Challenges & Opportunities – Session 2

TrudyCalfBy Trudy Kruger, Class III Fellow

After some review, updates and follow-up from the instructors, Holly started us off with “Tips on Effective Presentation Skills.” She said that we teach presentation skills because we are going to be presenting in our jobs and communities.  Important points were to know your topic and goals, and to know your audience.  In the introductory speech, it is very important to tell about yourself and your credibility.  Do not be afraid to say “I do not know”.  Holly is the expert on giving presentations today.  The most important thing about your presentation is the way you say it; the tone of your voice and the volume is important for speakers.

We transitioned over to the presentation by David Small, Deputy Secretary (DNREC). He spoke about turning challenges into opportunities for Delaware’s environment.  A very informative speech about air and water quality in our area by describing the impurities in the air causing air pollution and affecting cover crops and watersheds.  He also referred to cost share programs and more grants for infrastructure and how they plan for the future.

We moved on to the overview of Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation and Delaware Young Farmer’s Program.  This was a panel of three speakers: Austin Short and Bob Garey, committee member of Ag Preservation Program; and Robbie Emerson, a Delaware farmer who is in the Young Farmer’s Program.  Austin Short spoke about the Ag Preservation Program and how it allows and keeps Delaware farm land in farming.  Bob Garey spoke about the funding for the Delaware Ag Preservation Program.  Farmers want their land in this program to help protect the future of farming with the hopes that young people will continue the traditions of farming.  Delaware young farmer Robbie Emerson spoke about his participation in the Young Farmer’s Program.  He spoke about the challenges and experiences he had starting his own farm through the program.  These programs are very valuable to the state of Delaware because it is an investment in the control of growth in open spaces.

We enjoyed a great lunch sponsored by DDA.  Then we formed three groups to participate in an argument clinic through a structured Public Forum debate about the Health and Safety of GMO Foods.  A great Public Forum Debate was done by three groups as follows:  Group 1. Safe Food and Grain Alliance; Group 2. CPA (Concerned Parents of America); Group 3. The Science Alliance. With persistence, the arguments were made and the session was enjoyed by all the fellows.

After a short break, we focused on our International Trip.  We were given questions to start the thinking of the location and dynamics involved.  Then we did a type of affinity diagram working in silence raising our own questions and concerns about the trip.  The fellows will start to brainstorm certain locations and do a 10 minute presentation in February on the countries assigned.  Tom did a wonderful presentation on Making Sense of Data – statistics!  We did our best to  understand the new concepts that he presented.

Finally, the last speaker was Mark Davis, with DDA.  He spoke about proposed legislation from Ag tourism, Ag land Preservation, the right to farm, and others. Holly assigned the start of the legislative project with the fellows picking a current piece of legislation to follow.  In February, March and April, they will give a brief update on what is happening with their legislation.

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