Northwest College student Bryce McKenzie discussed agriculture issues at a recent Wyoming Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Collegiate Discussion Meet and earned $300 cash and a trip to Nashville, Tenn.  McKenzie competed Nov. 13 in the event held at Sheridan College.  Fifteen competitors representing Sheridan College, Eastern Wyoming College, Northwest 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 and the top four advanced to the “Final Four” round.  The first round discussion topic was:  “How would the condition of government-managed public lands change if they were managed privately?”  The second round discussion topic was:  “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?  The “Final Four” discussion topic was: “How should our nation’s policies balance concerns about food insecurity against concerns about the safety or environmental impact of modern agricultural technologies? What role should farmers have in discussing and debating these issues in our society and with our lawmakers?”

            “The competition is a great opportunity for college students to put their knowledge into a competition and also show them the opportunities available through Wyoming Farm Bureau’s YF&R program,” Raenell Taylor, WyFB YF&R 2014 State Chair, said. 

            “It is wonderful to see so many college students passionate about agriculture,” Taylor continued.  “The contestants clearly expressed that passion during this year’s competition!”  

            McKenzie will represent the Wyoming Farm Bureau in the American Farm Bureau Federation Collegiate Discussion Meet Feb. 13-16, 2015 in Nashville, Tenn.

            McKenzie, of Buffalo, is a student at Northwest College pursuing a degree in agricultural education.  He is a past state president of the Wyoming FFA.

            Thomas Garvie, of Torrington, was named the runner-up and was awarded a $150 cash prize.  Garvie is an Eastern Wyoming College student pursuing a degree in communications.

          Rounding out the “Final Four” finalists were:  Tamara Connally, Northwest College Agri-Business student and Tucker Johnson, Northwest College Agri-Business 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    

           A photo album of the competition may be viewed on the WyFB Young Farmers and Ranchers Facebook page (link at