Four finalists have been named in Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s (OFBF) 2014 Discussion Meet. They are Elaine Beekman of Wellington, Christen Clemson of Cortland, Elizabeth Mead of Mechanicsburg and Victoria Shaw of Litchfield.
The annual contest tests participants’ subject knowledge, problem solving abilities and personal and small group communications skills. These young agricultural professionals will compete in the finals at the Young Agricultural Professionals’ Summer Reach Out Conference June 28 at Mohican State Park.
The finalists were named after preliminary competition at the annual Young Agricultural Professionals Winter Conference in Columbus. The topics discussed were “How should Farm Bureau engage diverse members and help them work together to better promote a more positive image of agriculture?” and “What are the best practices for youth working on farms and ranches to ensure their safety and provide them learning opportunities in the area of agriculture production?”
“I am very excited with the performance of the Discussion Meet finalists. Their collective talent is impressive and I look forward to watching them again at the final round in June,” said OFBF Young Agricultural Professionals Coordinator Melinda Witten.
The finalists will compete for a $1,000 cash award from Nationwide Insurance and an expense-paid trip to American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting in San Diego Jan. 11-14, 2015.
Beekman is a lifelong Lorain County Farm Bureau member, having served as membership coordinator and on several committees. She is a sciences teacher at Ashland County – West Holmes Career Center, is a 4-H and FFA volunteer and serves on the Ohio FFA Alumni Council. She and her husband raise hay and straw, and dairy and meat goats.
A third generation member of Trumbull County Farm Bureau, Clemson is a doctoral student in educational leadership at Penn State University, where she also earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Her family farms row crops and she is a 4-H leader in the county. Clemson was an NCAA All-American track and field athlete in 2007 at Penn State. She is currently a Trumbull County Farm Bureau board member and has been very active in Young Ag Professionals activities.
Mead is Madison County Farm Bureau member where she serves as the communications action team leader. She also is a graduate of Ohio Farm Bureau’s AgriPOWER program Class V. Mead is an agriculture and community loan officer with Merchants National Bank. She and her family grow row crops and raise freezer beef.
Shaw is a Medina County Farm Bureau member where she has participated in Young Agricultural Professionals activities. She is a marketing and program associate for Leadership at Lorain County. Her family’s farming activities include raising steers and hogs and growing corn and soybeans. She is also very involved in community activities including Day of Caring in Lorain and Habitat for Humanity.
The Discussion Meet is hosted by OFBF’s Young Agricultural Professionals – singles and married couples ages 18 to 35 who are interested in improving the business of agriculture, learning new ideas and developing leadership skills. To learn more or to get involved, visit ofbf.org.