(L-R) Amy Musgrave of Ong, Lydia Vinton of Whitman, Clay Patton of Lexington, Joe Melnick of Ayr.
KEARNEY, NEB. – 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. 28-29 at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney.
For nearly four decades, the YF&R Conference has been a great way for young farmers and ranchers in Nebraska to network and share ideas. This year’s conference offered local tours, innovative breakout sessions, inspiring keynote speaker, Discussion Meet contest, and more.
Four finalists in the YF&R Discussion Meet contest were named after competing in preliminary rounds during the 2022 YF&R Conference.
Joe Melnick of Ayr, Amy Musgrave of Ong, Clay Patton of Lexington, and Lydia Vinton of Whitman advanced to the final round of the Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) YF&R Discussion Meet to be held at the next NEFB Annual Convention, Dec. 4-6, 2022.
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.
Melnick is an Adams/Webster County Farm Bureau member who is an agribusiness professional, working for Green Clover Seed. He currently serves on the Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee. Melnick, along with his wife Jaden and their son Jedidiah, have a small acreage where they raise goats.
Musgrave is a Clay County Farm Bureau member. She and her husband operate a diversified livestock operation. She also works as a statistician, assisting in the estimation and production of various United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports.
Patton is a Dawson County Farm Bureau member. He is the Market Anchor for the Rural Radio Network at KRVN and his wife, Janell, is a vet tech in their community. They live on a small acreage where they raise hay and goats.
Vinton is an Arthur County Farm Bureau member. She is a recent graduate with a degree in Agriculture Education. Vinton lives on the family ranch where she helps with the cow/calf day-to-day operations.
Cory Johnson of Burwell and Sean Krebs of Clearwater were named alternates.
Finalists received a $50 prize and a chance to compete for $500 and an all-expenses paid trip to compete in the American Farm Bureau Discussion Meet in Puerto Rico in January 2023. Farm Bureau members between the ages of 18 and 35 are eligible to compete in the Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet. For more information, visit www.nefb.org/yfr.
Retiring YF&R Committee members were also recognized during the event. Brady and Katie Revels of Valley, Alec and Meredith Ibach of Sumner, Luke and Erin Norman of Crawford, and Emily Reitz of Lincoln each completed their term.
The 2022 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)
- Sye Tecker, Southwest Region (Dundy County)
- David Schuler, Northwest Region (Morrill County)
- Desarae Porter, North Central Region (Thomas County)
- Adam & Kaylyn Venteicher, Northeast Region (Pierce County)
- Josh & Jill England, Central Region (Hall County)
- Tyler & Alysha Ramsey, At-Large (Adams/Webster County)
- Tatum Brunkow, 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 nefb.org.