Youth excel at American Farmers and Ranchers state speech contest

Some of Oklahoma’s top students competed for more than $10,000 in scholarships and awards in the annual American Farmers and Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union state speech contest recently at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.

Each of the state contestants previously participated in their district contests, where they must have placed first or second in their respective category and division in order to advance to state. In total, more than 120 students advanced to the state contest from the five districts across Oklahoma.

The winners include the following:

AFR/OFU Novice: First­—Merrick Ballou, Elgin; second—Kord Campbell, Jet; third—Chance Kennedy, Edmond;

AFR/OFU Junior: First—Maci McCorkle, Snyder; second—Morley Griffith, Dale; third—Alec Anderson, Ringwood;

AFR/OFU Intermediate: First—Hayley Lundry, Haworth; second—Karla McConnell, Calumet; third—Paige Huckaby, Snyder;

AFR/OFU Senior: First—Peyton Burns, Kingfisher; second—Tate Ott, Lomega; third—Tanner Stevens, Yukon;

Science and natural resources Junior: First—Madi Myers, Lomega; second—Alli Themer, Kingfisher; third—Cherokee Sanders, Snyder;

Science and natural resources Intermediate: First—Cora Taylor, Kingfisher; second—Lillie Plane, Kiefer; third—Grace Schneberger, Burns Flat-Dill City;

Science and natural resources Senior: First—Bree Kisling, Chisholm; second—Victoria Gerken, Kingfisher; third—Emily Kennedy, Edmond;

Agribusiness Junior: First—Kayla Poling, Silo; second—Ivy Hartman, Kingfisher; third—Gentry Taylor, Kingfisher;

Agribusiness Intermediate: First—Katon Lunsford, Kingfisher; second—Samuel Snider, Glencoe; third—Connor Brooks, Granite;

Agribusiness Senior: First—Weston Church, Fairview; second—Brett Forgy, Silo; third—Madison Hutton, Owasso;

Ag advocacy and policy Junior: First—Georgia Griffeth, Cushing; second—Chloe Kelsey, Tecumseh; third—Kelby Ott, Lomega;

Ag advocacy and policy Intermediate: First—Colter Esparza, Granite; second—Rebekah Rake, Owasso; third—Ally Newman, Ringwood; and

Ag advocacy and policy Senior: First—Jentry Squires, Kingfisher; second—Krista Carroll, Tishomingo; third—Madison Stephens, Weatherford.

The AFR Speech Contests consist of five district contests and a state contest. At each contest, students in grades 4 to 12 compete in one of four categories—American Farmers and Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union, Science and natural resources, Agribusiness and Ag advocacy and policy.

This year marks the 74th year of the AFR speech contests.

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“We are proud to host a contest that highlights outstanding youth across Oklahoma,” said Micaela Danker, AFR youth development coordinator. “The fall speech contest proves to be a successful event every year. It gives students the opportunity to gain knowledge about current issues and topics facing the agricultural industry as well as improve public speaking skills.”

The AFR speech contests are just one of several ways for Oklahoma’s youth to become involved in AFR. Poster contests, summer youth leadership summit, statewide scholarships, livestock handling and skills contest, livestock judging and grading contests and many other leadership opportunities are available.

AFR had its beginning in 1905 and is headquartered in Oklahoma City. The organization is actively supportive of Oklahoma’s agricultural industry and rural population, and provides educational, legislative and youth leadership development programs across the state. AFR Insurance provides automobile, home, farm and life insurance with an emphasis on quality products and exceptional customer service. Available statewide, AFR Insurance is recognized as a leading domestic insurance carrier with 162 agencies serving communities throughout Oklahoma.