Some 300 young farmers and young professionals in agribusiness gather each year in Indianapolis for the Farm Bureau Young Farmer leadership conference. The weekend event provides educational sessions geared to this age group, and also features speakers and award recognition programs.
Farm Bureau young farmers are members of Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc., and are between the ages of 18 and 35. Many attend program activities at both the county and state level as couples. County organizations are typically family friendly groups. In many counties, the president of the Farm Bureau Young Farmer sin that County sets on the overall Farm Bureau Inc. Farm Bureau Board while he or she is president.
Local activities usually include a range of social, educational and service-oriented programs. County Young Farmer groups within Farm Bureau might sponsor a movie night for members, then later in the year have a meeting with a speaker. They also typically become heavily involved in at least one community service project, sometimes in coordination with the local adult Farm Bureau Board of Directors, and sometimes on their own.
County groups who are active are encouraged to document their efforts on paper and compete for recognition at the annual conference of Farm Bureau Young Farmers each year. This year, three counties were recognized for having outstanding Farm Bureau Young Farmer programs, according to Mindy Reef, a communication specialist with Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc.
Those counties recognized in 2012 for outstanding service include Jasper, Marion and LaPorte. Jasper County won the top honor, with Marion and LaPorte named honorable mention county groups. Note that very few farmers live in Marion County, yet their county Young Farm Bureau Young Farmer group was recognized as one of the best.
Another award for a county group is also presented each year, Reef notes. It goes to the county Farm Bureau Young Farmer group which has shown the most improvement. It’s based on a comparison of the activities of the group today vs. what the group was doing three years ago. Rush County won that honor.
In addition Wells and Jennings County both received the Awakening award. Reef says this award goes to counties with new Young Farmer programs, or to counties whose Young Farmer program had not been entered in the contest ion the past three years.Finally, counties were recognized for their work in the Feeding America program. Warren County Young Farmers donated the most pounds of food, Marion County the most volunteer time, and Johnson County raised the most money.