HERSHEY, Pa. — Kaleb Long of Lancaster County has been named Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s winner of the 2017 Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet at PFB’s 67th Annual Meeting in Hershey.
Long has a small swine breeding operation and custom butchers some of the animals he raises. Long did not grow up on a farm and works full-time for Crop Production Services.
“I truly enjoyed working with other discussion meet contestants to address some of the top issues affecting agriculture,” said Kaleb Long. “It’s critical for young farmers to be looking ahead and planning for the future, otherwise we won’t take the actions necessary to be successful in the years ahead.”
The discussion meet contestants were put in situations where they had to analyze agricultural problems and decide on solutions that best meet their needs. The discussion meet is designed to help members build communications skills, develop an understanding of important agricultural issues and explore how groups can pool resources to reach a consensus and solve problems.
“The discussion meet provides an opportunity for our young farmers to formulate ideas that could help solve problems facing agriculture. It’s also critical for the future of agriculture to have young farmers informed about key issues and willing to speak out about them to the public and policymakers,” said PFB President Rick Ebert. “Congratulations to Kaleb for demonstrating his overall knowledge of agriculture and his strong communications skills in winning the discussion meet.”
Christine Oellig of Lebanon County, Melissa Harrop of Chester County and Ben Heishman of York County were the other discussion meet finalists. Meanwhile, the Collegiate Farm Bureau Discussion Meet winners were Jonathan Stephens of Clearfield County and Tony Rice of Snyder County. Stephens is majoring in plant sciences at Penn State University, while Rice is an agribusiness management major at PSU.
Long receives a number of prizes, including an expense paid trip to PFB’s 2018 State YF&R Leadership Conference and a trip to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting in Nashville in January, where he will represent Pennsylvania Farm Bureau in AFBF’s national discussion meet competition.
“I plan to work through the discussion meet topics in order to gain a broader understanding of the issues in preparation for the national competition,” Long said.
— Pennsylvania Farm Bureau