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Your Update from Ron Hays of RON
Friday, October 16, 2020
AFR Youth Program Launches Public Speaking Tutorials
If 2020 were a normal year, the American Farmers & Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union (AFR/OFU) Cooperative would be planning its annual AFR Youth Speech Contest. Agriculture students statewide would be preparing their speeches in hopes of high judges’ marks and first place trophies. But, this is not a normal year.

This year, concerns of Covid-19 exposure, coupled with potential venue closures, caused the contest to be canceled for the first time in 75 years. In its place, AFR/OFU has created a new professional development opportunity for students statewide. Associate Farm Director, KC Sheperd caught up with AFR/OFU President Scott Blubaugh to talk about what they are doing instead of the contest this year to help those who want to learn about public speaking.

The “Mastering the Art of Public Speaking” (MAPS) video series fulfills the AFR Youth Speech Contest mission to encourage young Oklahomans to hone their public speaking ability through speeches about agriculture, natural resources, policy and science.

“Public speaking is an indispensable skill students use throughout their lives,” said AFR/OFU Cooperative President Scott Blubaugh. “We’re very proud of the AFR Speech Contest and what it’s done to foster professionalism and confidence in Oklahoma’s youth. It was an extremely difficult decision to cancel this year’s competition, and we knew we had to do something in its place. So, we decided to designate 2020 as the ‘Year to Teach.’”

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Ron Hays
Director of Farm Programming
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