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Nail that Discussion Meet, take home a Ranger

2018 Discussion Meet finalists
2018 Montana Farm Bureau Discussion Meet finalists Mark Boyd, Lacey Sutherlin, Cali Rooney and Joel LaLiberty.

The Farm Bureau Discussion Meet contest is designed to simulate a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected from each participant. This competition is evaluated on an exchange of ideas and information on a pre-determined topic. The judges are looking for the contestant that offers cooperation and communication while analyzing agricultural problems and developing solutions.

Share ideas. Collaborate toward a common goal. Build on the success of others. These are the skills we all need to build a successful farm or ranch business, rural communities and agricultural industries. Farm Bureau members are especially called on to put their best feet forward in conversations about agriculture.  

The Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet is a great opportunity for Young Farmers and Ranchers to practice these skills, plus compete for a chance to take home a Polaris Ranger! The state competition will be at the 2019 Montana Farm Bureau Convention on Tuesday, Nov. 12 in Billings.

These best practices, adapted from the American Farm Bureau, will help you prepare:

Tricks of the Trade

  • Utilize government research. Search government agency websites and databases for strong statistics and data to use in your discussions. This information is reliable and well-researched. 
  • Learn from the best. Reach out to former Discussion Meet and Collegiate Discussion Meet participants. Even though the discussion questions change each year, former competitors can provide valuable insight and tips on the nature of the contest. Also, reach out to YF&R staff and committee members who have familiarity with the competition to get clarification. 
  • Pros and Cons. Review each question and create discussion points from both sides of the issue. This will not only give you a greater understanding of how an issue developed, but it will prepare you to discuss potential obstacles when working to find a solution. 
  • Diversify written sources. Besides the internet, gather resources and information from the library, newspapers, magazines, Farm Bureau policies and other agriculture publications. 
  • Real talk. Engage in conversations with your local county Farm Bureau members, state and national representatives, lobbyists and agriculture industry employees to gather information and examples. Seek conversations with those who are not familiar with the issue to gain their perspective. Explaining the topic helps provide practice articulating what you know. As you speak, address all angles to gather additional points and as many ideas as possible. Pro tip: contact your County President and ask if you may attend the next board meeting to talk with other leaders and gain more perspective on the topics. 
  • Farm Bureau history. Take time to review county, state and American Farm Bureau history on the topic. What are our standing policies with the questions? Request a policy book from the state office, if you don't have one, and spend time catching up on archive posts on this blog!
  • Expert opinion. If you don’t have a personal relationship with the content of the question, find a credible source who does and get their opinion. Be prepared to cite and properly establish your source as an expert in their field.

Questions? Contact Sue Ann Streufert at sueanns@mfbf.org.

Competitors must sign up by November 8th.
Sign up here.

More Resources:

2019 MFBF Discussion Meet Application

2019/2020 YF&R Discussion Meet Questions

2019/2020 YF&R Discussion Meet Best Practices

2018 MFBF YF&R Discussion Meet Final Four Video



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