Cal Poly Student Wins First Runner-Up at Young Farmers and Ranchers Meet

For Immediate Release
March 3, 2017

Contact: AnnMarie Cornejo

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly dairy science junior Tony Lopes was named the first runner-up at the Young Farmers and Ranchers State Collegiate Discussion Meet on Feb. 25 in Modesto.

Lopes, from Gustine, California, serves on the ASI board of directors and is president of the Los Lecheros Dairy Club.

The California Farm Bureau Federation of Young Farmers and Ranchers is a program for agriculturists 18 to 35 years old who are actively involved in production and affiliated professions.

Three additional students from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences also competed in the discussion meet: agribusiness junior Blair Brookes of Kelseyville, California; dairy science junior Amber LaSalle of San Luis Obispo; and environmental management freshman Mark Borges of Oakdale, California.

Lopes and Brookes both advanced from the opening round robin discussions into the “elite eight” round. From there, Lopes advanced to the final four. The topic, immigration and agriculture, called for competitors to create solutions for immigration policy reform.

“My biggest takeaway was the value of cooperation in agriculture and how that will help shape our industry’s future,” Lopes said. “The contest was a discussion, not a debate, so approaching agriculture issues and solutions in a constructive manner was really exciting and productive. I really appreciated the dialogue and the chance to interact with the other contestants from across the state.”

Lopes was awarded $750. He plans to compete again next year.

Cal Poly Agricultural Communication Professor Scott Vernon coached the team, with help from Megan Silcott, director of Cal Poly’s Brock Center.

“Watching the students interact in the rounds was exciting,” Silcott said. “This competition gives them a chance to apply their agricultural knowledge and experiences into problem-solving conversations.”

Pictured left to right are dairy science junior Amber LaSalle; environmental management freshman Mark Borges; agribusiness junior Blair Brookes; and first runner-up winner, dairy science junior Tony Lopes. 

About Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, comprehensive polytechnic university. The university’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences is comprised of expert faculty members who take pride in their ability to transform academically motivated students into innovative professionals ready to solve the complex challenges associated with feeding the world in sustainable ways. Students have access to state-of-the-art laboratories, including ranch land, orchards, vineyards and forests, all of which provide the basis for Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing methodology. It is the fifth-largest college of agriculture in the country, with 4,000 undergraduate students.

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