Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers were counted among the brightest agriculturalists in the nation as they competed for—and earned—top placement in American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers & Ranchers competitions during the organization’s 103rd annual convention in Atlanta.
Young farmers from across the U.S. vied for the AFBF YF&R Achievement Award, Excellence in Agriculture Award and Discussion Meet competition. Winners were recognized by AFBF President Zippy Duvall on stage in front of an audience of about 5,000 during the convention’s closing session on Jan. 10.
Winners from Virginia included Roger and Amanda Scott, who placed third in the Achievement Award competition. The award recognizes young farmers who excel in their farming or ranching operations and exhibit superior leadership abilities. The Scotts were evaluated on a combination of their agricultural operation’s growth and financial progress, Farm Bureau leadership and industry involvement outside of Farm Bureau.
The Madison County couple have a multitude of enterprises that comprise their 1,200-acre farm. They operate two turkey houses, a poultry litter hauling and spreading business, a beef cow-calf operation and a custom hay business. Amanda Scott is a livestock veterinarian serving farmers in the region. The Scotts are first-generation farmers who created their farm with no outside financial support, relying on strong partnerships and family members pitching in to help.
They said they are humbled to earn a top spot in the competition.
“This was an opportunity to share our story with the world,” Roger said.
And the pool of competitors was impressive, Amanda added. “We were a little shocked when they called our name for third place!”
The Scotts won a Case IH 40ʺ Combination Roll Cabinet and Top Chest and a $500 Case IH parts card courtesy of Case IH, as well as a $2,500 Investing in Your Future cash prize courtesy of AmericanAg. Additionally, they received $1,850 worth of Stanley Black & Decker merchandise courtesy of Stanley Black & Decker.
Northampton County farmer Kyle Sturgis placed among the top 10 finalists for the Excellence in Agriculture Award. This competition recognizes young farmers who don’t derive most of their income from an agricultural operation, but who actively contribute to the industry through their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations. Sturgis outlined for judges his communications, governmental, volunteer and fundraising efforts to enhance visibility of the state’s agricultural issues.
“These competitions are a great way for young farmers to get out of their comfort zones and have those tough conversations, which is a tool to build leadership for the future, especially when interacting with legislators,” he said.
Jonathan Grimes, a Wythe County farmer and agricultural education teacher, participated in the national Discussion Meet, which simulates a committee meeting in which active discussion and participation are expected. Contestants are evaluated on their ability to exchange ideas and information on timely agricultural topics. Grimes’ groups discussed issues regarding renewable resources and COVID-19 obstacles.
“I met my goal in this contest, making it to the national level, which is a great honor,” Grimes said.