Fresno State junior Tim Truax of Turlock was honored as the national champion of the American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers Collegiate Discussion Meet on Feb. 17 and 18 at its annual conference in Reno.
A Fresno State agricultural education major, Truax earned a $2,250 scholarship for his ability to analyze industry issues and create solutions. The competition had 58 entrants from across the nation. The other three finalists included Elli Isbell from Alabama, Lauren Heberling from Michigan and Annie Schwartz from Florida.
“The competition was a great way for college students to critically examine issues from conflicting perspectives, and being able to bridge the differences is something that benefits everybody in the industry,” Truax said.
Truax is a first-year Fresno State student who graduated from Modesto Junior College in the spring of 2017. He is also a member of the university’s livestock judging team and the newest cohort of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology honors program that was announced in December.
Truax credits Dr. Steven Rocca, Fresno State agricultural education faculty and discussion team adviser, as being the person who drew him to Fresno State.
“Being a Central Valley kid, born and raised, I wouldn’t trade the chance to attend college anywhere else,” said Truax. “I have gained much insight from very talented professors here who know the industry.”
“Tim’s presentation and ability to facilitate the discussion was very impressive,” said Rocca. “He showed great leadership skills and kept his cool in times that were stressful.”
Truax qualified for the national final after winning the state discussion competition in 2017. Last spring, he was also selected as Modesto Junior College’s outstanding agriculture student and gave the college’s commencement address. He is a former FFA state officer and was active in 4-H as a youth raised on his family’s horse-boarding facility.
Truax is the fifth Jordan College student to represent California in the national competition under the guidance of Rocca, who has served as the discussion team adviser since joining the Animal Sciences and Agricultural Education Department faculty full-time in 2005. Recent alumnus Hunter Berry was one of four national finalists in 2017, while three other Fresno State students have won national titles: Levy Randolph (2015), Tino Rossi (2011) and Molly Fagundes (2004).
After he receives his bachelor’s degree, Truax hopes to earn a master’s degree, and then teach high school agricultural education.