Hundreds of Hoosiers traveled to Indianapolis this past weekend for the annual Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ag Professionals Conference, an opportunity for education and networking for INFB members under 40 years of age.
Conference programming focused on sessions to motivate and prepare young agriculture professionals for success as their careers develop. The keynote address was given by Paul Long, a motivational speaker with Fundamism in Kansas City. Breakout session topics ranged from retirement planning for young farmers to entrepreneurship in agriculture.
Alongside keynote and breakout sessions, several INFB members and county YF&AP programs were honored for their accomplishments in 2019.
Most notably, Fulton County Farm Bureau’s YF&AP program was recognized with the Outstanding County Young Farmers & Ag Professionals Award, given to the top program in the state. The county YF&AP chairs, Kevin and Kim Burton, will receive an expenses-paid trip to the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Conference in Louisville, Kentucky in March.
Many of Fulton County’s YF&AP programs for 2019 took place at their county fair. Burton says the county fair is a great place for programming for the county Farm Bureau because it involves the broader community.
“This year we partnered with our county fair board to coordinate and manage several events, including an Ag Olympics during the fair,” said Burton. “We do it to get more people involved and to show the community, especially young people, what Farm Bureau is all about. We’re a grassroots organization, so we start with grassroots events like the fair.”
Burton says that their county’s YF&AP program has led to an increase in younger members on the county board.
“Our goal is to get younger people involved,” said Burton. “We have a great county board that really backs our program and sees the value in it.”
Spencer and Vanderburgh county Farm Bureaus were runners-up for the award.
Gibson County Farm Bureau was recognized as the Most Improved Young Farmers & Ag Professionals Program this year. This is based on a comparison of activities over the past three years and how the activities and programs of that county’s YF&AP program have improved.
Three county YF&AP programs were recognized for their contributions to Feeding America, a nonprofit with a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that feed more than 46 million people. Jasper County Farm Bureau donated the most non-perishable food items, a total of 5,500 pounds of food and Kosciusko County Farm Bureau donated the most money to Feeding America, donating $1,500. Johnson County Farm Bureau donated the most time to Feeding America, with 40 hours donated.
In addition, a new state YF&AP chair, vice chair and secretary took office at the conference. Deidra Gottbrath of Washington County will serve as chair for 2020, Daniel Stauffer of Wabash County will serve as vice chair and Courtney Rude Lamie of Marion County will serve as secretary. The committee also welcomed the following district YF&AP leaders to serve a two-year term.
District 1: Rex and Kim Daugherty, Lake County.
District 3: Bryan and Corina Brant, Tippecanoe County.
District 5: Tyler and Katie Wilson, Montgomery County.
District 7: Matthew and Amanda Wall, Owen County.
District 9: Layne and Taylor Koester, Posey County.
For more information on the program, visit INFB’s website.