Open Discussion Meet
Congratulations Diane Coderniz
After a final round of competition that focused on transferring operations to the next generation of farmers and ranchers, Diane Coderniz of Dos Palos was announced as the winner of the California Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers Open Discussion Meet. The event occurred at the 94th California Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Pasadena.
As the winner, Coderniz will represent CFBF in the national Discussion Meet competition at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting next month.
"I am very excited to be the Discussion Meet winner. This is one of the best programs that YF&R and Farm Bureau put on, allowing us to voice ideas and progress in the future," said Coderniz, a Merced County Farm Bureau member who works as an agricultural attorney.
CFBF President Paul Wenger presents Coderniz with her award plaque.
Designed to prepare young members for county Farm Bureau and committee meetings, the Discussion Meet encourages cooperation and communication while assessing agricultural issues.
Moderated by 2011 winner Megan Jacobsen of Fresno, the final round of the contest addressed the topic, "How should Farm Bureau help prepare its members—both young and old—for transferring operations to the next generation of farmers and ranchers?"
Coderniz opened by encouraging farmers and their families to take control of their future and added that Farm Bureau's role should be "leadership and education."
"We need to be proactive about succession planning on the farm. With the Bush-era tax cuts likely ending soon, a 55 percent tax rate could be on the horizon," Coderniz said. "We need to look to other options like closely held corporations and LLCs."
Finalist Beth Sequeira of Hanford, who was named first runner-up, handles sales and marketing of pistachios at Keenan Farms in Avenal. Sequeira spoke of the difficulty the younger generation has in talking to older generations about transferring the farming operation. She said the county Farm Bureau could be used as a resource to start the initial conversation.
The other finalists were Nicolina Alves of Wildomar, who sells produce at farmers markets, and Mary Junqueiro of Manteca, director of programs for the Western Plant Health Association.
As the Open Discussion Meet winner, Coderniz earned a 2013 Polaris Sportsman 400 courtesy of Polaris Industries and $4,000 courtesy of CFBF sponsors: California Association of Pest Control Advisers, State Compensation Insurance Fund, Dick and Cathie Bradley, Farm Credit West, CoBank and American AgCredit. As first runner-up, Sequeira received $1,000. The other two finalists each earned $500.
Collegiate Discussion Meet
Congratulations Natalie Oelsner
Past YF&R Chair Frost Pauli presents Oelsner with her award plaque.
Natalie Oelsner of Galt, an agricultural education major at California State University, Chico, won the 2012 California Farm Bureau Collegiate Discussion Meet.
Moderated by 2009 winner Olivia Wenger of Paso Robles, the Collegiate Discussion Meet focused on the topic, "How can Farm Bureau play a role to ensure the viability of quality agricultural education programs within our schools?"
While discussing the topic, Oelsner suggested the concept of a junior Farm Bureau membership for younger students—even those in urban areas—engaged in learning about agriculture.
"I think we can make a great connection as collegiate members in order to branch out into these local school boards and we can actually provide some membership to these younger people in these communities," Oelsner said. "As Farm Bureau collegiate members, we're sitting here today at the Farm Bureau Discussion Meet. What if there were students younger than us having these same discussions?"
Oelsner earned a $500 cash award and will participate in the national competition in Phoenix next February.
First runner-up was Jacob Vasquez of Cottonwood, who attends Butte College. He received $300. The other finalists were Jake Carlson of Elk Grove, who attends CSU Fresno, and Regan Steele of Galt, who attends Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. They each earned $100.
CSU Chico won the collegiate team competition.
Students from CSU Chico with their Professor (right) Mollie Aschenbrener at CFBF Annual Meeting.