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Spreading knowledge of regional agriculture

Farm Bureau is full of great opportunities for all ages. This past February, I had the opportunity to attend the Young Farmer and Rancher Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

During the conference, I met amazing people from all over the country and was able to learn about their regions’ agriculture. Some of the most exciting aspects that differed regionally were how in West Virginia, only a small handful of farmers still do small square bales while many others are switching to large round bales because those who do small square bales are struggling to find help. Then all the way to Idaho, it was terrific to hear that when they harvest the potatoes, the farmers and community will take their own trucks out to the field and load up the potatoes that are not store worthy and use them personally. Then there were discussions about the weather because those from southern states said how cold it was. In contrast, those from Montana and other northern states talked about how cold it gets during the winters because of the winds and the amount of snow they get.

While there is American Farm Bureau, each state’s farm bureau is facing issues and their own challenges. Some of the different issues that we talked about were being able to find help to do farm work, the EPA and how to bring awareness about agriculture to all ages. At the conference, we were able to talk about challenges as by sharing success stories and brainstorming ideas to overcome the challenges.

The conference also had breakout sessions about promoting small local businesses both at the local level and on a larger scale. Another session that was important was how to encourage those who are 18 to 35 to join Farm Bureau as fewer and fewer members are joining in that age range joining each year. This age group is the future of agriculture, and many do not realize all the opportunities Farm Bureau offers.

Farm Bureau offers a sense of community at the local, state and national level. During the conference, the evening activities and tours of local points of interest helped to culture the sense of community among the delegates. From the Kentucky Derby Museum to swing dancing after dinner, it was amazing to watch the unique style each state delegates exhibited with dancing, storytelling and building friendships. Overall, the conference was an amazing experience in which I met people from all over the country and learned more about helping to improve our local Farm Bureau.

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