Colquitt County, ABAC teams win Advocacy in Action Contest
Posted on Oct 25, 2023 at 13:32 PM
Teams from Colquitt County High School and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) won the Third Annual Advocacy in Action Contest, sponsored and coordinated by Georgia Farm Bureau.
The final rounds for the contest were held Oct. 18 at the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition in Moultrie. The Colquitt County team of Anna Grace Hunter, Ellery McBryde, Carolyne Turner and Anna Grace Hunter, coached on site by Georgia Farm Bureau Agricultural Programs Manager Raynor Churchwell, won the high school division. ABAC’s No. 2 team of Colton Peacock, Jenna Williams and Whitnie Yoder, coached on site by Georgia Chamber of Commerce Director of Government Affairs Katie Duvall, won the collegiate division. Colquitt County Farm Bureau Office Manager Greta Collins advised both teams helping them prepare for the contest.
“As a former elected official, I appreciate these young people pursuing this skill,” said GFB President Tom McCall, who served in the Georgia House of Representatives for 26 years and chaired the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee. “Talking with public officials is at the core of Georgia Farm Bureau’s mission, and the Advocacy in Action contest is one way we can help future agricultural leaders experience how these discussions often happen.”
Teams of three or four students made policy pitches to three judges separately concerning how to help young and beginning farmers overcome the risks associated with taking over a family farm or starting a new farm.
A total of 23 teams submitted video entries for the contest. The top three in each division competed at Sunbelt, where they gave presentations to judges Brian Hardin from the Alabama Farmers Federation, Reaganne Hart from the office of Gov. Brian Kemp and Dale Sandlin from Georgia Cattlemen’s Association.
The competition is designed to simulate lobbyist conversations with elected officials in a variety of environments. The pitches were limited to three minutes, followed by a question-and-answer period of up to five minutes.
“The participants in the Advocacy in Action Contest did a great job in the short amount of time to advocate for their position,” Sandlin said. “This contest allows them to advocate with tons of distractions being in the middle of Sunbelt Ag Expo. When we’re lobbying on behalf of our members, we often may only get one chance of a couple of minutes to make a case for our position and it’s rarely in a quiet environment. Having them compete in this way is very true to life and will help train the next generation of advocates for agriculture.”
The winning teams received cash prizes and invitations to participate in Georgia Farm Bureau Day at the Capitol in Atlanta in February.