Phoenix, once known for the Suns, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Arizona Cardinals, the Arizona State Sun Devils, and the Phoenix Coyotes, is now known for the American Farm Bureau National Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference.
This past Thursday a group of young agriculturists, ag nerd included, from Missouri State flew to Phoenix to broaden their insights about agriculture. Since the conference did not start until Saturday, we had some time to chill and explore around the resort. After a quick exploration, I did what I do best – meet new friends and continue to network with friends from the past. It was exciting for me to finally meet some of my facebook friends I had never met, face to face. Social medial has allowed me the opportunity to link up with fellow agriculturists that share the same passion for agriculture that I do.
Mr. Bob Stallman, President of American Farm Bureau began the conference with an opening statement regarding the importance of young farmers and ranchers to the Farm Bureau membership. Following his welcoming speech, I continued to seize the opportunity at hand of meeting new people, and reconnecting with past acquaintances.
After the opening session, breakout sessions began which consisted of a variety of topics. The session I attended Saturday morning, had a panel which discussed the different aspects of the Farm Bill from dairies, to food health and security, to crop insurance and commodities. The participants of the panel was as diverse as the topics they discussed representing the states of Pennsylvania, California, Michigan and Arkansas. As a young agriculturist, if asked, I am now better prepared to answer questions about the Farm Bill.
The afternoon breakout session discussed social media and how telling “our story” is important. Saturday’s keynote speaker was a naval officer who talked about keeping “your ship” in shipshape condition and how leading by example can turn the worst ship to best ship. If the leader is vested in the ship, then the fellow shipmates take pride in their ownership of the ship, too.
Sunday began by cheering on one of our own agriculture students from Missouri State University in the National Discussion Meet. After learning about farm transitions from an economics professor, people went to different sessions. I attended a much needed session about biotechnology. I learned a lot about how to explain what biotechnology included and most importantly why it is needed in today’s agriculture. There will be a future blog about biotechnology!
Sunday night ended with a banquet, a “fire-drill”, and the retiring address of Glen Cope, fellow Missourian and American Farm Bureau National YF&R Chair. Glen then passed the gavel to Zach Hunnicutt, from Nebraska. The night ended with music and good times.
As with any good story, the last chapter, titled “Monday morning” has the group of young agriculturists from Missouri State leaving the heat and sun and flying back home to snow and colder weather!
Rock ON Farm ON,
The Ag Nerd