BILLINGS--Cali Rooney, a young rancher from Big Timber, bested three other competitors to win the Montana Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet. She got the keys to a Ranger® 570 EFI and an all-expense paid trip to compete in the national competition in New Orleans in January. The three other contestants were Joel LaLiberty from Belgrade, Lacey Sutherlin from Stevensville and Mark Boyd from Alder. The Discussion meet was held November 8 during the MFBF 99th Annual Convention in Billings.

The Discussion Meet, which is open to Farm Bureau members age 18-35, is meant to simulate a committee meeting with ideas discussed and solutions developed. The question for the final round: In our modern world, the rapid dissemination of information and opinion about agriculture and food technologies can make it difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. Given these challenges, how can Farm Bureau best protect farmers’ and ranchers’ access to production technology options?”

In the discussion, Rooney said that early education about the truth and science behind agriculture is an effective way to reach consumers at a young age. The fifth-generation rancher noted that farmers in the U.S. produce the cleanest and safest food supply in the world due to technology, and added that she is excited about the challenge to produce food for the future.

“I enjoyed participating in the Discussion Meet because of the different perspectives I heard from the other contestants,” Rooney said, adding that she has a long-time Farm Bureau legacy having participated in the Montana Farm Bureau Foundation Youth Speech Contest, Collegiate Farm Bureau, and coming from a long-time Farm Bureau family.

As for the Utility Vehicle, the young rancher was thrilled. “We will put it to use immediately for fencing, working cows and dispensing mineral. It will be worked hard, but it will be loved. I thank Farm Bureau and the Polaris dealers for the opportunity and this amazing prize.”

Chad Adams with Yellowstone Polaris noted that the participating Montana Polaris dealers are proud to be the Discussion Meet sponsor for the fourth year in a row. “We now have 75 percent of the Montana Polaris dealers on board with this program,” said Adams. “It’s great seeing these talented young people involved in agriculture participate in this contest.”