Student from Paso Robles wins National Discussion Meet
» February 24, 2010 «
Effective discussion about influencing public perceptions of farmers and ranchers led to victory in a national contest for a student from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. Olivia Gonzales of Paso Robles won the national Collegiate Discussion Meet, which was held this week at the American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Conference in Tulsa, Okla.
Gonzales, an agricultural communications major due to graduate from Cal Poly this spring, competed against 37 other college students from across the nation. The Collegiate Discussion Meet simulates a committee meeting, and participants are evaluated on their ability to offer an exchange of ideas, information and constructive criticism on a pre-determined topic.
In the final round of the Discussion Meet, Gonzales and three other contestants discussed ways to encourage other young people to become involved in agriculture, and remain involved.
She said the discussion focused on "the digital tools we have available to us as young people. You need to be able to speak to young people in their language, and using things like Facebook, Twitter and other social media allows you to reach out to people in a way that's very accessible to them."
As winner of the contest, Gonzales earned a $2500 scholarship courtesy of the CHS Foundation. She qualified for the national competition by winning the California Collegiate Discussion Meet, held last December during the California Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Anaheim.
While finishing her degree at Cal Poly, Gonzales also finds time to chair the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee. Her father, Richard, currently serves as president of the county Farm Bureau. The family grows walnuts, raises cattle and operates a wine-tasting room.
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of 81,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.
Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.Top