Agricultural public speaking competitions provide opportunity for youth

The 4th annual Alberta Young Speakers for Agriculture competition has come and gone at the Calgary Stampede.

The competition provides Albertan youth ages 11-24 with an opportunity to speak up for agriculture through a little healthy competition, with opportunity to further on into the national competition (Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture) held during the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. There is a junior and a senior competition, which allows the competition to have more of a fair playing ground.

Chauncey Lane, president of Alberta Young Speakers for Agriculture, and 2017 champion, says the event can contribute to many different aspects of speakers life, whether it be professional or personal development.

“Public speaking is such a skill that is very hard to acquire. It’s one of those things that if you don’t have it, you have to work very hard at it. If you can do it, it can really benefit you in life, careers, and reaching your goals,” he says. “So I think it’s important that we host this competition and we help people that are passionate about public speaking, to help promote themselves and speak their mind. To help them reach their goals through the art of public speaking.”

The competition is comparable to a 4-H speaking competition, however, as Lane notes, there are some differences.

“The difference is that we offer a one-time cash prize, and we give you the opportunity to go out to the national competition in Toronto,” he says, while adding that no previous public speaking or agricultural background is required in order to enter the competition.

This year, the topics that were able to be chosen from were;

1)    How can aquaculture support the earth’s growing population?
2)    Food fraud: Do you know what you’re eating?
3)    Are GMOs the solution to food security?
4)    The benefits and challenges of adopting new technologies on the farm.
5)    Canada first: Can Canadian agriculture survive in an age of increased protectionism and globalization?
6)    What does the next generation of agriculture bring to the table?
7)    Bust a common myth in Canadian agriculture.

The 2019 winners were Jordan Vos of Burdett, Alta., in the senior category, and Ryley Mappin of Byemoor, Alta, in the junior category. Both will compete in the national competition on November 2, 2019 in Toronto.

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