Giebel first in Wisconsin to win national discussion meet

February 20, 2014
Ethan Giebel

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. —University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Ethan Giebel, a junior agriculture education major from Lyndon Station, Wis., recently won the 2014 National Collegiate Discussion Meet in Virginia Beach, Va. This contest was held in conjunction with the American Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Leadership Conference.

Giebel is the first Wisconsin native to win this award in competition history. As the national winner, he received $2,500 in scholarships from the competitive event sponsor, Cenex Harvest States Foundation.

Giebel was the selected state winner of the Collegiate Farm Bureau Discussion Meet contest last December at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting. The Juneau County native and former president of the Wisconsin FFA Association competed against 52 collegiate Farm Bureau members from 36 states at the American Farm Bureau Federation Collegiate Discussion Meet. “With 52 others in the contest from across the country, it was a very competitive competition,” he said.

These meets are designed to help members analyze agricultural issues and decide on solutions that best meet their needs. By participating, members build discussion skills, develop an understanding of agricultural issues and explore how groups can support one another to solve problems. Discussion and active participation are part of the Collegiate Discussion Meets.

When preparing for the discussion meet, Giebel became familiar with each of the five possible topics that could have been chosen for the four rounds. He also researched each topic and came up with an outline for the desired discussion. “I enjoy discussing agricultural issues and it means a lot to me that I had a great deal of support from the Wisconsin Farm Bureau,” he said.

The following questions could have been asked during the competition. How should the Farm Bureau engage members to work together to better promote a more positive image of agriculture? How do we encourage young farmers and ranchers to continue to be involved in Farm Bureau, especially in leadership positions? What are the best practices for youth working on farms and ranches to ensure their safety and provide learning opportunities in the area of agriculture production? What can farmers do to stimulate more economic growth? How can young farmers and ranchers work with officials to eliminate unnecessary or excessive regulations placed upon agriculture while ensuring that new regulations are justified based on their costs and anticipated benefits?

Giebel is planning to compete in the Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet contest in the next few years.

Giebel works as a freelance writer for the Wisconsin Agriculturist magazine and presents leadership conferences to students in FFA throughout the United States as a facilitator for the National FFA Organization. At UW-Platteville, he is a member of the Collegiate Farm Bureau, Collegiate FFA and Alpha Zeta. Giebel is also a member of the Juneau County Farm Bureau and a lifetime Mauston FFA Alumni member. 

When he is not attending classes, Giebel enjoys working on his parents’ 350-acre farm, EDEM Acres, where they raise about 400 Holstein dairy steers along with corn and alfalfa.

Contact: Ethan Giebel, student,

Written by: Megan Schmidt, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194,



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