectual and proprietary information as it relates to big data, drones and unauthorized videos.   The “Final Four” discussion topic was: “How can we ensure that farmers and ranchers, not government agencies, are driving the management of natural resources.”

“It was a great competition showcasing the talent we have from around the state,” said Cole Coxbill, WyFB YF&R Out-Going State Chair. “The competition provides a learning opportunity for college students and showcases the work Farm Bureau does for farmers and ranchers.”

            Baars will represent the Wyoming Farm Bureau in the American Farm Bureau Federation Collegiate Discussion Meet Feb. 10-13, 2017 in Pittsburg, Penn. Baars, of Lusk, is a sophomore at Eastern Wyoming College pursuing a degree in farm and ranch management

            Britton Bentz, of the University of Wyoming, was named the runner-up and was awarded a $150 cash prize. Bentz is a sophomore studying agriculture business.

Rounding out the “Final Four” finalists were: Rachel Derner, University of Wyoming secondary agriculture education student, and Morgan Squires, University of Wyoming rangeland ecology and watershed management student.

The Wyoming Farm Bureau YF&R program provides leadership, networking, educational and competitive event opportunities to Wyoming agriculturalists between the ages of 18-35. To learn more, visit them on Facebook and on the web at www.wyfb.org.A photo album of the competition may be viewed on the WyFB Young Farmers and Ranchers Facebook page (link at wyfb.org).