KEARNEY, NEB. – Young farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness professionals from across Nebraska gathered in Kearney to connect with their peers, engage in meaningful conversation, and discover new opportunities in agriculture. The Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Conference held many insightful breakout sessions designed to bring value to a young person’s farm, ranch, or agribusiness career. At the end of the conference finalists were named in the Discussion Meet contest. The YF&R Conference was held Feb. 2-3 at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney.
“The YF&R Conference is designed by young farmers and ranchers for young farmers and ranchers to provide an opportunity for personal and professional growth in young agriculture professionals,” said Audrey Schipporeit Nebraska Farm Bureau’s director of generational engagement.
This year’s conference offered innovative local agriculture tours on Friday and a concert by Logan Mize. On Saturday, mental health in agriculture was the topic for keynote speaker Marshall Sewell. He explained that prioritizing mental health leads to an overall healthy life and gave easy solutions to make that prioritization a reality. The workshops brought together young people in agriculture with like-minded interests in cattle, sheep, marketing products from farm to plate, crop nutrition, and how to build the best balance for your farm or ranch.
“The YF&R Conference is my favorite opportunity to connect with people who share the same walk of life as me,” said new YF&R Committee Chair, Josh England of Hall County. “I appreciate that Farm Bureau provides us the opportunity to develop as leaders and learn from industry professionals how to better our farms and ranches.”
The annual Discussion Meet competition was held during the conference. It is designed to simulate a committee meeting that proposes solutions to an issue being discussed. Competitors are evaluated on their ability to provide innovative solutions, cooperatively engage in conversation, and position Farm Bureau as an agent of change. Contestants competed in two rounds of discussion to determine a final four.
The four finalists in the 2024 YF&R Discussion Meet contest are Lydia O’Brien of Arthur County, David Schuler of Morrill County, Katie Keller of Thomas County, and Cory Johnson of Loup County. These four individuals advanced to the NEFB YF&R Discussion Meet to be held at the 2024 NEFB Annual Meeting and Convention Dec. 9-11. Sheridan Swotek and Sean Krebs both of Buffalo County, were named alternates.
All four finalists received a $50 prize and a chance to compete nationally for $500 and an all-expense paid trip to represent Nebraska in the American Farm Bureau YF&R Discussion Meet in San Antonio, January 24-29, 2025. Farm Bureau members between the ages of 18 and 35 are eligible to compete in the YF&R Discussion Meet.
Retiring YF&R Committee members were recognized during the event and the new YF&R committee was announced. A big thank you goes out to retiring committee members David and Christy Schuler of Morrill County and Rebecca Wulf, student, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. The 2024 newly appointed YF&R Committee members are:
Josh & Jill England, Central Region, Chairs (Hall County)
- Lance & Krystal Atwater, Youth At-Large (Adams/Webster County)
- Matthew & Riley Erickson, Southeast Region (Johnson County)
- Grant Jones, Southwest Region (Chase County)
- Parker Jessen, Northwest Region (Morrill County)
- Daniel Hasart, North Central Region (Cherry County)
- Courtney Nelson, Northeast Region (Madison County)
- Joe & Jaden Melnick, South Central Region (Adams/Webster County)
- Ryan & Amy Musgrave, At-Large (Clay County)
- Abygail Streff, Student (University of Nebraska – Lincoln)
- Carson Maricle, Student (University of Nebraska – Lincoln)
If you are interested in learning more about the Young Farmers and Ranchers program, contact Audrey Schipporeit at email@example.com.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau is a grassroots, state-wide 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.