Mississippi Collegiate Discussion Meet winner Sarah Byrd placed in the top four of the American Farm Bureau Federation Collegiate Discussion Meet hosted through Zoom in April.

“This year’s Collegiate Discussion Meet was conducted differently due to COVID-19,” Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers & Ranchers Coordinator Samantha Laird says. “Typically, Sarah would have competed at the AFBF YF&R Leadership Conference in March, but since it was cancelled, AFBF decided to host the contest via Zoom. We are extremely proud of Sarah and believe she represented Mississippi well throughout the entire process.”

Byrd started preparing for the national Collegiate Discussion Meet contest in October after winning the MFBF Collegiate Discussion Meet.

“It was such an honor to win at the state level and represent Mississippi at a national level,” Byrd says. “The contest provides a great opportunity to discuss real issues with people my age and on my learning level. Preparing for the contest by listening to agricultural podcasts and reading various agricultural news articles and magazines also allowed me to prepare to enter the workforce after graduating.”

Byrd graduated from Mississippi State University in December with a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy and a concentration in Integrated Pest Management. She now serves as a research agronomist for Indigo Ag covering the central Mississippi Delta area and north Alabama.

“Essentially, I help farmers use research conducted on five hundred acre plots to improve their operations,” Byrd says. “The thought process is that a farmer will trust research connected to large plots compared to small plots.”

Byrd believes being an active member of MFBF and the YF&R program has provided her with more access to resources compared to her peers.

“Farm Bureau gives people like me such wonderful opportunities to network and step out of your comfort zone,” Byrd says. “This organization has been and will continue to be a tremendous asset to me as I move forward in my career.”