GFB News Magazine

Ropers finish in AFBF Top 10 

by Jay Stone
News Reporter

Posted on February 25, 2024 6:06 PM

Georgia’s AFBF YF&R competitive event contestants were from left: Achievement Award, David & Lindsey Morgan, Pierce Co.; Discussion Meet, Andy Paul, Oglethorpe Co.; and Excellence in Agriculture, Nicole & Cole Roper, Franklin Co. / Photo by Jay Stone

Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) members Cole and Nicole Roper, Andy Paul, and David and Lindsey Morgan put Georgia Farm Bureau’s (GFB’s) best foot forward in national competitions during the American Farm Bureau Convention in Salt Lake City in January. 

“Cole and Nicole, Andy, and David and Lindsey set great examples for what we want our next generation of leaders to be,” said GFB President Tom McCall. “We’re proud of them for their outstanding representation of Georgia Farm Bureau. I look forward to seeing them in leadership positions whether with GFB or local and state government using the skills they have learned through our Young Farmers & Ranchers program.”

The Ropers, from Franklin County, finished in the top 10 for the AFBF Excellence in Agriculture Award, which recognizes young farmers and ranchers who make most of their income from something other than self-owned production agriculture. Cole is a broiler supervisor for Fieldale Farms. Nicole is an ag teacher. Together they operate Cole’ Sweet Corn, selling their corn and beef to drive-up customers.

The Ropers, who won the GFB YF&R Excellence in Agriculture Award last July, were one of 37 state winners who gave presentations before judges Jan. 20. The top 10 made additional presentations on Jan. 21. The top 10 were recognized during the AFBF closing general session on Jan. 22, when national winner Justin Hargrove of Tennessee was announced. 

Oglethorpe County Farm Bureau member Paul, a public relations representative with Georgia EMC, advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the AFBF Discussion Meet, where groups of four or five contestants discuss issues facing agriculture and potential solutions. The first two round-robin rounds on Jan. 20 centered on diversity and inclusion in agriculture  and sustainability in farming. The Sweet 16 round on Jan. 21 focused on young farmers’ access to capital. 

Matthew McClanahan of Tennessee won the AFBF competition. 

The Morgans, from Pierce County, competed for the AFBF Achievement Award, which recognizes young farmers and ranchers who earn most of their income from production agriculture. 

The couple run a diversified operation. David is a third-generation farmer who grows cotton, peanuts, vegetables and a variety of grains as cover crops. He also owns timber land and provides land-clearing services. Lindsey, who grew up on a farm, teaches high school social studies.

Daniel and Megan Roberts of Minnesota won the Achievement Award.

Young farmers and ranchers interested in competing in 2024 should contact their county Farm Bureau office or district federation manager for more information in mid-March. June 1 is the deadline to enter GFB’s 2024 YF&R contests.