Warren County High School student John Adam Turner placed third in the national Future Farmers of America extemporaneous speaking competition.
“I feel incredibly blessed to have placed third,” said Turner. “I cannot thank all those who helped me enough.”
The FFA convention was held in Indianapolis, Ind., on Oct. 24-25.
Extemporaneous speaking required participants to deliver three different speeches as they progressed through the rounds of the competition. Subjects included agriscience and technology, urban agriculture, food and fiber systems, and agrimarketing and international trade.
The competition was far from easy, according to Turner. He says competitors were given a topic in one of the subjects and allowed 30 minutes to prepare a four- to six-minute speech that would be followed by five minutes of questions.
Turner was given “Should we take the negative connotation in factory farms and make it a positive?” for his preliminary speech. Upon making it to the semifinals, he was given “How does urban agriculture bring the community together?”
Individuals making it into the final speech round were given an added challenge. Not only would they get given the same time requirements to deliver a speech, it would be in front of a larger audience and could be seen live by anyone watching on the Internet.
The final round speech topic was “How will urban agriculture make a difference in feeding the world by 2050 when the population is estimated to have increased by 2.3 billion people?”
Turner says he found the final speech the most difficult due to the circumstances, but not because of the subject matter.
“I was nervous because of the size of the crowd I would be speaking in front of,” Turner said. “Also, because I knew that it was streaming live over the Internet. Although I felt as though I enjoyed it the most knowing that I gave everything I had in the last extemporaneous speech I would ever give.”
A senior at Warren County High School and Middle Tennessee vice president of Future Farmers of America, Turner plans to attend Tennessee Tech in Cookeville and major in agribusiness management.