Stanislaus County farmer wins statewide speaking competition
» December 9, 2008 «
Effective discussion of ways to help farm groups develop new, young leaders led to victory for a Stanislaus County farmer in the annual Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion meet. The competition occurred during the California Farm Bureau Federation's 90th Annual Meeting in Burlingame this week.
Stanislaus County farmer Jake Wenger won the annual Young Farmers & Ranchers' Discussion Meet. Download JPG (3.7 MB)
Jake Wenger of Modesto emerged as the winner after four rounds of competition. In the final round, he came out on top while addressing the question of how Farm Bureau can involve new leaders developed through its young-farmer program. Wenger spoke of starting early, with students involved in 4-H and FFA youth programs, and taking their interest in agriculture to the next level.
"We have all of this involvement in 4-H and FFA, even from non-ag circles," Wenger said. "What happens to those people? A majority of them don't go into agriculture. Those people could be some of our strongest supporters of agriculture."
Wenger works on a fourth-generation family farm that grows walnuts and almonds, along with his two brothers and his father, CFBF First Vice President Paul Wenger.
As the winner, Wenger earned a Dodge pickup valued at $30,000, plus $4,000 in cash prizes from sponsors at Dodge, Bank of America, California Farm Credit Associations, the Nationwide family of companies and State Compensation Insurance Fund. He will represent CFBF in the national Discussion Meet competition at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in San Antonio next month.
Meghan Dresselhaus of San Bernardino County was named first runner-up in the competition; Tyler Blagg of Sacramento County and Bradley Pinnell of Amador County were also finalists.
CSU Fresno student Jackie Mundt won the Collegiate Discussion Meet at the CFBF Annual Meeting in Burlingame. Download JPG (1 MB)
In the separate Collegiate Discussion Meet, a student from California State University, Fresno, won the competition while discussing how the nation's aging infrastructure should be improved to accommodate transportation of farm goods. The winner, Jackie Mundt, studies agricultural communications at CSU Fresno and earns a $500 prize from the California Farm Bureau.
First runner up was Fresno State student Joel Saldana Jr. of Firebaugh; second runner-up was Daniel Bays of Patterson, a student at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo; third runner up was Cal Poly student Mark Diener of Five Points.
CSU Fresno won the team competition.
The California Farm Bureau Federation, the state's largest farm organization, works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of 91,000 members.
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