“You are a part of something bigger than you are.”
Those were the inspiring words of Wayne Humphreys during his opening keynote at the 2016 Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer Conference this past weekend. Held in Indianapolis, the conference brought together more than 500 young farmers and Ag professionals like myself to learn from industry experts (and each other) on hot topics within the agriculture industry.
At the conference I was joined by five other Marion County Young Ag Professionals. On Friday evening we participated in a new volunteer event to help Gleaners Food Bank – “CANstruction”. We teamed up with the rest of District 6 to create a structure out of cans and decorate it for a competition. Attendees would then vote on their favorite during the conference. There were some really creative creations, but I am proud to announce that our district was voted the winning structure! All of the cans were donated to Gleaner’s after the conference.
Saturday we spent the day attending breakout sessions and recognizing county chapters for their outstanding work during this past year. The breakouts I attended included two round-table discussions on livestock issues and niche markets, as well as a social media session from Brian Scott of The Farmer’s Life on how to effectively communicate your farm story on social media.
All of these breakouts brought some great discussion, updates on current industry topics, and beneficial facts to take back to our jobs and farms.
To wrap up the conference, we enjoyed some evening entertainment with a live auction, Ag Olympics, and performance by country band, Darlington Road.
Leaving the conference I reflected back on something Wayne Humphrey’s said at the start of the day.
“Agriculture is becoming more complicated. Not only because of new technologies, but also because of the challenge of communicating about them and educating consumers. But we’re doing the best we can with what we have in this day. When something new arises, we find out what it is, we visit, we learn, and we grow together.”
His message coupled perfectly with the theme of this year’s conference: United We Grow. And that is exactly what we did – we visited, we learned, and we grew to become better agriculturalists.
Thank you to Marion County Farm Bureau for giving us the opportunity to attend and expand our leadership in agriculture.