Purdue College of Ag sophomore Grace Hasler from Columbus, IN won the American Farm Bureau 2020 Young Farmer & Ranchers Collegiate Discussion Meet last week. She qualified for the event by winning the Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer Collegiate meet in 2019.
“Not for a second for me was it ever a contest. I was so excited to be able to talk to so many different people about these issues because there’s so many different outlooks and incredible solutions that we couldn’t find on our own.”
The contest is typically held in person, but due to COVID-19 the competition moved virtual where they discussed cell-based meats and farm labor among other issues. Hasler says she couldn’t believe how well it went online.
“I think we had one contestant who had internet issues at one point, but then we even stopped the conversation and said, ‘Okay guys, let’s wait on him to get his internet back,’ and I think that is a testament to ag and who ag kids are. They’re willing to go out of their way to maybe lose some time on something they want to say to make sure other people are included.”
This was Hasler’s first event that she’s participated in with Farm Bureau, but it is leading her to want to do more.
“Specifically, I’m thinking that I want to look into something policy related. This summer, actually, I’m going to be an intern in Washington, D.C. in the White House. So, I’m going to have a really firsthand look at everything that’s going on behind the scenes.”
Indiana Farm Bureau President Randy Kron told Hoosier Ag Today, “Discussion meets have been a part of the Farm Bureau family for a number of years, and I think it helps people learn how to be advocates, how to stand up and have a debate and a discussion.
“The discussion meets help develop our future young leaders on how to talk about issues…Grace did a phenomenal job. There’s no doubt we’re very, very proud of her in here in Indiana.”
Hasler won a $3,000 scholarship for her win. She is studying ag communications and ag economics at Purdue.