Not many people can say they’ve won a tractor! The nine runners-up of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 2013 Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) competitive events recently were honored with a Case IH Farmall A tractor at the AFBF annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn. Events included the Discussion Meet, Excellence in Agriculture and Achievement Award. There are three runners-up in each competition. We’ll be introducing you to each of them in a series of posts, starting with the runner-up winners of the Discussion Meet.
Discussion Meet Runners-up
This contest helps develop communication skills necessary to reach a consensus and solve problems during meetings. Finalists discuss and express ideas based on a predetermined agriculture issue. Runners-up were honored with a Case IH Farmall® 55A tractor.
ALLISON HONEA – PENDLETON, SOUTH CAROLINA
Even though Allison Honea of Pendleton, S.C., works full time as a nurse practitioner, her involvement in Farm Bureau keeps her rooted firmly in agriculture. She was the first female youth ambassador for South Carolina Farm Bureau, served as a county chairwoman and attended the AFBF Woman’s Communication Bootcamp in 2011. She and her husband, Phillip, who own Holstein and Jersey cows and raise dairy steers for meat, serve on their YF&R state committee. They also are involved with the Pendleton FFA Alumni Association and show dairy cattle.
She values her connection to Farm Bureau because she’s gotten to meet people her own age who have similar interests. Plus, keeping up on current agriculture issues has helped her educate others. Case IH’s sponsorship of the Farmall 55A tractor speaks volumes to her because their support helps encourage younger people to stay involved and helps Farm Bureau continue to promote agriculture in a positive way. From feeding hay to mowing brush, she is happy to have a reliable tractor to count on for farm chores.
ANN LARSON – SHABBONA, ILLINOIS
Ann Larson, marketing associate at Animart, Inc., may have been one of the youngest competitors in the Discussion Meet, but she has been honing her public speaking skills for years. Raised on a grain farm in Shabbona, Ill., she was a 2008-2009 Illinois FFA State Officer. For the past two years, she’s presented social media workshops at the Illinois Farm Bureau Youth Conference to help FFA members better promote their chapters. While in college at the University of Wisconsin – Platteville, she was a member of Sigma Alpha and helped start the university’s collegiate Farm Bureau chapter.
She credits the Farm Bureau for providing her with great resources and a powerful network of people to contact as she prepared for the competition. She was drawn to the Discussion Meet while serving as a public affairs intern at the Illinois Cook County Farm Bureau. For now, she’s loaning her new tractor to her father and brother to use on their operation for day-to-day farm tasks, like moving seed corn pallets or mowing. In the future, she hopes to acquire a farmette to raise livestock where she knows the utility tractor will come in handy. She is thankful for the Case IH sponsorship because it elevates the competition and shows that Case IH sees the value in AFBF and supporting the voice of agriculture.
STACY VINCENT – LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY
As a professor of agriculture education at the University of Kentucky, Dr. Stacy Vincent of Lexington, Ky., helps prepare the next generation of agriculture teachers. After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri, he was lucky enough to be able to return to his home state of Kentucky and purchase a beef cattle and hay farm located next to his grandparents’ and parents’ farms. He was motivated to compete in the Discussion Meet because he knew winning a Case IH Scout™ Utility Vehicle, donated by Jacobi Sales in Elizabethtown, Ky., at the state level and a Case IH tractor at the national level would help change his family’s and his parents’ life by minimizing labor and increasing safety on their farms.
A lifelong Farm Bureau member, he has seen the stability and support the organization has provided him and others in communities across the nation. He says it’s amazing to be part of an organization that has similar values and a shared vision and that will help voice your concerns on a higher level. With the arrival of the new tractor, there will be a color change on the farm. He may upgrade the tractor to a higher-horsepower model, but knows the tractor will be a useful addition to the farm for putting up and feeding hay. He hopes that Case IH will continue its sponsorship because it’s invaluable to young family farmers who are in the process of transitioning the farm from parents to children.
We congratulate these successful, diligent and confident leaders who exhibited the skills necessary to be a strong voice for agriculture. We are proud to support their dedication to the industry.