If you’re a young farmer in Michigan looking for farm management insight and business advice, as well learning more on the latest technology in agriculture, check your calendar for Feb. 21-23 and make plans to attend Michigan Farm Bureau’s 2020 Young Farmer Leaders Conference.
In addition to picking up valuable business and leadership skills through 15 breakout educational sessions, attendees will have the opportunity to visit with industry experts and network with nearly 350 other young farmers from across the state while exploring the Traverse City, Mich., area.
Registration opened Jan. 6 for the three-day event at Grand Traverse Resort near Traverse City. Young Farmers ages 18 to 35 interested in attending have until Jan. 17 to register through their county Farm Bureau office.
Here’s what’s on tap:
The conference kicks off Feb. 21 with optional tours, each ending with a destination dinner. Three distinct tour tracks offer a different look into the region’s diverse agricultural landscape:
Wine, Brew & Value. Explore the Grand Traverse area’s burgeoning wine and spirits industry at Black Star Farms, Ethanology distillery, and its supplier Cherry Ke Inc.
Trust the Process. See innovative food-product processing and distribution at the Long Lake Culinary Campus, a once-vacant elementary school turned collaborative food hub, and Cherry Capital Foods, a distributor of Michigan food products.
When Nature Calls. Visit Boardman River Nature Center and explore some of its expansive nature trails, learn how Grand Traverse Conservation District cares for the region’s bountiful natural resources, and hear an update on the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy’s efforts to protect land and shoreline.
Saturday’s agenda is packed with 15 breakout sessions covering topics such as stress management, relationship building within farm families, and business strategies for covering assets. View the full agenda and workshop details online and plan your choices ahead of time.
The day finishes with another tough choice between three entertainment options: an organized cornhole and euchre tournament; an on-site painting party with Painting with a Twist; or free shuttles to nearby Turtle Creek Casino.
Opportunities for deeper exploration of three key young farmer priorities round out the conference on Feb. 23.
Mapping out a plan to keep your farm in the family for future generations. Ron Hanson, Harlan Agribusiness professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska, lays out the fundamentals of sound succession planning for transferring farm ownership between generations.
Economic challenges, financial opportunities. Aaron Hollister, a financial adviser with Schaefer & Hollister Wealth Management Group, and Mike McKeown, a partner in McKeown | Kraai Professional CPAs, help simplify financial strategies available to modern farms.
Connecting the workplace and life through F.U.N. workshop. Speaker, author and educator Paul Long walks his audience through maximizing experience, improving communication and mitigating distractions in an engaging workshop sure to drive behavioral change.
For more information — and to register before Jan. 17 — visit the Young Farmer Leaders Conference website at michfb.com/mi/yflc or contact your county Farm Bureau office.