Winners of three Virginia Farm Bureau Federation competitions will compete against their peers from across the nation at the 2019 American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention. John and Lydia Shepherd of Nottoway County, winners of the VFBF Young Farmers of the Year Achievement Award; Amy G. Fannon of Lee County, winner of the VFBF Young Farmers Excellence in Agriculture Award; and Jesse Martin of Rockingham County, winner of the VFBF Young Farmers Discussion Meet, will attend the event, which will be held Jan. 11-16 in New Orleans. They will compete for the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award, Excellence in Agriculture Award and Discussion Meet title. The Achievement Award honors young farmers who are successful in production agriculture and provide leadership on and off the farm. The Shepherds serve on the VFBF Young Farmers Committee and raise wheat, rapeseed, corn and soybeans on their farm near Blackstone. Additionally, John Shepherd serves on the Nottoway County Farm Bureau board of directors, and Lydia Shepherd teaches at Kenston Forest School in Blackstone. The Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes individuals for involvement in agriculture, leadership ability and involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations. Fannon is a Virginia Cooperative Extension unit coordinator and agriculture and natural resources agent in Lee County. She and her sister are the fourth generation to help run her family’s farm. The Discussion Meet competition is designed to simulate a committee meeting in which discussion and active participation is expected from each contestant. Competitors are judged on their discussion skills, understanding of important agricultural issues and how well they build a consensus. Martin is works with the Virginia FFA and FFA Foundation, serving as a coach and mentor for local FFA chapters. He also serves on the Rockingham County Farm Bureau board of directors. He and his wife live on their farm in the Shenandoah Valley. Winners of the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award, Discussion Meet and Excellence in Agriculture Award will receive a new Ford truck or vehicle of equal value, along with paid registration to the 2019 Farm Bureau FUSION Conference, courtesy of Ford. The FUSION Conference will be held in March in Milwaukee, Wis. A second-place runner-up in each competition will receive a Case IH Farmall 50A tractor, courtesy of Case IH. Third-place finalists in each competition will receive a Case IH 40' Combination Roll Cabinet and Top Chest and $500 Case IH parts card, courtesy of Case IH. They also will receive $2,000 worth of Stanley Black & Decker merchandise (PROTO, DeWalt, Stanley, Lenox and Irwin), courtesy of Stanley Black & Decker. Fourth-place finalists in each competition will receive a Case IH 40' Combination Roll Cabinet and Top Chest and a $500 Case IH parts card, courtesy of Case IH.