Stepping onto a stage with four other people to discuss important, and sometimes controversial, issues in front of a crowd of spectators can be nerve wracking. But if successful, it can be rewarding. At least that’s what Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation’s 2018 YF&R Discussion Meet winner Heather Ferrell believes.

“The anticipation of waiting for the discussion to start is unbelievable,” Heather said. “Once you get started, all those fears and expectations for yourself kind of fly out the window because you’re focused on engaging and what you’re going to say.”

As a first time competitor of the YF&R Discussion Meet, Heather never expected to win. She contributes hard work and hours of preparation to her success.

“I talked to a lot of people to prepare, like producers, extension agents, and really anyone I have met in the agriculture industry,” Heather said. “I also was able to incorporate my own life experiences into my discussion, which was extremely helpful.”

Heather and her husband, Sean, run a full French Charolais cow/calf operation in Scott County.

“We’re trying to raise performance bred bulls that people can put on cross bred cows that are going to bring them more weight at weaning time,” Sean said.

Competing in the discussion meet and winning on her first try was an experience of a lifetime, Heather said.

“I think as a farmer and a producer, it is our job to be the voice of agriculture,” she said. “So, being able to represent Farm Bureau in that larger scale and being able to discuss important issues with like-minded people is such an awesome feeling.”