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Augusta County agriculturalist wins Young Farmers Discussion Meet

Morgan Messer
Morgan Messer. Photo courtesy Virginia Farm Bureau.

Morgan Messer of Augusta County took top honors Dec. 1 in Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers Discussion Meet in Williamsburg. The competition was held during the VFBF Annual Convention.

The Discussion Meet is designed to simulate a committee meeting in which discussion and active participation are expected from each contestant. Relevant topics are presented to competitors who are judged on their discussion skills, understanding of important agricultural issues and ability to build consensus.

Messer, who serves on the VFBF Young Farmers Committee, previously competed in the Collegiate Discussion Meet and advanced to the semifinal round in national competition. She represents District 5 on the VFBF Young Farmers Committee.

She grew up on a beef cattle farm in Augusta County and attended Virginia Tech, where she double-majored in agricultural sciences and communication. Since graduating in 2014, she has worked for American Farm Bureau Federation and Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom.

Messer is currently director of external affairs and communication at Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative.

She won a John Deere Gator utility vehicle, courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co., and a $1,000 cash award from Virginia Farm Bureau Health Care Consultants. Other Discussion Meet finalists won $500 from VFBF.

“It was tough competition,” Messer said of the Discussion Meet finals. “The other folks in the finalist group were fantastic, and genuinely represented what the contest is supposed to be about—a committee meeting trying to work through a problem, and the conversation reflected that. We came up with a lot of good ideas.”

First runner-up was Jonathan Grimes of Wythe County, an agricultural education teacher and FFA advisor at Fort Chiswell High School. He was raised on a fourth-generation beef farm, and he and his wife, Kelsey, established a square-bale hay operation in 2020, focusing on orchard grass and timothy hay while transitioning to alfalfa. The Grimeses serve on the VFBF Young Farmers Committee, and Jonathan Grimes serves on the VFBF Safety Advisory Committee.

Other finalists were Rachel Henley of Goochland County and Dr. Amanda Weakley-Scott of Madison County.


augusta free press
augusta free press