Justine Stevenson of Knoxville placed first in the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) Young Farmer Discussion Meet held Dec. 5 during IFBF’s 99th annual meeting in Des Moines.  As winner of the event, Stevenson will represent Iowa at the Young Farmer and Rancher (YF&R) National Discussion Meet during the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Annual Convention in Nashville, held January 5-10. 

For her victory in the competition, Stevenson received a John Deere X380 riding lawn mower, a 90-day no-payment and no-interest (NPNI) John Deere Financial Certificate up to $5,000, and an expense-paid trip to the 2018 GROWMARK annual meeting in Chicago in August.

The young farmer discussion meet encourages dialogue about issues and challenges that affect agriculture.  It tests young farmers’ knowledge of ag-related issues and their ability to express their opinions and vision for critical agriculture issues today.  Such skills are vital in an age when consumers are increasingly engaged in food safety and environmental issues, and the need to tell agriculture’s story is crucial. 

The Young Farmer Discussion Meet is a year-long competition with the opening rounds held during the IFBF Young Farmer Conference in February, and the top eight contestants compete during the IFBF Annual Meeting.  The four finalists competed in one final round, and the winner was recognized during the Young Farmer Award Ceremony.  Contestants are judged on cooperative attitude and problem solving, as well as implementation, delivery, analysis of the topic, and the quality of their opening and closing statements.