Iowa’s Megan Hansen, who last week reached the final four of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) discussion meet, said the intense competition against competitors from all over the country has helped make her a better communicator for agriculture.

"In the discussion meet, its important to be able to start and carry on a conversation," said Hansen, a Polk County Farm Bureau member. "That’s a situation that we often face as farmers, and it’s a good way for us to build our communication skills when we are at a committee meeting, talking to legislators or just dealing with the general public."

By placing in the final four of the 2015 AFBF discussion meet, Hansen earned a Case IH tractor valued at $17,000 and $3,000 in cash and gift certificates from Stihl. 

Sean Arians of Illinois won the contest and took home a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado or a 2015 GMC Sierra courtesy of GM.

Hansen urged all young farmers to enter the discussion meet at the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers Conference, which will be held Jan. 30 and 31 in Des Moines.

"I think that everyone should try the discussion meet because, along with our role of producing food and fuel, we need to be able tell our story," Hansen said. "This is a really great way to learn to have a conversation with consumers and others who have questions."

Hansen, who lives in Granger, also admits she had a little extra incentive to enter and work hard to win the Farm Bureau discussion meet at both the state and national levels. Her husband, Dan, represented Iowa in the 2014 AFBF discussion meet and placed in the Sweet 16.

"We joked a lot about it, and I wanted to see if I could get a little further than he did," Hansen said. "We had a little husband/wife rivalry going in this."