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Former NMSU FFA State President reaches final four in national competition

Making a first in New Mexico history, Klayton Bearup, a New Mexico State University Collegiate Farm Bureau member and treasurer, advanced to the final four of the National Collegiate Discussion Meet held during the American Farm Bureau Federation?s 2015 FUSION conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

NMSU student Klayton Bearup, treasurer of the New Mexico Collegiate Farm Bureau, was one of three runners-up in the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Collegiate Discussion Meet held at the American Farm Bureau Federation FUSION conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Forty-seven competitors from 34 states participated in this year's AFBF Collegiate Discussion Meet. (NMSU photo by Joel Alderete)

Bearup beat out more than 40 students of the nation?s top competitors, proceeding to the top 16, then final four alongside students from California, Florida and Nebraska. The competition was held Feb. 13-16 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.

?It?s a very practical competition, intended to emulate a committee meeting or a county farm bureau meeting to discuss the issues that are actually happening,? Bearup said.

NMSU is the only collegiate chapter for the Farm Bureau in the entire state. The annual conference in November hosts the state discussion meet where six students compete as one panel. Bearup succeeded at the state level allowing him to move on to the national conference.

Each of the 47 competitors participated in two preliminary rounds and based on cumulative scores advanced to the top 16. Next, there are four panels of four where the winners of those four competed against each other to complete the final four.

?It?s more open and conversational than other typical debates,? Bearup said. ?You want to cooperate with your panel and come to a conclusive solution or step toward a solution.?

The panel is given a discussion topic the day before the competition and asked to complete a 20-minute statement. There is a 30-second opening, one-minute closing statement and the students are judged on cooperation, ideas and ability to speak.

?This is a way for younger collegiate farm bureau members and young farmers and ranchers committee members to come together and be able to compete, coming up with ideas to face issues or problems faced in American agriculture,? Bearup said.

Beaup, of Silver City, previously served as the New Mexico FFA state president and is a current College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences ambassador. He is a longstanding member of 4-H and FFA within the community, showing and raising cattle throughout college.

He is an Agricultural and Extension Education major, with the goal of becoming a high school Ag teacher.

?The Farm Bureau is giving to the agricultural community of New Mexico in many ways. It is a great way to get involved after FFA,? Bearup said.

Students interested in becoming involved with the collegiate farm bureau may attend a meeting held every second and last Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in Room 114 of Gerald Thomas.