For Immediate Release: November 18, 2020
(Camp Hill) – William Thiele of Butler County has been named winner of the 2020 Young Ag Professionals (YAP) Discussion Meet. The contest took place in October and the winners were announced at Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s (PFB) 70th Annual Meeting, which was held virtually this year due to the pandemic.
Thiele, along with his brother and parents, operates a dairy farm in Cabot, shipping their milk to Marburger Dairy. They milk 40 cows and manage 270 acres of crops. Thiele serves on the Butler County Farm Bureau Board of Directors, along with serving as the county Farm Bureau’s Government Relations Director.
Thiele said his experience working with the county Farm Bureau on government affairs, including speaking with elected officials about legislation and regulations, helped prepare him for the discussion around agriculture issues.
“There are people in the agriculture industry who might not be comfortable talking to legislators, or the media, but in order for our issues to get resolved, we need to talk about them,” Thiele said. “This was my first time participating in the event, and I enjoyed discussing the issues with everyone.”
The discussion meet contestants were put in situations where they had to analyze agricultural problems and decide on solutions. The discussion meet is designed to help young agriculture professionals build communications skills, develop an understanding of important agricultural issues and explore how groups can pool resources to reach a consensus and solve problems.
“The discussion meet provides an opportunity for our young farmers and agriculture professionals to talk about ways to resolve the problems facing the agriculture industry. It is critical for the next generation of agriculture professionals to understand the challenges facing agriculture and be willing to speak about them to the public and policy makers,” said PFB President Rick Ebert. “Congratulations to William for his overall knowledge of agriculture and strong communication skills in winning the discussion meet.”
Meanwhile, Rebekah Alstede, from New Jersey and who studies at Delaware Valley University, won the Collegiate Farm Bureau Discussion Meet.
Thiele and Alstede will compete in discussion meet contests hosted by the American Farm Bureau Federation. Those contests will take place virtually in 2021 due to COVID-19.
Editor’s Note: Hundreds of farmers from across the state participated in Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s 70th Annual Meeting, held through a virtual platform because of the pandemic. Members set policy for the statewide organization on issues affecting farm and rural families.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization, representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania.