Parking Places Hard to Find
By Jake Putnam, Idaho Farm Bureau Federation Writer
(BURLEY) The 2008 Young Farmer and Rancher Leadership Conference got off to one of its best starts ever at the Best Western Burley Inn January 24th-26th. More than 110 members registered and attended Thursday’s dinner dance with the band Crossfire.
“We’re excited about this meeting because this is the biggest attendance we have had,” said new YF and R committee chairman Chris Dalley. “We have people here from all over the state.”
The Best Western was packed with cars and pickups with license plates from most every county, members scrambled for the prized parking spaces out front and Perkins restaurant on site was busy throughout the two day conference.
“We’re growing every year and I tip my hat to the county YF and R chairmen. They’re the ones bringing people here and making them excited about coming. We’re showing them that Farm Bureau does more than sell insurance,” added Dalley. “We have a big voice in farming and ranching and we’re an important part of agriculture.”
In the Young Farmer and Rancher group, members work live and breathe production agriculture. Their ages range between 18 and 35 and they not only raise crops and livestock but also work in a myriad of agri-businesses everything from education and banking, to co-ops and trucking.
“YF and R members develop leadership skills while also volunteering as active, vital members of their county Farm Bureaus,” said Idaho Farm Bureau President Frank Priestley. “Members are a vital part of Farm Bureau because of their dedication, enthusiasm and agriculture advocacy.” Priestley was active in YF and R and many others have gone on to be Idaho Ag Leaders. Leadership cultivation is a responsibility is a priority to the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation.
“Our workshops with Bill Mendenhall and our financial workshops are important to members,” said Dalley. “We come to these conferences and find out along the way that we’re not here just to have fun. We’re here to network, but more importantly we’re here to better ourselves and make our operations go smoother.”
Kids are welcome at all meetings and the family friendly atmosphere is a big draw for members that can’t leave the kids home with a sitter. YF and R members can be seen in the halls going from meeting to meeting with kids in their arms. Dalley says this is the only agriculture organization that encourages young parents to bring the kids.
“We just want to raise our kids on a ranch; we all do it’s a lifestyle we’re choosing and we’re all in it together, mom, dad and the kids. I’m encouraged by the enthusiasm I’m seeing,” said Dalley.
Dalley says the Farm Bureau’s YF and R organization is dynamic, progressive, and constantly changing and that’s the key to drawing people to the organization. To keep the enthusiasm up Dalley and the other leaders are making meetings a social, learning experience. It’s working in Burley; members dined and danced, attended the field trips and seminars and tackled issues. And in the coming year the YF and R will meet with state and congressional lawmakers; promoting their commodity and their industry to their friends, community and the world.