CSU, Chico News

College of Agriculture Staff Member and Students Win Top Honors at State Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet

Date: 12-10-2007

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs

College of Agriculture Outreach Coordinator Shannon Douglass and student Grace Berryhill won top prizes in two divisions of the state Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet held as part of the California Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Sparks, Nev., the first weekend in December. Douglass won the open competition for 18- to 35-year-old members, and Berryhill placed first in the separate Collegiate Discussion Meet.

A seven-member CSU, Chico team—Jenny Williams, an agricultural business major from Butte County; Garrett Driver, an agricultural education major from Yolo County; Sam Cooley, an agricultural business major from Solano County; Sarah Hubbart, an agricultural communications major from Placer County; Jolene Moxon, an animal science major from Humboldt County; Callie Borror, an agricultural business major from Tehama County; and Berryhill of Tulare County—also won the Collegiate Team Competition.

Douglass, a 2005 graduate in animal science with a minor in agricultural business and a Glenn County rancher, discussed the need for new water development. She was one of 11 contestants from around the state. Participants are judged on their ability to exchange ideas and information, think logically and solve problems cooperatively.

Douglass will receive more than $4,000 in cash prizes and a Dodge pickup truck for her winning discussion. She will compete at the national American Farm Bureau Federation Convention in January.

Berryhill, a junior at CSU, Chico, earned first prize of $500 in the Collegiate Discussion Meet. She is an agricultural education/animal science double major with a minor in Spanish. She will represent California at the Young Farmers and Ranchers National Convention in February.

The finals of the Collegiate Discussion Meet focused on the role of U.S. agriculture in responding to global issues that include trade, climate change and the threat of agricultural terrorism.

Douglass coached the winning collegiate team, which had been studying and practicing since September. “All of their hard work really paid off,” said Douglass. “The students competed in discussions about water rights, property rights, global issues and the public perception of the family farm. It is a very worthwhile competition that not only hones their public speaking skills, but also teaches them about the pressing issues facing the agriculture industry. Students are judged on their knowledge of the agriculture industry, presentation skills and cooperative attitude.”

The Butte County Farm Bureau sponsored the trip to Sparks to compete. It is part of the California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF), the state’s largest farm organization. The Young Farmers and Ranchers program, part of the CFBF, encourages members aged 18 to 35 to be active leaders in agriculture.