Shelby Brammel, left, Rachel Heimerl, right

Contests offer experience for young professionals

Buckeye Farm News

A little knowledge, confidence and passion are all Ohio Farm Bureau members need to start participating in the organization’s Young Agricultural Professionals contests.

The winner of the state contests  will compete with colleagues from around the United States at AFBF’s national convention for the chance to win top prizes such as trucks and tractors. The three contests are for young ag professionals ages 18 to 35.

“These competitions are excellent ways for young ag professionals to enhance skills that they will use for their entire career and in their volunteer life,”  said Melinda Witten, Ohio Farm Bureau’s young agriculture professional coordinator.

The winners of these three contests at the state level will receive an expense-paid trip to AFBF’s annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn., Jan. 13-16, 2013. The top prizes for national winners are a choice of a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado or a 2013 GMC Sierra pickup, courtesy of GM, valued at $35,000. The national winners also will have paid registration for the 2013 Young Farmers & Ranchers Leadership Conference in Phoenix. Runners-up will receive a Farmall Tractor from Case IH and a $2,500 cash prize and STIHL Farm Boss from STIHL.

 Discussion Meet

The deadline for OFBF’s 2012 Discussion Meet contest is June 29 and applying involves filling out a simple form. The contest is an exercise in cooperative problem solving, designed to give participants experience in leading a group discussion and in chairing a committee. 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. Participants compete in elimination rounds before a winner is announced.

“It was beneficial to learn all sides of an issue because it allows you to better present your case,” Brammell said. “It was great to meet with farmers from all over the country and hear about issues that affect them and don’t happen in Ohio. It gives you more of a perspective of agriculture.”

The first round will be held at OFBF’s Leadership Conference Aug. 17-18 to determine the four finalists who will participate at the Ohio Farm Bureau annual meeting Nov. 28-30. Ohio’s winner will receive a $1,000 cash award from Nationwide Insurance, along with the trip to AFBF’s annual meeting.

Last year’s winner was Shelby Brammel, from Hardin County.

Outstanding Young Farmer 

Entry forms for the Outstanding Young Farmer contest are due Aug. 17. The contest recognizes successful young farmers, singles or couples for achievements in the business of farming and leadership in the agricultural community.

“The whole purpose of the contest is to highlight and recognize those who have taken an ag risk and showcase them and their business. We want to highlight their activities in the local Farm Bureau or across the state and their involvement in the community,” Witten said.

Four finalists will be selected to compete at the state level and they will participate in a 30-minute interview with judges. The winner will be announced at OFBF’s annual meeting Nov. 28-30 in Columbus and they will advance to the AFBF contest. The state winner will receive free use of a Kubota M-series tractor for one year.

Last year’s winners were Matt and Rachel Heimerl, from Licking County.

Excellence in Agriculture

Aug. 17 is the deadline for entering the Excellence in Agriculture contest. It recognizes successful young people, singles or couples who are involved in agriculture, but whose primary occupations are not farming or owning an agricultural business such as agriculture teachers and seed salesmen. The award is based on involvement in agriculture and participation in Farm Bureau and other community organizations. The application is about six pages.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to hold up people who are involved in the community. We ask for contestants to list three issues facing agriculture and give them the opportunity to share their solution to the problem. Participation has traditionally been strong in the Excellence in Ag contest,” Witten said.

The four finalists will compete at the state level and participate in a 30-minute interview with judges. The winner will be announced at OFBF’s annual meeting and advance to the national AFBF contest. The state winner will receive a $1,000 gift card to Grainger.

Last year’s winners were Scott and Tracie Isler, from Marion County.

Lynn Snyder 

Lynn Snyder is senior director of communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.

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