Local College Senior Wins State Discussion Meet

November 2022

Left to right: President Jeb S. Smith presents Maddie Dvorak with her award for winning the Collegiate Discussion Meet at the Florida Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Orlando.

Maddie Dvorak of Polk County, won Florida Farm Bureau’s 2022 state Collegiate Discussion Meet. Dvorak is a senior at the University of Florida majoring in food and resource economics with an international specialization.

Dvorak’s first introduction to agriculture was in 6th grade when she joined her middle school FFA chapter. Her passion for agriculture has grown as she has learned more about the endless obstacles farmers and ranchers face on a daily basis.

“When I was 16, I made a statement that said ‘Their [agricultural producers] job is to produce food. My job is to protect their jobs’ and that statement still holds true to this day,” said Dvorak. “My ideal career is working in a government affairs position that works on behalf of Florida agriculture to ensure our industry’s voice is heard when legislation is being crafted and implemented.”

Discussion Meet participants debated through two rounds. During the first round, competitors discussed how Farm Bureau can reduce the impact of external influences through policy development and programming. The second round discussed how Farm Bureau can become more accessible and welcoming to members who are working in related fields and juggling responsibilities on and off the farm.

Isa Salaam, a student at Florida A&M University and Christian Bentrovato, a student at the University of Florida were also finalists for the Collegiate Discussion Meet. Dvorak received a $500 cash prize and will compete at the American Farm Bureau YF&R Fusion Conference in Jacksonville March 3-6, 2023.