MFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet Competition; Discussion Meet Provides Competition, Knowledge, And Polaris Ranger
November 1, 2023 | View PDF
Bozeman-The Montana Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee encourages any voting Farm Bureau member ages 18-35 to compete in the Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet, which takes place Thursday, Nov. 9 during the MFBF Annual Convention in downtown Billings. The winner of the Discussion Meet will receive the keys to a new Polaris Ranger, and an expense-paid trip to participate in the national Discussion Meet held during the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention January 2024 in Salt Lake City, UT. In addition to the YF&R Discussion Meet, the Collegiate Young Farmer & Rancher Discussion Meet Final Four will take place late afternoon Friday, Nov. 10.
The Discussion Meet contest is designed to simulate a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected from each competitor. It is evaluated on an exchange of ideas and information on a pre-determined topic and is an excellent way for young people to learn more about agricultural issues.
Last November, Mark Boyd, a rancher from Alder who serves on the MFBF YF&R Committee, was the thrilled winner of a Polaris Ranger, donated by participating Polaris dealers in Montana. He also gleaned the opportunity to compete for a Ford truck in the American Farm Bureau Discussion Meet in January 2023 in Puerto Rico.
The young rancher explained his Polaris helped him on the ranch. "The Ranger has been a great machine," Boyd said. "I've loaded a toolbox in it and worked on irrigation equipment in the spring, loaded plumbing parts and tools in the back to work on stock water systems, hauled many 50-pound bags of salt and mineral to various pastures throughout the summer, along with fixing fence and checking cattle."
He noted that the Ranger donation from Montana Polaris Dealers has increased the level of competition and interest in the MFBF Discussion Meet, which has resulted in increased attendance in the state convention by young Farm Bureau members.
"I believe it has also increased overall involvement of young farmers and ranchers in our organization," he said. "Shiny toys up for grabs are a great way to raise interest. I believe this has given Polaris additional brand awareness in the Montana ag community, as well, which they deserve for being so generous for the past nine years."
Boyd had competed in the Discussion Meet five times before winning in 2022 and encourages other young farmers, ranchers and young folks interested in agriculture to jump into the competition.
"I think with each competition you learn and improve. I would encourage YF&R members to continue to compete and study each year. The more familiar you are with each question, the more natural it is going to feel to discuss that question in a committee setting," he explained. "Every discussion is different and if you've studied and prepared, not only will you do well, but you've increased your knowledge on an agricultural subject."
For Discussion Meet questions, visit http://www.mfbf.org/Programs/Young-Farmers-Ranchers. For questions and information about the Young Farmers & Ranchers program, contact Sue Ann Streufert, 406-587-3153, [email protected]. Be sure to follow Montana Farm Bureau on Facebook and Instagram.
Thanks to these participating Polaris dealers for supporting our Young Farmers and Ranchers: Beaverhead Motors – Dillon; Bliss Cycle – Conrad; Basecamp Gallatin – Bozeman; Basecamp Billings – Billings; Helena Cycle Center – Helena; Kurt's Polaris – Seeley Lake; Lewistown Honda & Polaris, Lewistown; Redline Sports, Inc – Butte; Riverside Marine & Cycle – Miles City; Russell Motorsports – Missoula; Sports City Cyclery – Great Falls.
2023/2024 YF&R Discussion Meet Questions
1. Production agriculture requires a lot of capital. Young farmers and ranchers face challenges gaining access to the capital they need to start or grow their operations. What tools are currently available, and what new programs could be introduced, to help young people access financial resources-and make sound financial decisions-to run their farms and ranches?
2. Working with elected officials in all levels of government is critical to advancing public policy that supports farmers and ranchers. How can Farm Bureau help elected leaders better understand the challenges of the agriculture sector and the importance of supporting the financial viability of America's family farms and ranches?
3. What is sustainable agriculture and how can Farm Bureau help farmers and ranchers access market-based solutions that advance sustainability goals without restricting their ability to stock America's pantries, help feed a growing population and maintain farm profitability?
4. Farmers and ranchers across the country are diverse in not only the goods they produce, but also, in the ways they raise and market them. The Farm Bureau's role is to broadly represent all producers. How can our organization further welcome and engage diverse agricultural communities and cultivate dynamic future Farm Bureau leaders?
5. Agriculture uses water for everything from growing crops, raising livestock and moving products to and from farms and ranches. Water issues are often hotly debated, are unique to each region and can pose significant challenges to growers. How can Farm Bureau help address water management challenges and seek long-term solutions for farmers and ranchers?