Maddie Weninger of Wright County took first place in the Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet. The Discussion Meet finalists competed virtually in two semi-final rounds on Monday, November 16. The final competition round was held virtually on Tuesday, November 17. Contestants were judged on their basic knowledge of critical farm issues and their ability to exchange ideas and information in a setting aimed at cooperative problem-solving.

Weninger will advance to national competition where they will represent Minnesota in the national contest at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) Annual Meeting held January 9-13, 2021. They also received a recognition plaque from MFBF, $500 prize, a trip to the MFBF LEAP Conference to be held in Sioux Falls, SD in 2021 and a leadership development trip to Washington D.C.

Four award winners will be chosen for each of the three 2021 AFBF YF&R Contests: Achievement Award, Excellence in Agriculture and Discussion Meet. The winner will receive a new Ford vehicle up to a value of $35,000. Second place will receive a Case IH Farmall 50A tractor. Third place will receive a Case IH 40” Combination Roll Cabinet and Top Chest and a $500 Case IH parts card courtesy of Case IH, a $2,500 Investing in Your Future cash prize courtesy of American Farm Bureau Insurance Services, as well as, $1,850 of Stanley Black & Decker merchandise. Fourth place finalists will receive a Case IH 40” Combination Roll Cabinet and Top Chest and a $500 Case IH parts card courtesy of Case IH. Special thanks to our sponsors, Ford, Case IH and Stanley Black & Decker, for their continued support of the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers contests.

Maddie Weninger took home the top honors. Maddie is a senior at South Dakota State University studying agricultural education and Spanish. On campus, Maddie is involved in  the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) Ambassadors, the Agricultural Education/FFA Alumni club, SDSU Teach Ag Ambassadors, and is finishing off her year serving as a Student Advisory Team member with the Agriculture Future of America organization. Maddie is originally from Maple Lake, Minnesota but attended Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School where her dad has taught agriculture for 35 years. Although Maddie didn’t grow up in agriculture, she has fond memories of attending FFA events with her dad as a little girl, which sparked her interest in the agriculture community.

Other top finalists in the Discussion Meet were Amanda Cook of Chisago County and Elizabeth Nass of Headwaters Regional, Clearwater County.