KEARNEY, NEB. – More than 200 young farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness professionals from across the state gathered in Kearney to gain valuable insights into agriculture trends, career opportunities, and knowledge on leading issues facing young farmers and ranchers in Nebraska, all while building a strong network of lifelong allies needed to thrive in agriculture. The Nebraska Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Conference was held Jan. 27-28 at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney.
The YF&R Conference is the only conference in Nebraska that is specifically designed for young farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness professionals. This year’s conference offered local tours, innovative breakout sessions, inspiring keynote speaker, Discussion Meet contest, and more.
“The YF&R Conference is a great opportunity to share ideas and network with people who may be facing the same struggles as a young farmer or rancher,” said Joe Melnick, YF&R Committee Chair. “Coming together at an event like this means we are developing strong leaders for the agriculture community and communities across the state.”
Four finalists in the YF&R Discussion Meet contest were named after competing in preliminary rounds during the 2023 YF&R Conference.
Sean Krebs of Clearwater, Joe Melnick of Ayr, Amy Musgrave of Ong, and Sheridan Swotek of Kearney advanced to the final round of the Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) YF&R Discussion Meet to be held at the 2023 NEFB Annual Convention in December.
Rather than debating, contestants work to develop a solution to a problem being discussed, building on each other’s contributions. Competitors in the annual contest must be prepared to speak on any number of agriculture-related topics; the selected question is announced a short time prior to the contest round. Finalists received the top scores of contestants after competing in two rounds of the Discussion Meet at the YF&R Conference.
Daniel Hasart of Wood Lake and Carson Rathje of Rising City were named alternates.
Finalists received a $50 prize and a chance to compete for $500 and an all-expenses paid trip to represent Nebraska in the American Farm Bureau YF&R Discussion Meet in Salt Lake City in January 2024. Farm Bureau members between the ages of 18 and 35 are eligible to compete in the Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet.
Adam and Kaylyn Venteicher, Pierce County Farm
Bureau members, were recognized as Nebraska’s
representatives for the Achievement in Agriculture
Award at the Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R)
competitive events during the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention.
Clay Patton, a Dawson County Farm Bureau member, competed in the YF&R Discussion Meet, advancing to the Sweet 16 Round.
Retiring YF&R Committee members were also recognized during the event. Tyler and Alysha Ramsey of Kenesaw, Adam and Kaylyn Venteicher of Pierce, Sye Tecker of Parks, Desarae Porter of Thedford, and Tatum Brumkow of Lincoln.
The 2023 YF&R Committee members are:
- Joe & Jaden Melnick, South Central Region, Chairs (Adams/Webster County)
- Lance & Krystal Atwater, Youth At-Large Directors (Adams/Webster County)
- Matthew Erickson, Southeast Region (Johnson County)
- Grant Jones, Southwest Region (Chase County)
- David and Christy Schuler, Northwest Region (Morrill County)
- Daniel Hasart, North Central Region (Cherry County)
- Courtney Nelson, Northeast Region (Madison County)
- Josh & Jill England, Central Region (Hall County)
- Ryan and Amy Musgrave, At-Large (Clay County)
- Abygail Streff, Student (University of Nebraska – Lincoln)
- Rebecca Wulf, Student (University of Nebraska – Lincoln)
The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to supporting farm and ranch families and working for the benefit of all Nebraskans through a wide variety of educational, service and advocacy efforts. More than 55,000 families across Nebraska are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve rural and urban prosperity as agriculture is a key fuel to Nebraska’s economy. For more information about Nebraska Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit www.nefb.org.