The winner of the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Virtual Collegiate Discussion Meet is Grace Hasler of Indiana. She was awarded the top prize following a discussion on how agriculture can address the labor needs of today’s food production system. Hasler is studying agriculture communications and agriculture economics at Purdue University and will receive her bachelor’s degree in 2022.
The Virtual Collegiate Discussion Meet, conducted using web conferencing this year, is designed to replicate a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected from each collegiate participant. Participants are judged on their ability to exchange ideas and information on an agricultural topic and find answers or solutions related to it. On the America’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Facebook Page, the public could watch along with the judges as each round was conducted.
Hasler qualified for the national competition upon winning the Indiana Farm Bureau Collegiate Discussion Meet. As the national winner, she received a $3,000 scholarship from competitive event sponsor CHS Foundation. CHS provided a total of $15,000 in scholarship funds for the contest.
In addition to Hasler, three finalists participated in three rounds of discussion before making it to the Final Four round. Finalists were Sarah Byrd, Mississippi; Meikah Dado, Wisconsin; and Marisa Phelps, Tennessee. They each received $1,500 courtesy of CHS Foundation.
Twenty-four competitors participated in this year’s Virtual Collegiate Discussion Meet. All competitors received a $150 scholarship courtesy of CHS Foundation, in recognition of their efforts and making it to the national level; students advancing to the “Sweet 16” round received an additional $225 scholarship.
The YF&R program includes men and women between the ages of 18 and 35. The program’s goals are to help younger Farm Bureau members learn more about agriculture, network with other farmers and realize their full potential as leaders in agriculture and Farm Bureau.