FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 18, 2016

Contact: AnnMarie Cornejo
805-756-2427; ancornej@calpoly.edu   

Cal Poly Student Wins National Championship at Young Farmers and Ranchers Meet

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly agricultural communications senior Kenna Lewis has claimed the championship title at the Young Farmers and Ranchers National Collegiate Discussion Meet in Kansas City, Mo.

Lewis, of San Luis Obispo, claimed the 2015 California Champion title in February 2015, qualifying her for the national competition.

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

“One unique thing about the national contest is the perspective the different competitors bring,” Lewis said. “Each representative comes from a different state and, therefore, has a different take on each agricultural issue. It’s really interesting to understand production methods from across the country and how issues affect agriculturists differently from coast to coast.”

Cal Poly Agricultural Communication Professor Ann De Lay, coach Lindsey Liebig of the California Farm Bureau, and a group of California Young Farmers and Ranchers committee members traveled with Lewis to Missouri.

The final debate leading to Lewis’ victory was focused on how the Farm Bureau should protect and encourage producers’ ability to use new technology and how the organization can work with government entities and the public to encourage innovation.

Lewis said the topic is close to her heart.

“In order to feed our population, which continues to rapidly grow, we need to be able to produce more food on the same amount of land,” said Lewis. “The only way to do that is to invest in research and technology that can enhance our current production methods. As an agricultural communication student, I feel I have a responsibility to help express to the public the importance of technology in agriculture and ensure consumers that the highest safety measures are taken when it comes to innovations such as biotechnology.”

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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