Thursday, March 12, 2015

Discussion Meet

Yesterday I mentioned that in January, Travis and I traveled to San Diego for the American Farm Bureau Federation's Annual Convention.  While we were there as North Dakota's Young Farmers and Ranchers representatives, Travis was also competing in the Discussion Meet.

The Discussion Meet is a competitive event based on a committee meeting where a predetermined question is, you guessed it, discussed.  It is not supposed to be a debate. Since this event is sponsored by the Young Farmers and Ranchers committee, participants must be between the ages of 18 to 35.  At the national level, there is a contestant from each state.

There are four to five participants in a room where each person delivers an opening statement. Then the group converses for 25-30 minutes (set time depending on the round), followed by a closing statement from each individual.  The contestants are judged by cooperative attitude, problem solving and implementation, delivery, analysis of the topic or problem, and opening and closing statements.

Travis was able to compete at the national level after winning the North Dakota Farm Bureau's Discussion Meet last November 2014.  He had advanced to the state competition in 2013 as well, but since the due date for our third child was week after the event, I told him we were NOT going.  (Pregnant women are so demanding.)

Anyways, two questions were pulled from a list of five topics for the Round Robin portion of the event.

The great thing about having to be knowledgeable in all five of the questions that could be asked is that you become very informative on agricultural issues (historic and current), and the lawmaking policy of the industry.  It is time consuming, but educational.

Travis wanted to be thoroughly prepared for the national competition, so as soon as harvest was over he spent many evenings doing research and developing his opening statements.  He rehearsed so much that even I had memorized them.  (He did not study at all for the state competition.  Shhh!...don't tell anyone!)

The questions were:

Round 1:  How would the condition of government-managed public lands change if they were managed privately? What are the pros and cons of government ownership of land versus private ownership?

Round 2:  The farm bill crop insurance provisions offer a safety net for crop loss due to natural disaster and/or price risk. Should a safety net for livestock producers be developed, and what provisions might it include?

Travis delivering one of his opening statements.
Photo credit to the North Dakota Farm Bureau.

Travis did well during the first two rounds, but he did not advance to the Sweet Sixteen portion of the competition.  You can watch the Final Four here.

Please note that I am not talking about March Madness.  Although I would love to engage any conversation that involves the NDSU Men's Basketball team going to the NCAA tournament. (GO BISON!)

Speaking of NDSU...Considering that the championship Bison Football game was going on at THE EXACT SAME TIME as the Discussion Meet in San Diego, Travis did very well focusing on the task at hand.  He was completely in the dark until right before the start of the second round when he asked one of our fellow North Dakota State fans the outcome of the game.  In case you missed it, we won!

On a tour of the San Diego harbor in our NDSU Bison gear.

We'd like to encourage anyone in North Dakota to participate in the state 2016 Discussion Meet at the conference in Minot, January 29-31st.  More information will be posted on the NDFB website as details of the event are finalized.

You can also stay up-to-date by "liking" the NDFB Young Farmers & Ranchers Facebook page.

Dana


P.S. This week, March 8-14th, is North Dakota Farm Bureau week.  I'll be writing everyday highlighting some of the ways Travis and I are involved with the organization. You can read Monday's post here, and Tuesday's post here, and yesterday's post here.

Disclaimer: As farmers, we are members of the North Dakota Farm Bureau and volunteer our time to the organization.  Due to our leadership position on the Young Farmers & Ranchers committee, we were reimbursed for our travel expenses on this trip, and are grateful for the opportunity.

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