Modesto woman wins California Discussion Meet
» December 5, 2006 «
After the first all-female final in the competition's history, a young agricultural leader from Modesto emerged as the winner of the annual Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet, held at the California Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Anaheim.
Amy Christensen, a member of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation, won the Discussion Meet that featured a record 74 competitors. Participants in the annual contest discuss pre-determined topics and are judged on their ability to exchange ideas and information, think logically and solve problems cooperatively.
In the final round of the 2006 Discussion Meet, contestants debated the impacts of a proposed animal-identification system on family farms and ranches. Christensen spoke of the importance of weighing the results of U.S. Department of Agriculture pilot programs before implementing any sort of animal ID program.
"It is important that we continue to consider the needs of both small and large producers," she said. "Farm Bureau policy asks us to actively divide the costs among government, industry and producers and we need to figure out the best use of taxpayer and producer money."
Christensen, who is vice president of operations and external affairs for the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation, earned a $25,000 pickup truck of her choice from Dodge and $3,600 in cash as winner of the competition. She will represent California in the national Discussion Meet, to be held next month at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City.
Each of the three runners-up earned cash awards. Lesa Eidman of Sacramento County was first runner-up, Meghan Bowen of Monterey County was second runner-up and Molly Fagundes of Merced County was third runner-up.
In a separate competition, Brandon Souza, a senior at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, won the Collegiate Discussion Meet, earning a $500 cash award. Jackie Mundt of California State University, Fresno, was first runner-up in the collegiate competition; Tom Bottoms of Cal Poly was second runner-up and Joel Saldana Jr. of Fresno State was third runner-up. A team from Fresno State won the collegiate team competition.
The California Farm Bureau Federation, the state's largest farm organization, works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 92,000 members. The Young Farmers and Ranchers program encourages members aged 18 to 35 to be active leaders in agriculture.
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