CSU, Chico

CSU, Chico Student Places in Top Four at American Farm Bureau’s Collegiate Discussion Meet

CSU, Chico Student Places in Top Four at American Farm Bureau’s Collegiate Discussion Meet

California State University, Chico sophomore agricultural education major Natalie Oelsner competed at the American Farm Bureau's National Collegiate Discussion Meet on Feb. 10 in Phoenix, Ariz. Oelsner qualified for the national discussion meet by placing first in the California competition on Dec. 1 in Pasadena.

 "The discussion meet is designed to simulate a committee meeting where participants are expected to be actively involved in discussion," states the Farm Bureau's website. After winning the state competition in December, Oelsner had about a month to prepare and research the topics for the national collegiate discussion meet, which included immigration, public agriculture education, associate membership, succession planning, and finding ways to encourage young farmers and ranchers to return to the farm.

The participants in the competition are evaluated on ideas they contribute to the assigned topic discussion. They are judged on their ability to offer constructive criticism, communication techniques, and cooperation in the overall meeting setting while they discuss agricultural issues and brainstorm solutions to those issues. 

"Natalie represented Chico State in a very professional manner, and her knowledge of the topics as well as her great poise among her peers certainly made people aware of Chico State's program," stated College of Agriculture Dean Jennifer Ryder Fox.

Oelsner progressed to the final four in the discussion meet out of 46 participants nationwide. As one of the top four contestants, Oelsner will receive a $1,000 scholarship on top of the $250 scholarship that is given to each participant who makes it to the national level. 

"This whole experience has been so special to me," said Oelsner. "From networking with young farmers and ranchers from all over the nation, having the support of Dean Fox, Dr. Mollie Aschenbrener and many others, to having the chance to compete a national level has been deeply satisfying. It is has been so rewarding, and this experience will be something I will carry with me the rest of my life."

February 19, 2013