Publisher Letter: Congrats to the PCFB Youth Speech Contest winners


THERE ARE FEW THINGS that are more intimidating to people than public speaking. It’s an acquired skill that, through years of practice, however, can be mastered. In my youth, I was involved in my local Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter, and public speaking was par for the course. Back then, I was one of the many who shied away from the process. Looking back on it, though, I can tell you it made a difference in making me ready for my adult career choices.

(IN THE PHOTO: From left, Abby Crawford, judge; Kaylee Norris, judge; Taylor Ladd, Auburndale; Christian Cruz, George Jenkins; Maddie Dvorak, Kathleen; and Danny Kushmer, judge.)

The young minds who recently participated in the 2016 Polk County Farm Bureau Youth Speech Contest had an additional challenge (beyond just getting up in front of a group of people and putting coherent words together). They had to also speak with authority on a very cutting-edge topic: unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, otherwise known as drones). The participants (most of them FFA members) had to do their homework and make an argument to answer the following question: “What Is an Unmanned Aerial System and How Can It Be Used to Impact Agriculture?”

Despite the weight of this loaded question, I hear that this year’s participants made an interesting case for this technology and its applications in the field. I’d like to extend congratulations, from all of us here at Central Florida Ag News, to the winners of this year’s Youth Speech Contest. First place went to Maddie Dvorak of Kathleen High School, second place went to Taylor Ladd of Auburndale High School, and third place went to Christian Cruz of George Jenkins.

The first-place winner will be giving her speech at the upcoming PCFB Annual Membership Meeting on October 11.



Nelson Kirkland is publisher of Central Florida Ag News. He may be reached by e-mail at

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