Iowa Farm Bureau Young Farmers Conference – Lifelong learning and friendships
04.05.18 Amber Selman
When you’re a young farmer, sometimes you can feel alone. Like you’re the only one going through what you’re going through. But when you mingle with more than 500 young farmers like yourself at the Iowa Farm Bureau Young Farmers Conference, all that goes away. You quickly feel rejuvenated, full of new ideas and, if it’s possible, even more passionate about the industry we’re in.
My husband and I recently attended our 10th young farmer’s conference hosted by the Iowa Farm Bureau. Every year the conference gets bigger and better. This year was no exception. We came home with a ton of ideas to help make our dream of farming a reality.
From crop marketing to leadership and banking to transition plans, the two-day conference is jam-packed with information. One of the sessions focused on how to bring additional value to your farm, especially when bringing in other family members. Multi-generational farms shared success stories with hoop houses and tourism opportunities. As a soon to be multi-generational farm we are always looking for ways to increase our farm’s value.
Hitting close to the heart was a session on farm families. A panel of farm wives shared thoughts on balancing farm, family and community involvement. Being a new mom, this was one of my favorite sessions. Before attending, I felt like I was all alone on this balancing rock but turns out we are all here for each other, and we are not alone. Sometimes it can be difficult trying to juggle it all.
Building Leaders for our Future was a session focused on enhancing leadership skills; a great asset in family, at work and on the farm. From advocacy to team building, we learned we all share a common thread in agriculture and passion for what we do.
Never overestimate the value of learning from other farms and their families. I look forward to putting some new ideas from the 2018 Iowa Farm Bureau Young Farmers Conference into play on our family farm.