Monday, February 8, 2016

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Weiser Student Wins Women's Leadership Committee Speech Contest
Boise—Jayce Watkins of Weiser won the Idaho Farm Bureau Women's Leadership Committee Speech Contest this morning at the Idaho Statehouse.

“This is a contest by design,” said Women’s Chair Judy Woody of Twin Falls. “We want students to learn a more about agriculture, we want them to research and build their speech and along the way develop an understand of what goes into our food.”

Jayce Watkins is a Senior at Weiser High School. He admits he did a lot of research and calls farming the next great technological frontier.

"I chose technology and agriculture as a topic because things are changing so fast in farming, I googled every article I could find on precision agriculture. At first I couldn’t find anyone in Washington County that uses precision agriculture, but finally found a farmer not far away that uses the technology. I decided to focus on three key areas, software, drones and GPS,”said Watkins. 

Idaho State Controller Governor Brandon Woolf welcomed the contestants to the West Wing of the Senate. He emphasized the importance of communication in agriculture and urged students to not only speak up but to serve and tell the world about Idaho agriculture and that's exactly what Watkins and other contestants demonstrated.

Watkins’ speech immediately caught the Statehouse Audience by addressing the economic importance of precision agriculture. He said through technological change, yields are larger and a new generation is finding out that almost all Ag is high-tech these days. 

“Precision farming is the answer, its cheaper, yields are higher and we can feed the world on less land, last year alone we saw an $11-billion dollar increase just because of changes in precision Ag, I think the future is bright and Ag is moving in the right direction," he adds.

The new President of the Idaho Farm Bureau watched the even with great interest.

“There’s a lot of hope and energy in these young people,” said Idaho Farm Bureau President Bryan Searle. “It’s exciting!  As we advocate for agriculture and watch these young people carry the advocacy forward its an agriculture asset that continues into the future.”

 Watkins won $150, he'll use the money for his college fund. All the contestants went on a special guided tour of the Idaho Statehouse.

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