The Nevada Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) annual discussion meet took place at the 98th annual Nevada Farm Bureau meeting at the Carson Valley Inn, in Minden Nevada. It was a fierce competition with 10 competitors.
Each year the YF&R discussion topics are selected by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) YF&R committee used throughout the competition that leads up to the AFBF Annual Meeting. Each competitor is evaluated on an exchange of ideas and information on a pre-determined question. Participants build basic discussion skills, develop a keen understanding of important agricultural issues and explore how groups can pool knowledge to reach consensus and solve problems.
This years discussion topics were:
1. Farmers are a shrinking percentage of the population. How can Farm Bureau help first-generation farmers and ranchers get started in agriculture?
2. With a growing demand for US farm products abroad, how can agriculture overcome public skepticism of foreign trade to negotiate new trade agreements and open new world markets?
3. Formation of family farm corporations is common practice. How can Farm Bureau work to ensure that the public’s positive perception of the family farm is not lost?
4. How can farmers and ranchers maintain their buying power with the continued trend of input supplier and provider consolidations?
5. How can Farm Bureau help members with increasing legal and regulatory obstacles so they can focus on farming and ranching?
Competitors competed in two preliminary rounds, where the best four out of ten moved on to the final discussion round. The final four competitors were: Blane Merkley from Churchill County, Sarah Stallard from Clark County, Katie Combs from Clark County and Anna Lekumberry from Douglas County.
During the final discussion round competition was so narrow a tie-braking protocol had to be used to calculate the final scores.
1st Place Katie Combs
2nd Place Blane Merkley
3rd Place Anna Lekumberry
4th Place Sarah Stallard
Katie Combs is the Clark County Vice President and daughter of former Nevada Farm Bureau President Hank Combs.
“It is exciting to see other peoples perspectives on the YF&R discussion topics and to discuss them in depth to find a solution we can work on implementing both at local and national levels,” said Combs.
Combs will now compete at the national YF&R discussion meet that will take place at the Annual American Farm Bureau Federation meeting that takes place in January in Nashville, Tennessee.