Murray State University Student Wins KFB's Collegiate Farm Bureau Discussion MeetPosted on Feb 21, 2023
Jessie Lewis, an agronomy major at Murray State University, took top honors at the first-ever statewide Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) Collegiate Farm Bureau (CFB) Discussion Meet held at the state office in December.
KFB has a long history of providing leadership opportunities to students throughout Kentucky in a variety of ways, including an ever-expanding CFB program, which provides college students with many leadership development opportunities, preparing them for future roles in Farm Bureau, as well as with other agricultural organizations, their communities, and the state.
But beyond that, the program keeps young people involved in this organization and the agriculture industry as they explore and discuss issues, according to KFB President Mark Haney.
“These students are the future of agriculture, of KFB, and the communities in which they live,” he said. “Anything we can do to help them in their efforts to become knowledgeable advocates, and strong leaders helps pave the way for a bright future for our farm families, for ag-advocacy, and the Commonwealth, as a whole."
CFB also helps to expose students to Farm Bureau’s structure, philosophy, and public policy process.
“I love that I'm getting this experience with the Discussion Meet and it's broadening my understanding and my interest in the agriculture industry,” Lewis said. “I also think it's going to strengthen me as a college student going forward into the agriculture industry and just having that knowledge of all the new topics and new things that are going on. I'm really glad for this opportunity.”
Learning from this opportunity
In addition to Lewis, students from the University of Kentucky (UK), Eastern Kentucky University (EKU), and Morehead State University (MSU), also participated in the event, each emphasizing how important opportunities like the ones provided with CFB are for them now and into the future.
Amber Dotson, an Agricultural and Medical Biotechnology major and founding CFB member at UK, said the program has given a “home” to many students looking for an ag-related experience to be a part of.
“I was looking for a place that felt like home, had similar values to what I had, and was going to push me to be better as a person, and I think that that's a lot of what KFB members embody,” she said. “CFB has also provided a nice tie to get students who maybe chose to go a different route, not studying agriculture, to stay involved with some of the roots, and see some of the people that they've seen throughout their life from other Farm Bureau involvement. It's just been great to fellowship with like-minded people.”
LeeAnn Jones, a pre-vet major at MSU and president of the school’s CFB program, said being a part of this first statewide competition was an amazing opportunity.
“I always loved being a part of 4-H and FFA, and when I got into college, I looked for an ag program I could be a big part of,” she said. “CFB caught my attention immediately and I definitely wanted to be involved in it. I think this competition and CFB, in general, has helped to open me up tremendously to be able to speak to others and to communicate."
Cody Dawson is pursuing a bachelor's degree in farm management at EKU and has an associate of applied science degree in Technical Agriculture and Livestock Management, as well. He said he enjoyed the Discussion Meet and would like to participate again.
“This is something I'd like to come back to next year,” he said. “I grew up on a farm and it's something you’ve got to have a passion for and love to do, so I speak from the heart when participating. My professors have been a big help and put my name out there for this competition and I appreciate the opportunity.”
Lewis will now represent Kentucky when participating at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Fusion Conference where state CFB winners will compete at the national level.
The conference will be held March 3-6, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla.