Mike Hannewald, Lucas County

Farm Bureau’s strength depends on its members’ abilities to analyze agricultural issues and decide on solutions that best meet their needs. The Discussion Meet competition is designed to simulate a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected from each committee member. 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. Successful participants are productive thinkers rather than emotional persuaders. They will assist the group in creating ways to implement the solutions discussed and highlight Farm Bureau’s involvement in those actions/steps. 

Contest eligibility
  • Applicant shall be a Farm Bureau member between the ages of 18 and 35 in good standing with their county Farm Bureau. The individual shall have reached their 18th birthday at the time they qualify for the state competition and shall not have reached their 36th birthday by Jan. 31, 2025.
  • Applicant must be actively engaged in agriculture.
  • Applicant may only compete in one national YF&R competition per year.
  • Past and present members of the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee and/or their spouse are not eligible to compete.
  • Previous AFBF Discussion Meet competitors are not eligible to compete.
  • Current employees or agents of county, state and/or the American Farm Bureau organizations and their affiliates are not eligible to compete. An affiliate is defined as an entity owned or controlled in whole or in part by another entity through, for example, ownership (including partial ownership)or positions on the board of directors.
  • Professional speakers are not eligible to compete. Professional speakers are those who have received a fee, royalty or honorarium for speaking (i.e., paid speaking appearances or speaking engagements) within 24 months prior to this annual competition. This excludes reimbursement for travel or expenses attendant to the appearance.
Contest details

Editor’s Note: The deadline to apply has been extended to Nov. 14, 2023. As a result, the mock interview portion of the contest is being waived. Contestants will automatically compete in the semi-finals during the Ohio Farm Bureau annual meeting Dec. 7.

Mock Media Interview – Nov. 7, 2023
Each competitor will be paired with an interviewer from ag media to conduct a virtual interview around one predetermined topic.

Topic: 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?

Semi-Finals – Dec. 7, 2023
The top eight individuals from the media interview round will be invited to participate in the semi-final round of the Discussion Meet contest. The semi finals will take place during the Ohio Farm Bureau Annual Meeting.

Topic Round 1: 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?

Topic Round 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?

Final Four – Jan. 27, 2024
The four competitors with the highest overall score from the semi final round will participate in the Discussion Meet at the 2024 Winter Leadership Experience.

Topic: Production agriculture requires a lot of capital. Young farmers and ranchers face challenges in 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?


The state winner receives an expense-paid trip to the Ohio Farm Bureau Annual Meeting Dec. 7, a media package and a $3,000 prize of choice. The state winner will represent Ohio in the national Discussion Meet during the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in San Antonio in 2025.

Final Four contestants receive an expense-paid trip to the Ohio Farm Bureau YAP Winter Leadership Experience Jan. 26-27 in Columbus, an embroidered Ohio Farm Bureau soft shell jacket and a $100 cash prize.

Top eight finalists receive a $50 cash prize.

Thank you to award sponsors Nationwide and Farm Credit Mid-America.

To apply

This application is for the 2024-2025 contest term. Deadline to apply ended Nov. 14, 2023.

Additional resources

AFBF Competitor Manual

AFBF Best Practices Guide

Michigan Farm Bureau Video

For more information regarding the contest, contact Kelsey Turner at Ohio Farm Bureau at [email protected]


Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Farm Labor Resources
I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. The extras that are included in membership are wonderful, but I'm a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.
Ernie Welch's avatar
Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

Strong communities
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
Jaclyn De Candio's avatar
Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
Jenna Gregorich's avatar
Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.
Jared Hughes's avatar
Jared Hughes

Groovy Plants Ranch

Groovy Plants Ranch
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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