The California Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) program represented the state at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual Leadership Conference in Reno, Nevada that took place February 16 through 19. The event featured several workshops focused on leadership and on-farm topics, and also provided excellent networking opportunities.
“We were fortunate to have over 100 attendees from California go to the conference,” said Lindsey Liebig, Director of the California YF&R and Leadership Farm Bureau program, “which was, for many of them, their first experience at an American Farm Bureau event.”
One of the many activities that took place was the Collegiate Discussion Meet, which is a competitive event that is hosted every year. “The discussion meet is meant to simulate a committee discussion within Farm Bureau. It’s centered around five different questions that the contestants will have an opportunity to discuss,” Liebig said. “It’s really meant to be a problem solving, solution building discussion on some tough issues.”
Tim Truax of Fresno State represented California in the competition and became the 2018 Collegiate Discussion Meet National Winner out of 59 contestants from across the nation. Truax is the third student from Fresno State, and the fourth Californian to win the national meet in the past seven years.
California also won several awards as part of the Harvest for All campaign, YF&R program designed to provide food to those in need across the U.S. In 2016, YF&R programs across the country spent over 9,000 hours volunteering and donated nearly 30 million pounds of food, along with $1.1 million to food banks. “California is very active in this program and consistently places in the top of the nation in various categories,” said Liebig.
This year, California young farmers and ranchers took home first place for the number of hours spent volunteering, with over 10,000 hours worked. A project from Kern County YF&R received one of three “Most Innovative” awards for their project allowing buyers of livestock at the Kern County Fair to donate the animal purchased directly to a food bank. The California YF&R programs donated more than 15 million pounds of food and received a second-place award. “The amount of food and funds raised just keeps expanding every single year, which allows us as farmers and ranchers to reach more people that are in need in our country,” Liebig said.
Listen to the interview below.