CSU, Chico News

Chico State Team Wins Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet in Pasadena

Date: 01-07-2013

Mollie Aschenbrener
College of Agriculture
Joe Wills
Public Affairs

The Chico State Discussion Meet Team won the California Young Farmers and Ranchers Collegiate Discussion Meet Championship in Pasadena, Calif., on Dec. 1, 2012. The discussion meet consisted of five topics, including immigration, encouraging young farmers to return home to farm, reaching out to associate members, transferring operations and agriculture education programs.

Coach Mollie Aschenbrener, a College of Agriculture faculty member, prepared the team for the contest, which evaluates contestants’ cooperation and communication while discussing agriculture issues. The team consisted of CSU, Chico students Derek Eid, Kristen Moran, Natalie Oelsner and Lia Van Egmond. Butte Community College student Jacob Vasquez also trained with the team.

“They had some tough issues to discuss and worked hard to prepare for this contest,” Dean Jennifer Ryder Fox said. “It is rewarding to be able to be with them during the contest and see them pull together to support each other. They truly understand teamwork.”

Oelsner, Van Egmond and Vasquez made it to the Elite Eight. Vasquez and Oelsner continued on to the Final Four, where Oelsner placed first and Vasquez placed second. Oelsner will go on to represent California at the national discussion meet contest in Phoenix in February.

“When I heard that Jacob and I had taken the top two spots, I was so excited and felt so blessed to be able to compete in the national competition,” Oelsner said. “Overall, the best part about this past weekend was having the support of my teammates and coaches along the way.”

As winner, Oelsner will receive $500 and a trip to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Conference to be held in Phoenix, Ariz., in February.