CSU, Chico News

CSU, Chico Agriculture Student Wins First Place at National Discussion Meet

Date: 02-18-2008

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Shannon Douglass

California State University, Chico College of Agriculture student Grace Berryhill won first place in the 2008 American Farm Bureau Federation Collegiate Discussion Meet in Baltimore this past weekend. She received $2,500 for winning the national title.

Berryhill, a junior, has a double major in agricultural education and animal science and a minor in Spanish. In the final round of the national competition, Berryhill competed against statewide champions from Texas, Tennessee and Florida to take the title.

Berryhill was chosen to represent California in December at the statewide Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion meet held as part of the California Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Sparks, Nev. At the state competition, Berryhill spoke on the role of U.S. agriculture in responding to global issues that include trade, climate change and the threat of agricultural terrorism.

Shannon Douglass, a 2005 CSU, Chico graduate in animal science, coached the collegiate team at the state competition and Berryhill for the national competition. Douglass said that students are judged on their knowledge of the agriculture industry, presentation skills and cooperative attitude. “The state and national competitions provide such a great opportunity for students to learn about the important issues facing agriculture and to practice the kinds of communication skills that they will use in their careers,” said Douglass.

Berryhill has been preparing for the state and national competitions since August and even more heavily during the past two months since her state-level win. “It was Grace’s first time competing, and we are so proud to have her win the national title for Chico on her first try,” said Douglass.

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