University of Wyoming student Sarah Falen discussed agriculture issues at a recent Wyoming Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Collegiate Discussion Meet and earned $300 cash and a trip to Kansas City, Missouri. Falen competed Nov. 12 in the event held in Cody. Twenty competitors representing Northwest College, 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.

“The Collegiate Discussion Meet was a great experience,” said Sarah Falen. “I enjoyed that I can learn about the different current agriculture issues and discuss them with peers that are also interested in the agriculture industry.”

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 16 from the two rounds advance to a “Sweet 16” round and the top four advanced to the “Final Four” round.

Discussion for the preliminary rounds and Sweet 16 round included the topics of technology use in agriculture, animal welfare discussions and balancing agriculture’s water needs. The “Final Four” discussion topic was: “How can weinfluencestate and local policythatmore effectivelybalances the social and economicinterestsoffarmersand ranchers versusburdensomefederal regulation?”

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

            Falen will represent the Wyoming Farm Bureau in the American Farm Bureau Federation Collegiate Discussion Meet Feb. 12-15, 2016 in Kansas City, MO. Falen, of Cheyenne, is a sophomore at the University of Wyoming pursuing a degree in agricultural communications and natural resources.

Falen said she enjoyed the state competition and is looking forward to the national competition. “This will help me in my future goals because I would like to become a lawyer for the agriculture industry and this Discussion Meet will help in my skills to discuss these issues with other possible opposing views while listening to all other opinions and coming to a consensus,” She said.

            Gavin McAllister, of Northwest College, was named the runner-up and was awarded a $150 cash prize. McAllister is a sophomore studying agriculture business.

Rounding out the “Final Four” finalists were: Jessi Gordon, Northwest College Agri-Business and Spanish student and Maggie Tupper, 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