2019 Farm Bureau FUSION Conference

Breakout Sessions & Learning Sessions

We are excited to offer a variety of educational sessions and trainings to aid attendees in their professional development & agricultural operations. Check out some of the sessions already lined up!


Foundations of a Top Candidate, Jackie Mundt, Kanza Cooperative

Your college years can be some of the most important to your career. Make the most of this time to lay a foundation that will make you a top pick for jobs when you graduate. This session will teach you how to network, gain experience and be intentional about building your resume.


Written by: You!, Lisl H. Detlefsen, Author of Right This Very Minute 

 Julia Recko, American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture

Want to write a children's book? Interested in sharing your agricultural story with young readers? Learn about the types of books Feeding Minds Press is seeking and hear from Book of the Year author Lisl H. Detlefsen. Lisl will share how you can use your own experiences to inspire engaging stories.


Ignite a Spark in your County YF&R program, Wendy Kannel, Wisconsin Farm Bureau

Join us for a panel discussion on how to take your YF&R program to the next level.  Whether you are looking to start a program in your county or want to implement a few new activities, come to ask questions and learn from other Farm Bureau members. ALL members are welcome to attend.


Farm to Tablet - How to Up Your Social Media Game, Shiloh Perry, American Farm Bureau Federation

With the right strategy and dedication, social media can help us have a major influence. This session will focus on strategies to craft meaningful posts, engage with your audience and have productive conversations. Learn how to take your personal or business’ influence on social media to the next level.


You and Those New to Congress, Cody Lyon, American Farm Bureau Federation

In the 116th Congress, there will be newly elected members of Congress who need to hear from you. Learn the steps to successfully build a relationship, become a trusted resource and be a key advocate for lawmakers and staffs.


Amazon’s Impact on American Agriculture, Ryan Amberg, FELCO

We dive into the Amazon influence and how it has affected our agricultural system for better or for worse. This session will also identify how your farm business can use e-commerce to explore new markets and drive value-added product revenue.


Marketing on a Shoestring Budget, Danielle Clark, Mayberry Farms

From earned and social media to search engine optimization and content creation. We will focus on affordable or even FREE marketing tips and tools that we used to get our website to one million hits in just one month.


Building Lifetime Members, Judy Rupnow, MorganMeyers

Where’s your next member coming from and how do you keep them engaged?  As a membership organization, a growing and engaged membership is critical to your success.  Learn new ways to create lifetime members through meaningful intersections that instill loyalty and pride. 


Building Your Personal Brand, Judy Rupnow, MorganMeyers

Great brands are said to have personality, but do personalities have brands? Attributes that build product brand names also apply to individuals. What you say and do impacts your personal brand.  We will define your personal brand, then evaluate how you deliver on and reinforce your brand.


Tools to Maximize Your Financial Potential, Kalena Bruce, Integrity Squared

Learn about cloud technology that will revolutionize the way you make financial decisions for your operation. Get real time financial information and manage your finances not just your yields.  Learn how to use QuickBooks Online and find Apps that integrate with the software to make life easier.


Farming with Drones with the #droneguy, William Thiele, Thiele Dairy Farm

It's not a bird, it's not a plane, it's a drone! Drones are becoming a very useful tool in the world of agriculture. Learn and see how the #droneguy uses his drone to check crop conditions, check on livestock, and the many other uses that it has on the farm.


Ag & Showbiz, Amy France, PAL Class 9, Kansas Farm Bureau Member

                           Matt Niswander, PAL Class 9, Tennessee Farm Bureau Member

                           Becca Ferry, PAL Class 9, Utah Farm Bureau Member

Lights! Camera!  Action!  Every minute, more than 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. Is agriculture included? We are all familiar with the disheartening 2% statistic, and we’ve heard we need to tell our stories as farmers and ranchers.  Join us as we show you just how easy it is!  Grab your smart phones, bring your stories and get ready to show the real story of agriculture!   


Talk Saves Lives: Suicide Prevention, Gena Orlando, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

A community-based presentation that covers the general scope of suicide, the research on prevention, and what people can do to fight suicide. Attendees will learn the risk and warning signs of suicide, with special emphasis on rural and farming communities.


Making the New Tax Law Work for You, Rodger McEowen, Washburn University School of Law

This session will explain how young or beginning farmers and ranchers can take advantage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) for their farming and ranching businesses. The session will also examine how planning considerations for farm families are influenced by the TCJA.


Trust in Technology: How to Connect with Skeptics, Donna Moenning, The Center for Food Integrity (CFI)

It takes a new approach to earn trust with a skeptical public in the technology imperative to sustainably feed a growing population. In this interactive session CFI’s Donna Moenning digs into CFI’s trust model and three simple steps to a new path forward.


Crafting a Culture: Farm Bureau 2.0, Jamie Tiralla, All Ag Media

                                                                     Parker Welch, Maryland Farm Bureau

The need for Farm Bureau is just as strong today as it was 100 years ago, but the way we engage with members is vastly different. This panel will demonstrate how Farm Bureaus can leverage technology and media to bridge the generation divide and stay relevant through the next 100 years.


Training for a Volunteer Victory, Rick Henningfeld, American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture

Join the AFBFA in a 'train the trainer' style workshop to better understand the challenges and gather solutions for successfully equipping volunteers interested in sharing about agriculture. Leave with ready-to-implement training for volunteers.


Leading the Discussion About Agriculture, Kim Bremmer, Ag Inspirations LLC

As consumers become further removed from farming, the voices of farmers and ranchers are more important than ever in leading the discussion about how food is grown and raised. Come for a hands-on communication training in answering the tough questions and building confidence in your message.


GMO: a Made-Up Word with Big Consequences, Valerie Bayes, Bayer Company

                                                                                          Larry Gilbertson, Bayer Company

What if the agricultural community has been misusing the infamous acronym “G-M-O”?  In this hands-on session, attendees will learn the nuances of this term as well as gain hands-on tools that will enable them to do more meaningful outreach.


Extending the Enterprise via a New Advocacy Model, David Lusk, Key Advocacy

Why are more organizations than ever before creating and cultivating advanced advocacy programs? They are benefiting well beyond success in the policy arena. Learn how these programs are proving a worthy investment of time and resources, and why your association should follow their lead.


Magnetic Marketing, James O’Brien, PAL Class 9, Texas Farm Bureau Member

                                        Tyson Roberts, PAL Class 9, Utah Farm Bureau Member

                                         Jamie Tiralla, PAL Class 9, Maryland Farm Bureau Member

For agriculture to succeed, we need to have profitable farm businesses. Direct marketing presents a unique opportunity for farmers to create meaningful relationships that connect customers with agriculture. Find out the tools you need to create a magnetic marketing strategy.


Why Advocate? Why PAL?, Angi Bailey, PAL Class 9, Oregon Farm Bureau Member

                                                   John Boelts, PAL Class 9, Arizona Farm Bureau Member

                                                   April Clayton, PAL Class 9, Washington Farm Bureau Member

                                                   Amelia Kent, PAL Class 9, Louisiana Farm Bureau Member

Today, farmers and ranchers represent less than 2% of the population, so we need to step up, speak up and have our voices heard.  It’s easy to speak to friends and neighbors who share similar views. This session will showcase how the Partners in Advocacy Leadership (PAL) Program equips its participants to share their stories with consumers, media outlets and policy makers. Along the way, class members transform into Advocate Powerhouses! Get a flavor of PAL--what it means to be a participant and the benefits of this premier leadership program for farmers and ranchers across the country.


Public Policy Overview, Paul Schlegal, American Farm Bureau Federation

AFBF represents farmers and ranchers in all fifty states and Puerto Rico on a variety of issues important to American agriculture.  The issues include farm policy and risk management programs, bioengineering, renewable fuels, agricultural trade, taxes, immigration, rural development, regulatory reform, waters of the U.S., sustainability, the Endangered Species Act, along with their economic analyses. The AFBF board approved the 2019 Strategic Action Plan after the delegates finalized policy in New Orleans.  AFBF’s Paul Schlegel will provide an overview and a more in-depth discussion of priority issues and the outlook in the current Congress. 


The Opioid Crisis in Rural America – Keeping our Farm Families Healthy & Safe

     Ruth Meirick, Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation

     Matt Niswander, Nurse Practitioner, Tennessee Farm Bureau Member

     Colbie Niswander, Tennessee Farm Bureau Member

What causes more deaths than motor vehicle crashes and gun violence combined? Opioids. Deaths related to opioid use have increased two-fold in the last decade. Rural America is being hit especially hard, and 74% of rural Americans say they have been impacted by opioid addiction. In this session, hear from individuals impacted by opioid addition, and how you can join the fight with your county and state Farm Bureaus. Everyone needs to have a FarmTownStrong community!


Hiring the Best, Forgetting the Rest, Jacob Smoker, G&D Smoker Farm

How do you find, interview and train the best people? This session will provide you with skills for sorting and reading resumes, getting people to tell you things they wouldn't tell their mother during the interview, and keeping them with training.


The Legacy, Dr. Paige Pratt, Virginia Farm Bureau

Dreams are dreamt, legacies are built and fighting ensues. Learn communication tips, ideas for a successful business model and ways to maintain relationships through the succession planning process. Gain insight and share in the humor of Dr. Pratt’s experiences surviving two farm family transitions.


Field to Fork Face-Off, AFBF Promotion & Education (P&E) Committee

The Farm Bureau “Field to Fork Face-Off” game is a Family Feud-style game that uses the opinions of youth, consumers and Farm Bureau members to test players’ knowledge of the public’s perspective of agriculture. This exciting and engaging game helps begin the dialogue about agriculture from a variety of perspectives and features elements from the popular publication Food and Farm Facts. This session will share tips and guidelines to feature this P&E adaption of the game at your next event.


Every Acre Matters: 21st Century Sustainability, Emily Buck, Ph.D., Ohio State University and Farmer

We must produce 70% more food in the next 40 years, which is the same amount produced in all of mankind. That's 40 chances to drastically improve through new innovations. Find out why farmers’ and ranchers' involvement is crucial in conversations about sustainability for the 21st century.


Hello! My Name is . . ., Jill Brown, Northwest Missouri State University

Every day we cross paths with others. Learn how to maximize those connections and set yourself up for success after graduation. Personal branding and social media strategies will also be addressed.


Six Seconds, Jill Brown, Northwest Missouri State University

Studies show recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing an individual resume. Six seconds? That means you’ve spent more time reading this description than they’ve spent deciding if you’re a good candidate! Learn tips and tricks for making your resume and cover letter stand out. Feel free to bring your resume with you!


Cheers! Winning the Social Hour, Jill Brown, Northwest Missouri State University

Booze, business cards, bruschetta, bosses; what could possibly go wrong? Learn how to make a lasting first impression during social hour gatherings. Hands will be shaken, introductions will be perfected.


Communicating About Plant Breeding Innovation, Pat Miller, American Seed Trade Association

This interactive program will provide a better understanding of gene editing, including how it works; what it means for farmers, consumers and the environment; and related policy at the domestic and international levels. Attendees will be provided with tools to help engage in a constructive dialogue with policymakers and the public about new breeding techniques.  The session will feature two videos, a short presentation and an interactive round table discussion.  A variety of take-home materials will be shared.


Chronic Farm Stress: Breaking the Cycle, Dr. John Shutske, University of Wisconsin - Madison & UWEX

This workshop will help participants understand how our bodies and brains fuel the stress response as we encounter conditions and situations common in agriculture; how that response can spin out of control; and the 'throttles' we can find and use to turn down the stress response and regain control.


An Afternoon of Cheese with a Wisconsin Cheesemaker, Ron Henningfeld, Cheesemaker and Owner of Hill Valley Dairy

Are you interested in learning about cheese and the process of making cheese? The session will be led by the head Cheesemaker of Hill Valley Dairy who makes cheese from his brother’s Wisconsin dairy farm. During the session, participants will have to chance to sample and learn how certain Wisconsin cheeses are made.


Farm to Car – How Ford Motor Company is Driving Change Today!, Ford Motor Company Representative

Contributing to a better world has always been a core value at the Ford Motor Company, and their commitment to sustainability is a key part of who they are; it’s part of their DNA. Did you know that every Ford vehicle produced in North America for the last 11 years has contained soybeans?  Ford Motor Company is also partnering with the agriculture community to ensure that recycled and reused products find their way into their vehicle production cycle.  Ford’s work doesn’t stop with their products— they give back to Farm Bureau members with vehicle incentives, mobility upfits, Test Drive Fundraising Opportunities and Ag in the Classroom materials. As Ford says, “We go further so you can.”            


Butter, Brats, Breweries and More!, Kaitlyn Riley, Wisconsin’s Alice in Dairyland & TBA

Wisconsin is well known for its dairy production, and the city of Milwaukee is known for its breweries and baseball. This session will cover the many wonders of Wisconsin. Attendees will learn about the variety of agriculture crops that are grown or raised in Wisconsin, along with some fun facts and historical information about the city of Milwaukee.


                                                      State Coordinator Learning Session                                                    *State coordinators only by invitation


*Rethinking: A Two-Part Learning Session, Peter Houstle, Mariner Management

     Rethink Education with Transformational Learning:  Do your educational programs make a meaningful difference? Do your members walk away with actionable learning they can put to work in their jobs? Join us to explore how effective, evidence-based adult learning takes place and how you can transform your education programs to deliver greater value to your members and the American farm community.

     Rethink Volunteers from the Ground Up: Do your volunteers deliver true value to your Farm Bureau? How do you know? How do they know? In this session we’ll briefly recap key highlights of volunteer research and then discuss how you can put them to work in your Farm Bureau to create a mutually beneficial volunteer system that truly helps you move your Farm Bureau’s mission.