Illinois advances to Sweet 16 in AFBF Discussion Meet


Alex Mahrenholz of Lawrence County has advanced to the Sweet 16 Round in the Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet.

She will compete against other Young Leaders from Kansas, Kentucky and Georgia Tuesday afternoon. The topic: big data.

The discussion meet, part of the 2021 American Farm Bureau Federation Convention, is taking place virtually.

During the second round held Monday, competitors discussed what tools and production practices can farmers use to reduce climate and weather risks.

“Sustainability is a hot topic in nearly every industry today, but none currently more vital than agriculture,” said Mahrenholz. “Precision ag and the educational efforts taken by Farm Bureau and its’ partners are already helping farmers produce more efficiently with less of a carbon footprint than they ever have before. Expanding these efforts will inspire more farmers to further equate climate positivity with ongoing productivity and profitability.”

During the first round held Sunday, competitors discussed international trade, specifically ideas about how the U.S. can enhance existing while establishing new and diverse foreign trade partners.

“American agriculture is two and a half times more reliant on trade than the overall economy,” explained Mahrenholz. “Exporting American goods and services creates jobs at home, expands consumer choices and increases American competitiveness. As a grassroots organization, Farm Bureau members have built a culture of collaboration in nearly every state in the union and across the globe. Using our unified voice, we need to expand that foundation to work with our partners so that we’re able to deliver more food into the hands of people that need it.”

Mahrenholz grew up working on her family’s grain farm in southeastern Illinois. She just recently started a new job as a Purdue University extension educator in Pike County, Indiana.

“I’ve been involved in Farm Bureau for just about 10 years now,” Mahrenholz said. “I got started in our Young Leaders committee on a county level and have had so many great opportunities. Being able to participate in the conventions and events and going to Washington has been a wonderful experience. I’m just really happy to be here at another Farm Bureau Convention and to get to see everyone and hear all the different ideas that all of the young minds in agriculture have to offer.”

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