Discussion Meet Rules


The Discussion Meet is sponsored by the IFB Young Leader Committee.

It is an exchange of ideas and information, about a particular topic, in which contestants must analyze problems and determine logical solutions. 

The contest involves a moderator who introduces the topic and contestants, start the discussion and keep discussion on subject, a timekeeper to insure this discussion is kept within the prescribed time limits and contestants who exchange ideas and information in an effort to solve the problem.

Steps of the Discussion Meet:

        1.     Statement of topic by moderator
        2.     Each participant, in voluntary order, stands and makes a 30-second maximum opening statement
        3.     Open discussion period (20-25 minutes, exact time to be announced at start of meet)

  • Discuss various aspects of the problem
  • Discuss possible solutions
  • Evaluate alternative solutions
  • Project implementation of solutions

    4.     Participants are allowed 1 minute to prepare their closing statement
    5.     Participants, in voluntary order, stand and make a 1-minute maximum closing statement


The purpose is to provide young Farm Bureau members involved with production agriculture the opportunity to develop their skills in basic discussion techniques.  Other objectives are:

  • To improve the ability of the contestants to analyze problems and determine logical solutions.
  • To allow contestants to gain an appreciation of the value of thinking and working in groups.
  • To provide a current topic which stimulates motivation for continued involvement in Farm Bureau.
  • To stimulate logical thinking and a desire to seek accurate information.
  • To help in learning to criticize constructively and accept the same in the right spirit.


  1. Illinois Farm Bureau "MM," “MS,” “PM,” “PS” or “A” member in good standing, or spouse, on or before 7-days prior to the day of the contest, in the IAA Membership System.
  2. Dependent member
    1. Who is not married and is between the age of 18 and 22 years and is a son or daughter of an Illinois Farm Bureau "MM," “MS,” “PM,” “PS” or “A” member, in good standing, on or before 7-days prior to the day of the contest, in the IAA Membership System.
  3. A participant may not have reached his/her 36th birthday on or before January 31, 2019
  4. Current members of the IFB Young Leader Committee are not eligible to participate (spouses are eligible).
  5. Any contestant who has received a fee or honorarium for public speaking is ineligible to compete.
  6. Contestants must be actively involved in agriculture to be eligible.
  7. Past state winners are not eligible to compete.
  8. Employees of the Illinois Farm Bureau and their affiliates are not eligible to compete.
  9. Qualified young leaders may compete in the Discussion Meet, Achievement Award or Excellence in Ag Award in the same year; however, they may only be named the state winner in one of the contests.


District Winners


$100 GROWMARK Gift Card – Courtesy of GROWMARK, Inc.

Expense paid trip to 2017 IFB Annual Meeting, Dec. 1=4,

    Chicago Palmer House

State Winners


Winners of contest prizes are responsible for any and all applicable taxes.


  • Participants must be registered through their County Farm Bureau on iMis 7 days prior to their district competition.
  • Participants, moderators, judges and timekeepers should be at the meeting place 30 minutes ahead of the meeting time.
  • A round robin format will be used unless the number of entries warrants a preliminary and final round format.
  • No more than six participants shall comprise any discussion group.
  • Contestants will be randomly divided with no reference to county. Any participant may advance to the district and state finals. Each county may have as many participants as they desire in the district contest. Winners will then be selected from each of the district contests, and shall be chosen based on the total number of contestants from each IAA District participating as follows:  1-3 contestants = 1 state contestant; 4-6 contestants = 2 state contestants; 7-9 contestants = 3 state contestants; 10-12 contestants = 4 state contestants; 13-15 contestants = 5 state contestants; 16-18 contestants = 6 state contestants and 19-21 contestants = 7 state contestants.  One alternate can be named from each district per contest.
  • If a vacancy occurs due to a cancellation of a district winner, the alternate from that district will be given the option to fill the vacancy, if not already competing, and if prior to the deadline


  • The State Discussion Meet will be held at the IFB Annual Meeting, December 2-5, Chicago.
  • The State Discussion Meet will begin with a Round Robin format, followed by a Sweet Sixteen round  concluding with a final round of four (4). Based solely on the Sweet Sixteen round, the winner of each room will advance to the Final 4.
  • The winner of the Discussion Meet will be announced and recognized at the Young Leader Awards Program at IFB Annual Meeting.


The physical arrangements of the Discussion Meet rooms should provide for two tables at the front of the room facing each other and the audience. Half of the participants should be seated at each table with the moderator on the side. Name cards will identify contestants and should be easily visible. Seating assignments will be on a first come, first served basis.


At the district, state and national meets, all contestants are required to come to the contest panel without previously prepared notes. Pencils and note pads are provided for note taking during the discussion. In the state and national meets, a microphone for each finalist will be available where physically possible. 

            A.    Contestants

                    1.     Acquaint yourself with the topics and study as much material as possible relating to the overall topic.
                    2.     Learn about the procedure of the Discussion Meet.
                    3.     At the time of the contest, be early for orientation.
                            a.     Listen carefully to the moderator as he/she instructs contestants and clarifies questions.
                            b.     Listen carefully to other contestants as they make their opening statement.
                            c.     Stand and keep within the time limit on your opening statement.
                            d.     There may be a difference of ideas, but there should not be a conflict of personalities.
                            e.     Be prepared to ask questions, state facts and opinions, and urge others to be specific.
                            f.      Speak loud enough to be heard by the whole audience.
                            g.     Participate when your contribution furthers the discussion. Do not monopolize the discussion.
                            h.     Be enthusiastic and, in general, use logic rather than emotion.
                             i.     Make notes of key points, as the discussion proceeds, for use in summary statement.
                             j.     Stand and make your closing statement to the audience--stay within the time limit.

            B.     Moderators

                    1.     Review "Purpose of Discussion Meet," topics and role of moderator
                    2.     Meet with contestants to explain your role and that you will proceed as follows:
                            a.     Announce topic.
                            b.     Introduce contestants from left to right by name.
                            c.     Briefly review the format and fundamentals of the Discussion Meet. 
                            d.     Explain that contestants are to direct remarks to each other.
                            e.     Will interrupt only if contestants have strayed off topic or if a summary is necessary to progress.
                             f.     Signal will be given when 5 minutes of discussion time remains prior to closing statements.
                            g.     Time will be called.
                            h.     Contestants have a minute to plan their closing statements.
                             i.     Closing statements will be given standing and in voluntary order.
                    3.     A summary or question may be necessary if contestants get off track or run out of material.

            C.     Judges

                    1.     Review "What is the Discussion Meet?", "Purpose of Discussion Meet," topics, and rating sheet.
                    2.     During the meet, judges should:
                            a.     Sit in different areas of contest room.
                            b.     List contestants from left to right for easy identification.
                            c.     Score contestants in areas indicated on the work sheet provided.
                    3.     Judges should not judge by applause or confer with each other.
                    4.     After the discussion is completed, judges should:
                            a.     Move to another room to complete their scoring
                            b.     Rank the contestants as they feel the contestant fulfilled the objectives (Section II)


Participants’ Names
(Left of Center)




Participant’s Names
(Right of Center)


















(1) Problem

          Solving &














(2) Analysis of

        Topic or














(3) Cooperative














(4) Delivery














(5) Opening














(6) Closing


















General Comments









Level of Competition: (Check One)







¨  Round Robin A


¨  Round Robin 1


¨  Round Robin B


¨  Round Robin 2


¨  Preliminary


¨  Sweet Sixteen


¨  Final


¨  Final





Contestant’s Name:






Judges Code