Jessica Tekippe of Winneshiek County has been selected as the winner of Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) Young Farmer Discussion Meet, held Dec. 3, during IFBF’s Annual Meeting in Des Moines and will go on to represent Iowa in the Young Farmer and Rancher National Discussion Meet during the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Annual Convention in Austin, Texas in January 2020.
In second place was Melissa Moretz of Worth County; third, Dani Rehder of O’Brien County; and fourth, Krista Frazee of Montgomery County.
The Young Farmer Discussion Meet is a unique competition in which participants are scored based on their ability to engage in a “cooperative” discussion on challenges affecting agriculture. Throughout their 30-minute discussion, the young farmers are awarded points based on their ability to identify the problem, seek solutions and listen to each other’s viewpoints—skills that are pertinent to gaining consumer trust in today’s world. This year’s questions involved issues like addressing mental health in rural areas, solutions toward ag labor shortages and how to integrate new technologies like cell-based proteins into the food system without harming the livelihood of livestock farmers.
Eight contestants secured their spot to participate in the semi-final rounds by competing at the IFBF Young Farmer Conference held this January. Throughout the year, these young farmers worked with various IFBF staff members to gather background information on discussion topics and receive coaching in preparation for the state competition during the annual meeting.
As the top finalist of the Iowa competition, Tekippe received a one-year/100-hour lease on a Cat Skid Steer Load and expenses paid to the 2020 AFBF Annual Convention, the 2020 GROWMARK Annual Meeting and the 2020 IFBF Young Farmer Conference. Moretz received a $500 value Choice Hotels certificate, $500 Cat gift certificate and a $500 gift card to FAST STOP or their local FS Cooperative from GROWMARK. Rehder received a $500 Cat gift certificate, a YETI cooler from Farm Bureau Financial Services and six park passes with a cabana rental at Adventureland. Frazee received a $250 gift card to FAST STOP or their local FS Cooperative from GROWMARK, six park passes with a cabana rental at Adventureland and $100 from the IFBF Young Farmer Program.