Laura Holmgren of Box Elder County won the 2023 Utah Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet. The competition was concluded at the recent Utah Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Provo and is considered a top honor for young farmers and ranchers in Utah. 

The Discussion Meet contest is designed to simulate a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected from each participant. More than a simple debate, this competition is evaluated on an exchange of ideas and information on a pre-determined agriculture topic. The judges look for the contestant that offers constructive criticism, cooperation, and communication while analyzing agricultural problems and developing solutions.

Laura Holmgren (left) competes in the Final Four of the Discussion meet at the Utah Farm Bureau Federation Convention.

Participants build basic discussion skills, develop an understanding of important agricultural issues and explore how groups can pool knowledge to reach consensus and solve problems. Successful participants are productive thinkers, rather than emotional persuaders, and assist the group in creating ways to implement the solutions discussed and highlight Farm Bureau’s involvement in those steps.

“I have been participating in the Discussion Meet since college and have had the privilege to help coordinate this contest for others several times. It’s been central to my Farm Bureau experience in that the topics are real problems we’re seeking to solve as farmers and ranchers,” Holmgren said. “I’m so excited be representing Utah but I’m even more excited to be a part of finding solutions to preserve agriculture in Utah.”

The competitors spoke on topics ranging from agricultural financing for young farmers and water use, to climate policies and working with elected officials.

Laura and her husband Riggin are raising their two daughters on their family farm in Northern Utah, near Bear River City. Laura moved from her childhood home in Southern Utah to attend Utah State University and get her Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Sciences. She now works for her alma mater through USU Extension in Box Elder County as a program assistant.

From Left to Right: Jared Buhler (Utah Farm Bureau Board of Directors & IFA Store Manager), Matt Swan President & CEO of Intermountain Farmers Co-Op (IFA), Laura Holmgren (Discussion Meet Winner), Riggin Holmgren, and Valjay Rigby (Utah Farm Bureau President).

The Holmgren family came to Utah from Sweden in the 1800s and the family has never left the Bear River Valley. For generations, the farm’s central point has been cattle and feed crops for the cattle. The Holmgrens are proud to be a part of introducing diversity through raising onions, cover crops, and implementing new and effective irrigation systems. They also served for six years on the State Young Farmer & Rancher Committee, including two years as chairs. 

Laura competed with more than 15 other contestants from around the state in the competition. For winning the competition, he received an ATV courtesy of Intermountain Farmers Association (IFA) and Karl Malone Plaza Cycle, an expense-paid trip to the American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmer & Rancher conference in Omaha, Nebraska.

Laura will compete at the American Farm Bureau Discussion Meet against Discussion Meet winners from across the nation during its annual convention in Salt Lake City this January. National winners of the Discussion Meet receive $35,000 credit towards a new Ford vehicle in addition to the national young farmer conference. The runner-up receives $25,000 credit towards a new Case IH piece of equipment, courtesy of Case IH. Others receive prizes courtesy of Stanley Black & Decker.

About the Utah Farm Bureau

The Utah Farm Bureau is the largest general farm and ranch organization in the state with more than 35,000 member families. Its mission is to inspire all Utah families to connect, succeed and grow through the miracle of agriculture. It strives to bring value to every citizen and community through love of God, family, country, and the land through political action, educational and informational means. For more information, visit or connect on social media on Facebook, Instagram, X (Twitter) and on YouTube.