Faber Named Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader Discussion Meet Winner

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Faber Named Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader Discussion Meet Winner

CHICAGO — Jesse Faber of Pontiac in Livingston County was named the Young Leader discussion meet winner at the Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) Annual Meeting held in Chicago, Dec. 2-5. 

In addition to receiving a trophy, Faber will receive a Polaris ATV, courtesy of COUNTRY Financial and IFB, and $2,500 cash from the IFB. He also will receive expense-paid trips to the 2018 American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Annual Meeting, 2018 GROWMARK Annual Meeting, courtesy of GROWMARK, Inc., the 2018 AFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference, and the 2018 IFB state Young Leader Conference. 

Faber, now in his final year of eligibility with the Illinois Farm Bureau’s Young Leader program, said the Young Leaders and discussion meet have allowed him opportunities to expand his knowledge of the agriculture industry, as well as his network of friends and acquaintances.          

“I’ve been involved with the discussion meet for a number of years and have had so much fun with it and met so many great people,” Faber said. “This year, I thought we had such great conversations that really challenged me to think – and think critically – about issues in agriculture and help find solutions. I’ve really enjoyed it.” 

Faber, who is an agriculture education teacher in the Pontiac school district, said the discussion meet not only facilitates discussion of issues important to agriculture, but also provides participants with real-world applications as they get involved in their communities. 

“The discussion meet is set up to be a committee meeting,” Faber said. “I think about these situations where people get onto boards… in the community and they get on there with this idea – they have a specific goal for why they’re there, and that’s what they’re going to push, not necessarily a goal to listen and see what they can do constructively. [Discussion meet] shows the value of what others are saying and merging it together.” 

The IFB discussion meet judges contestants’ ability to manage a small group discussion. Each contestant gives an opening statement. Participants exchange facts and insights on a pre-determined topic. Judges award points based on how well participants work with one another, how well they express themselves, and on their knowledge of the topic. 

Topics for the 2017 discussion meet included a discussion on how Farm Bureau can help first-generation farmers and ranchers get started in agriculture; how agriculture can overcome public skepticism of foreign trade to negotiate new trade agreements and open new world markets; how Farm Bureau can work to ensure that the public’s positive perception of the family farm is not lost; how farmers and ranchers can maintain their buying power with the continued trend of input supplier and provider consolidation; and how Farm Bureau can help members with increasing legal and regulatory obstacles so they can focus on farming and ranching.   

Twenty-six district winners vied for the title of state winner during the IFB annual meeting. 

Illinois has had several Young Leaders advance to the sweet 16, final four, and the final round of the national discussion meet in recent years. Faber said he hopes to continue the trend when he represents the state at the AFBF national Young Leader discussion meet in January 2018. 

“I’ve had some great colleagues, and have had the chance to compete in the discussion meet against a number of people who have made it to the final four or the finals at nationals,” Faber said. “I have a lot of outstanding resources and great people to help me prepare. I hope to uphold that tradition from Illinois.” 

IFB promotes and sponsors the discussion meet with the goals of developing young peoples’ leadership and communication skills on behalf of agriculture and of working together and reaching consensus on how to deal with current issues in agriculture.  

The Illinois Farm Bureau is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, a national organization of farmers and ranchers. Founded in 1916, IFB is a non-profit, membership organization directed by farmers who join through their county Farm Bureau. IFB has a total membership of 398,283 and a voting membership of more than 79,450. IFB represents three out of four Illinois farmers. 

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