LINCOLN, Neb. – Today’s consumers have many questions about agriculture and plenty of misperceptions to go with them. At the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation’s Making the Connection Conference held June 5 in Kearney, educators and agriculture professionals explored tools to help students and consumers understand how agriculture impacts their everyday life. More than 100 people attended the bi-annual conference and presenting sponsor Buffalo County Farm Bureau made free registration possible for all.
“With the average American at least three or four generations removed from the farm or ranch, today’s students and consumers have real questions about how their food is grown and whether production practices align with their values. This conference brought together farmers, ranchers, and agriculture professionals with educators in a setting that encouraged transparency, relationships, and future engagement,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director for the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation.
Keynote Speaker, Dr. David Mouser, provided perspective on the lasting impact that we all can make on students and each other. His message focused on leadership, motivation, and the importance of finding purpose through impacting others in a positive way. The “Taste of Nebraska” lunch showcased Nebraska’s agricultural commodities and businesses via lunch table hosts representing different commodities in Nebraska. Lunch also featured a panel discussion about common consumer misconceptions and how to address them.
Diane Starns is a kindergarten teacher at Ashland-Greenwood Elementary and is always looking for new ways to engage her students. She attended the Making the Connection conference and walked away with new ideas to share with her students about the importance of agriculture.
“This has been such a valuable conference to attend. It provided me with new tools to use in my classroom and reinforced how easy the resources are to use. I’m not even going to wait until fall. I found a fun activity to lead at our community celebration, Stirrup Days, next month.” Starns said.
Andra Smith is chair of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Promotion and Education Committee. The committee is charged with building stronger relationships with those who don’t understand where or how their food is grown.
“Our committee is made up of farmers and ranchers, and we are called to communicate the many contributions that agriculture makes in our society. This conference was a perfect place for us to share our perspective and give people the right tools to tell agriculture’s wonderful story,” Smith said.
Twelve breakout sessions highlighted how participants can use Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation resources, learn more about Nebraska and National Agriculture in the Classroom, serve as an Ag Pen Pal, and engage student and consumers in their communities.
Buffalo County Farm Bureau proudly sponsored the Making the Connection Conference and supports the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation for their efforts to identify common ground between agriculture and today’s students and consumers.
“Farmers and ranchers do not always have the time to connect with consumers, and we must make that a priority. This conference provided us with great information and an easy way to connect with students and consumers. We are grateful for the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation and all the great volunteers who made this day a huge success,” said Brock Elsen, president of the Buffalo County Farm Bureau.
The mission of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is to engage youth, educators, and the general public to promote an understanding of the vital importance of agriculture in the lives of all Nebraskans. The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. For more information about the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, visit www.nefbfoundation.org.
— Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation