INDIANAPOLIS — The annual Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ag Professionals Conference took place this past weekend in Noblesville, Ind. The conference provides an opportunity for education and networking for INFB members under the age of 40.
Conference programming focused on sessions to motivate and prepare young agriculture professionals for success as their careers develop. The keynote address was given by Matt Rush, former CEO of New Mexico Farm Bureau and past president of the Ethos Leadership Group, and Danna Larson, entrepreneur and podcast host of Rural Revival. Breakout session topics ranged from farm emergency planning and financial resources to estate planning and emerging technologies.
Alongside keynote and breakout sessions, several INFB members and county YF&AP programs were honored for their accomplishments in 2022.
Most notably, Spencer 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. Spencer County Farm Bureau will receive $1,000 to create a new YF&AP program/event or improve an existing program.
Many of Spencer County’s YF&AP programs for 2022 focused on philanthropy and educating youth about agriculture. Their YF&AP committee coordinated food donation to a local food pantry to reduce hunger and benefit the community. They also organized a “Springtime on the Farm” event around Ag Day where local elementary schools had the opportunity to learn about a variety of ag topics, including how corn and soybeans are grown, animal education, farm safety and conservation.
“The Spencer County YF&AP program is honored to win this award,” said Chelsea O’Brien, Spencer County YF&AP chair. “We look forward to putting the funds towards this year’s ‘Springtime on the Farm’ event and reinvesting back into our YF&AP program so we can increase involvement and bring more young farmers and ag professionals on board.”
Decatur and Henry county Farm Bureaus were runners-up for the award and will receive $500 each.
Henry 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 two years and how the activities and programs of that county’s YF&AP program have improved.
County YF&AP programs also were recognized for their contributions to Feeding America, a nonprofit with a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that feed more than 40 million people. Spencer County Farm Bureau donated the most non-perishable food items, with a total of 54 pounds of food. Decatur County Farm Bureau donated the most money and time to Feeding America, with over $4,900 more than 100 hours donated.
In addition, a new state YF&AP chair, vice chair and secretary took office at the conference. Kyla Schroeder of Perry County will serve as chair for 2023, Kent Burton of Fulton County will serve as vice chair and Lyle Burkhalter of Clinton County will serve as secretary. The committee also welcomed the following district YF&AP leaders to serve two-year terms.
- District 2: Robert and Jessica Schuler, Noble County
- District 4: Jessica Baggerman, Huntington County
- District 6: Jason Carey, Hancock County
- District 8: Kurt and Kylie Jones, Shelby County
- District 10: Brock and Laura Kiesler, Washington County
For more information on the program, visit INFB’s website.
— Indiana Farm Bureau