Wednesday, March 17, 2010

YF&R Conference Part III

Enter & Win It!!!!

Please accept my deepest heartfelt apologizes for the untimely posting of this blog. I realize that over a month has passed since I updated and finished my recap. However I promised that I would do this so here we go!!!!

The main session of the conference on Saturday was the Enter & Win It!!!! Session. In this session multiple people spoke on how to enter the three YF&R Achievement Award areas and WIN them. I loved this session. It gave great insight on the award areas and we heard from people who had successfully completed each area.

We will begin with the Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement Award. This award is designed for those individuals who receive most of their income from traditional production agriculture. The coolest thing about this award is if you win on the state level you win a TRUCK, plus a trip to represent SC at the American Farm Bureau Convention!! Kevin Satterwhite and Bo Norris spoke on the process. The first step is filling out the paperwork. The application can be tedious however if you work on it throughout your application year and conquer one section at a time then you will be more confident in your answers. Also make sure everything on your application is true. Remember the judges are looking for what you have done and your future plans. Once you have submitted your application it will be reviewed by a panel of judges and three finalists will be selected. If you are one of the three finalists then a photographer and judges will come out to visit your farm. This will be your opportunity for the pavement (application) to meet the road (your operation). Both Kevin and Bo suggest that you not get caught up in the fact that someone is coming to visit. Do clean up around the place but you don’t have to drop a ton of money on new landscaping and such. It is also key for everyone interested in applying to know that neither of these guys won on their first try. If make take you a few years to win but each time you gain some more knowledge about the process. Bo stated that he had been trying to win for a while and that each year he gained more knowledge however he didn’t give up. You might need to take a break and reevaluate your application but you don’t give up.

Next Carrie and Brian Dalton spoke on the Excellence in Agriculture Award. Carrie and Brian won the state competition a few years back and went on to win the national competition. This award is designed for participants who do not earn the majority of their income from an owned agricultural operation. Contestants will be judged on their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability, involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations (i.e., civic, service and community).

The top three state winners will be selected from the written applications as state finalists. The finalists will then be required to present an oral presentation during the SCFB Annual Meeting in Myrtle Beach during December. The application and presentation scores of the three finalists will be combined and the highest total score will determine the state winner. Carrie gave us a humorous insight to how they won the EA award. Her suggestions include keeping copies of the application in various locations and jotting information down as it occurs to you. She also encouraged us to sit down as a family and go over the application and goals with one another. Brian prepared all the spouses in the room that doing such can become an addiction and soon you might be tired of the process but he promised the rewards are worth the hard work. Carrie suggested not applying until you felt you had a top notch application.

We ended the session with the discussion meet competition. I spoke on this event. I have a few suggestions that I feel are at the heart of winning this competition…

1) Get a copy of the questions well in advance
2) Read articles, blogs, and websites for news
3) Discuss the questions with trusted and knowledgeable family and friends
4) Prepare your opening and closing statements prior to the competition
       a. These should be PERFECT
5) Read over and understand the scoring rubric
       a. Know where the majority of the points are given
6) Remember this is a DISCUSSION NOT A DEBATE!!!
7) Tell your story…this is your industry and you have a different idea from the next so make sure that you are expressing yourself and all will flow

Overall the theme was to keep trying even if you don’t win the first time out. I personally competed in discussion meet contest 5 times prior to winning. If you have any questions please feel free to contact any of the above mentioned individuals. We are all happy to help you out. I hope to see every area jam packed full of contestants and GOOD LUCK!!