By Julie Tomascik

College students discussed the future of agriculture and their role in it during Texas Farm Bureau’s (TFB) annual Collegiate Discussion Meet. Terren Moore of Tarleton State University was named the winner of this year’s contest.

Moore and 10 other college students from across the state competed in Waco on Saturday, April 8.

“College students are able to cultivate and build on basic discussion and critical thinking skills through the Collegiate Discussion Meet,” said Whit Weems, director of Leader Development for TFB and the contest organizer. “The event fosters an environment for understanding important agricultural issues facing farmers and ranchers today and in the future.”

The contest was a roundtable discussion. Topics included trade, regulatory issues, how agriculture is perceived by the public and ways to get more young people involved in farming and ranching.

“The discussion meet encourages young people to educate themselves on policy, immigration and trade to prepare us for the future. These topics are issues that farmers and ranchers face every day,” Moore, a senior majoring in Agricultural Services and Development with an emphasis in Agricultural Industries, said. “[The contest] encourages us to take action and be able to discuss these issues and work toward a solution.”

The finalists held a 25-minute conversation on how farmers and ranchers can maintain their buying power with the continued trend of input supplier and provider consolidations. They were scored based on their speaking skills, effective problem-solving and cooperative communication with other contestants.

The finalists were Tyler Wayland, Texas A&M University–Kingsville; Tucker Dean, Tarleton State University; and Emilee Peterson, Texas A&M University–Commerce.

Others who participated were Monekah Ammouri, Breanthony Baker, Cameron Bates, Michaela Bledsoe and Martin Perez from Texas A&M University-Commerce and Matthew Boerner and James Emerson from Tarleton State University.

As contest winner, Moore took home a $2,000 scholarship, plaque and a traveling award for the winner’s university. He will also receive an expense-paid trip to represent Texas in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Collegiate Discussion Meet contest in February 2018.

The three runners-up each received a $500 scholarship and plaque.

The contest, which is hosted by the TFB Young Farmer & Rancher Advisory Committee, encourages problem-solving through cooperative discussion among college students.

“Agriculture is growing, and there are a variety of people involved in it,” Moore said. “The Discussion Meet and the Young Farmer & Rancher program allow great networking skills that we will use throughout our careers.”