SANDY, Utah. December 7, 2018 – Erin Sorenson of Millard County won the 2018 Utah Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet. The competition was concluded at the recent Utah Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Layton 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.

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.

The competitors spoke on topics ranging from how to implement market trends and develop responsive business plans, to how to protect farmers’ and ranchers’ access to production technology options on the farm.

“This was a thrill to win this competition,” Sorenson said. “My husband and I feel fortunate to live in this great part of our state and to interact with many great farmers and ranchers. I love advocating for our industry in the variety of interactions I have with people in our community and beyond through social media.”

Erin and her husband, Whitt, make their home in Delta, where they are growing their own sheep herd. Erin also works as a physical therapy assistant in town, and Whitt works in the agronomy division at IFA. Previously, Erin served as a State FFA Officer in 2005-06 and studied at both Snow College and Provo College. Erin is active in her community and is an ambassador for agriculture by serving on the Utah Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Committee.

Sorenson competed with more than 16 other contestants from around the state in the competition. For winning the competition, she received a 2018 Polaris ATV courtesy of IFA, and an expense-paid trip to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) annual meeting in New Orleans.

Erin will compete at the American Farm Bureau Discussion Meet against Discussion Meet winners from across the country. In 2019, the national winner of the Discussion Meet will receive a new Ford truck, courtesy of the Ford Motor Company. The runner-up will receive a Case IH Farmall 50A tractor, and third place finalists will receive a Case IH 40” Combination Roll Cabinet & Top Chest and a $500 parts card, as well as $2,000 of Stanley Black & Decker merchandise.