February 5, 2024

Shephard wins Discussion Meet

Topic: Leadership

Thomas Shephard, a fourth-generation farmer from Crystal, North Dakota, won the NDFB Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet held during the Farm and Ranch Conference in Fargo on February 2-3, 2024. (The four finalists, from left were: Chance Lundberg from Killdeer, Mia Severson from Gardner, Thomas and Madison Bodine from Mandan.

The Discussion Meet is an intellectual exchange of ideas and information among participants on a predetermined agricultural topic. Shephard's knowledge and articulate discussions earned him not only recognition but a prize of $4,000. He will now advance to compete at the American Farm Bureau Federation 2025 Discussion Meet in San Antonio, Texas.

Shephard and his wife Samantha manage a diverse agricultural operation raising potatoes, corn, soybeans, wheat, and edible beans. They are proud parents of two children.

The final round of the NDFB Discussion Meet featured a challenging question for the four finalists. The question posed to them centered around water management challenges in agriculture:

"Agriculture uses water for everything from growing crops, raising livestock, and moving products to and from farms and ranches. Water issues are often hotly debated, are unique to each region and can pose significant challenges to growers. How can Farm Bureau help address water management challenges and seek long-term solutions for farmers and ranchers?"

“The finalists' insightful responses showcased their deep understanding of water issues faced by farmers and ranchers,” said Joey Bailey, NDFB’s Director of Organizational Development. “We couldn’t be prouder of all those who participated in this year’s discussion meet.”