The final four round of the Indiana Farm Bureau Discussion Meet was a barn burner. IFB President Don Villwock said it was the tightest he’s ever seen. One judge told HAT there was a tussle to select one who had emerged from the group. But in the end they did select Alan Duttlinger of Tippecanoe County. He was a first time entry in the Young Farmer contest but so were two of the others. Duttlinger said that trio has something else in common.
“Those same rookies were also classmates of mine from Purdue. We were all three animal science majors although one was actually an animal science minor, but we’ll still claim him. We all graduated the same year, all classmates, and all very good friends, so it was really unique we all made it to the final four.”
He told HAT knowing each other that well “certainly added to the challenge. As I worked through the room there were some people I knew and didn’t know through the other rounds. But there were some advantages just knowing what their background is and know what a little bit of their experience would be. I think we helped feed off of each others’ experiences from that standpoint.”
Young Farmer competitors are 35 years or younger and typically very busy, involved professionals. What is it about the competition that makes them set aside the time to compete?
“It’s an opportunity to reconnect with people that we already know in our industry that we just don’t get an opportunity to see as much as we do get so busy. It’s these events that are the vehicle to bring everyone together and at the same time to meet new people. It’s always enjoyable to go through these events and learn so much along the way and really appreciate Farm Bureau’s efforts in putting these events together.”
Duttlinger has a master’s in animal nutrition from Kansas State and is a researcher at Indiana Packers in Delphi. He received a $4,000 cash prize from Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance and a paid ticket to the national contest at the American Farm Bureau Federation convention in January in San Antonio.
Saturday morning’s final round of Discussion Meet featured a 4-way discussion on “How should Farm Bureau engage farmer and rancher members, representing all types and kinds of operations (i.e., conventional, organic, large, small and niche markets) to work together to better promote a more positive image of agriculture?”
The other members of the final four are Katie Darr of Kosciusko County, C.J. Fleenor of Orange County, and Liz Stitzel of Clinton County. They each received a $1,000 cash prize from Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance.
Listen to the Duttlinger interview:Alan Duttlinger