Looper advances to national discussion contest semifinal round
(May 4, 2020) – Agricultural education senior Samuel Looper (Apple Valley) carried on the tradition of excellence of Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology students at the Young Farmers and Ranchers national discussion meet in late April.
The event was held virtually for the first time as state champions from across the nation submitted video answers for two preselected questions for the opening round that were judged by industry professionals.
Looper was one of 16 competitors that advanced to the semifinal round that featured four groups of four contestants that competed together in a Zoom teleconference to answer another question. The top scorer in each semifinal advanced to a four-person final that was also held virtually.
The event’s pre-selected topics included:
- suggestions on how producers can build consumer acceptance of modern production agricultural methods
- ways that rural communities can combat opioid dependence and mental health issues
- methods to encourage meat and dairy product alternatives to co-exist in the marketplace with more traditional products
- developing new markets for agricultural products and byproducts
- creating new labor strategies to offset government limits on guest workers
Looper qualified for the event after he won the previous year’s state discussion title in February 2019
This year’s national event was originally scheduled to be held at the national convention in March in Louisville, Kentucky, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Looper is the 11th Fresno State student to compete at the national event since 2003. Three of those former competitors won national titles, Tim Truax (2018), Levy Randolph (2015) and Tino Rossi (2012).
Other past state champions from Fresno State include Abigail Carlson (2017), Hunter Berry (2016), Levy Randolph (2014), Jake Carlson (2013), Tino Rossi (2011), Jackie Mundt (2008) and Molly Fagundes (2003).
Senior agricultural education student Austin La Salle will continue the tradition next year after he won the state title in 2020 in early March at the event held in Visalia.