TECUMSEH — Cooper Kline, North Rock Creek FFA, placed first in his category at the American Farmers & Ranchers (AFR) Central District Speech Contest held in Tecumseh, Nov. 7. He competed in the Junior AFR/OFU category.

This marks the 75th year of the contest. The event has gone through many changes over the years, but has always maintained its central agricultural theme. Varying by grade level, this year’s speech categories are AFR/OFU, Ag Advocacy and Policy, Agribusiness, Natural Resources, and Science. All students, grades fourth through 12th, are eligible to compete.

Nearly 500 students will compete in AFR District Speech Contests, resulting in more than 160 finalists advancing to the state contest held Dec. 7 at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in Stillwater.

“Public speaking is one of the most valuable skills young people can gain for their future careers,” said AFR/OFU Cooperative President Scott Blubaugh. “We are honored to host the 75th Annual AFR Speech Contest, which has a long-standing tradition of fostering professionalism and confidence in Oklahoma’s youth.”

The AFR Annual Speech Contest is just one of many AFR/OFU Youth Program traditions. The organization also hosts a youth leadership summit, statewide scholarships, livestock judging and grading competitions, and many other development opportunities. For more information on how to participate in the AFR Annual Speech Contest or other youth activities, visit the AFR/OFU Cooperative website at www.afrcoop.org.