Braden Crosson, an intern in the Modesto Junior College School of Agriculture’s crop unit, has won the 2021-22 California Young Farmers and Ranchers Collegiate Discussion Meet.
Crosson, of Galt, emerged as the winner of the competition finals, held in Bakersfield on Nov. 13. The event featured a policy discussion on the long-term viability of livestock processing following the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his winning presentation, Crosson addressed how California Farm Bureau efforts can lead to easing government regulations to enable long-term economic viability for local animal processing facilities, while also protecting workers and ensuring that healthy products are delivered to consumers.
As the winner of the contest, Crosson receives $1,250 and will now represent California in the national competition held in February 2022 during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.
The competition, part of the Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program, simulates a committee meeting, in which each committee member is expected to actively participate in a policy discussion. The idea is for participants to improve their discussion skills while learning about important agricultural issues. Ultimately, they learn to work in groups to pool knowledge, reach consensus and solve problems.
“You are working right alongside your competitors,” Crosson said. “And it creates an interesting dynamic, where you’re not only trying to get across your own points but you’re also trying to understand your competitors’ points and then come together and bring about a possible solution and how you can implement it in your local county Farm Bureau.”
The Collegiate Discussion Meet featured participants from two colleges in at least three rounds of discussions. The top four contestants competed in the final round, moderated by Regina Pozzi, the California Young Farmers and Ranchers State Committee Representative from District 17.
California State University, Fresno student Lindsey Swall, of Tulare County, was awarded $750 as the first runner-up in the competition and two classmates, Brenden Black of Clovis and Corie Falaschi of Dos Palos, each earned $500 as finalists. Fresno State won the collegiate team award, earning another $250 prize.