CHICAGO – Megan Dwyer of Henry County was named the Young Leader discussion meet winner at the Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) Annual Meeting held in Chicago, Dec. 1-4.
In addition to receiving a trophy, Dwyer will receive her choice of a John Deere riding lawn mower, courtesy of COUNTRY® Financial and Illinois Farm Bureau; $2,500 cash, courtesy of Illinois Farm Bureau and COUNTRY Financial; and expenses-paid trips to the 2019 GROWMARK Annual Meeting, courtesy of GROWMARK, Inc., 2019 American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention, 2019 Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader Conference, and the 2019 American Farm Bureau Federation conference for Young Farmers and Ranchers.
Dwyer, who has been actively involved in the Henry County Young Leader program since 2011, encouraged young farmers, ranchers and agricultural professionals across the state to get involved in the Young Leader program.
“There are so many leadership opportunities and experiences I’ve received through the Young Leader program that I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else,” Dwyer said. “The networking opportunities are incredible. You don’t know the world it can open in experience and networking alone. And, you never know when those connections are going to be useful again.”
Dwyer said she was pleased with both the opportunity to gather information from her fellow competitors this year, as well as the level of competition.
“We had some really heavy hitters this year,” Dwyer said. “The competition was really strong and the competitors really came prepared. We had good conversation with relevant points and it made for a great contest.”
The IFB discussion meet judges contestants’ ability to manage a small group discussion. Each contestant gives an opening statement. Participants exchange facts and insights on a pre-determined topic. Judges award points based on how well participants work with one another, how well they express themselves, and on their knowledge of the topic.
Topics for the 2018 discussion meet included a discussion on how Farm Bureau can best protect farmers’ and ranchers’ access to production technology options; how Farm Bureau can be more inclusive of all agriculture and production practices; how the agriculture industry can attract the best and highest minds from Science, Technology, Engineering and Math into agricultural careers; how farmers can implement market trends and develop responsive business plans to generate value-added ventures and farm profits; and how Farm Bureau can create membership value and broaden the base of supporters in the organization.
Twenty-seven district winners vied for the title of state winner during the IFB annual meeting.
Dwyer said she’s looking forward to representing Illinois in the national Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet at the AFBF annual meeting in January.
“I’m excited to reach out to other contacts in the Illinois Farm Bureau family as I prepare for the national contest,” Dwyer said. “I’m ready to start preparing again, finding out if there are things that I’ve missed or other topics relevant to the overall discussion. And, I’m ready to showcase Illinois and show other competitors what sets it apart from the rest of the country.”
IFB promotes and sponsors the discussion meet with the goals of developing young peoples’ leadership and communication skills on behalf of agriculture and of working together and reaching consensus on how to deal with current issues in agriculture.
The Illinois Farm Bureau is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, a national organization of farmers and ranchers. Founded in 1916, IFB is a non-profit, membership organization directed by farmers who join through their county Farm Bureau. IFB has a total membership of more than 394,742 and a voting membership of 78,999. IFB represents three out of four Illinois farmers.
Contact: Rachel Torbert, Media Relations Manager
Copyright 2018 Illinois Agricultural Association