LARAMIE--University of Wyoming (UW) student Ben Berry discussed agriculture issues at a recent Wyoming Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Collegiate Discussion Meet and earned $300 cash and a trip to Orlando, Florida.  Berry competed Nov. 16 with other University of Wyoming students in the event held at the UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“Competing in events such as the Collegiate Discussion Meet helps me prepare and articulate my thoughts in an appropriate venue,” Berry stated.  “Farm Bureau continues to be a voice for agriculture, young and old."

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 agriculture students.  The participants competed in two rounds of competition.  In the first round they discussed the importance of U.S. produced food to our security in the future.  The second round topic focused on discussion around the current level of government involvement and its impact on 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.

Berry will represent the Wyoming Farm Bureau in the American Farm Bureau Federation Collegiate Discussion Meet Feb. 5-7, 2011 in Orlando, Fla.  Berry also received a $50 gift certificate from the UW College of Agriculture Office of Academic and Student Programs.

Berry, of Cheyenne, is a freshman at UW pursuing a degree in agricultural communications.  He grew up on a ranch north of Cheyenne raising registered horned Herefords.  Berry is also a member of the UW Debate Team.  He is the son of Jay and Janice Berry.

Beth Wood, of Laramie, was named the runner-up and was awarded a $150 cash prize.  Wood is a senior majoring in agricultural communications at UW.

The other finalists were:  UW students Trevor Rife and Matthew Thoman.  Rife is a molecular biology major from Torrington.   Thoman is a rangeland ecology and watershed management major from Riverton.  They each received a $25 cash award.

“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,” Chalsey Kortes, WyFB YF&R State Chair, said.

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

Chalsey Kortes, WyFB YF&R State Chair, 307.325.6922 or

Kerin Clark
, WyFB Media Director, 307.532.2002 or