LCCC student Kathi LaPoint wins Farm Bureau Collegiate Discussion Meet
Laramie County Community College student Kathi LaPoint discussed agriculture issues at the Wyoming Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Collegiate Discussion Meet and earned $300 cash and an expense-paid trip to Louisville, Ky. LaPoint competed Nov. 12 in Laramie.
Twelve competitors representing LCCC, Sheridan College and the University of Wyoming entered the competition. The competition is designed to simulate a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected.
LaPoint said she is grateful for the opportunity provided through this competition. “It has allowed me the experience of getting in touch with agriculture on a new level that sheds light on what is affecting farmers and ranchers today,” she said. “The ability to understand pressing issues in modern agriculture is key to staying informed as I chase my college degree in agriculture business and animal science.”
Jedidiah HewLalett, a UW student, was named the runner-up and was awarded a $150 cash prize. Hewlett is a senior majoring in ag business, farm and ranch management. He also serves as the chapter president of the UW Collegiate Farm Bureau.
Rounding out the “Final Four” finalists were: Kylie Carson, LCCC and Caden Callaway, LCCC. Carson, of Torrington, is a freshman majoring in ag business. From northeastern Colorado, Callaway is a freshman majoring in ag business.
Contestants are given pre-determined topics. They are judged on their knowledge, speaking ability, ability to participate in a committee meeting and listen to others and air all points of view. All contestants competed in two rounds of competition. The top four advanced to the “Final Four” round.
The “Final Four” discussion topic was: “The 21st-century agricultural economy is threatened by labor shortages. Without a clear solution for accessing foreign guest workers as a component of immigration reform coming from Congress, what are some creative and legal ways for agriculture to address the labor needs of a modern production system.”
According to LaPoint, the competition provided a challenge to discuss real time agriculture issues of concern and determine a potential solution. “It was interesting to see where my peer’s minds are at regarding modern day issues,” LaPoint said.
“The Collegiate Discussion Meet is a great way for students to take what they’re learning in the classroom and apply it to real world ag issues,” said Chelsea Baars, WyFB YF&R Competitive Events Sub-Committee chair. “We had a well-rounded group of contestants who brought a refreshing amount of enthusiasm and excitement to the event.”
LaPoint will represent the Wyoming Farm Bureau in the American Farm Bureau Federation Collegiate Discussion Meet, March 13-16, 2020, in Louisville, Ky. LaPoint is a freshman at LCCC pursuing a double major of agriculture business and animal science. From Evans, Colo., she has been involved in agriculture through working on her family’s farm and ranch and a dairy farm.
LaPoint is looking forward to the national competition. “It will be interesting to hear the perspectives of those who represent such different regions of the U.S. and to see what direction the topics will go as a result,” she said. ❖