2020 Farm Bureau YF&R Leadership Conference

Breakout 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!


When Stress is More Than a Season
Adrienne DeSutter, Mental Health Consultant/Agricultural Wellness Columnist
In this interactive session, compare differences between farmer stress and serious conditions like depression/anxiety. Learn  about mental health resources, how to communicate with someone you are concerned about and discover how the most important part of protecting farm families is YOU.
New-Ag Marketing: How to Stop Being a Price-Taker
James O'Brien, J.J. O'Brien Ranch
Leave this session with a plan of action to escape the price-taker's mindset and start being a price-setter. Learn the most effective ways to use a variety of digital and social media outlets to develop a brand, build your audience and launch your product.
Yes, Unicorns Are Real: Land The Dream Job
Jacob Smoker, G&D Smoker Farm
This is not your college's Office of Career Services boring lecture. This is 60-minutes of fast paced, in your face, total honesty, talking about your resume and interview. How do you stand-out on paper? How do you knock it out of the park when the interview happens? Get ready to find out.
Pitch It: Share Your Ag Story
Stacey Stearns, UConn Extension
Be the voice of agriculture; pitch your story to the local media. We’ll cover elements of a story, and participants will draft a story pitch. Participants will share their story and practice pitching in small groups. You’ll leave the session ready to go home and pitch your ag story to the media.
Farming the Future: Adapting in an Evolving World
Krista Swanson, University of Illinois
Agriculture supplies a world filled with evolving consumers, markets, technology and trade. Farms of the future must adapt to the challenges of a rapidly progressing world. Learn what is on the horizon for farming, how farm structure and farm economics may evolve and how to keep your farm engaged.
You're an Important Part of Farm Bureau
Rebecca Gulliver, Michigan Farm Bureau
Attention county Farm Bureau leadership! How can we as leaders serve as hosts to retain our volunteers?  This session is a must if you are a county board member, committee chair, project leader or are heavily involved in the community.
Economic Considerations for Hemp Producers
Tyler Mark, University of Kentucky
Paul Goeringer, University of Maryland
Profit margins for my current crops are shrinking. Should I consider hemp? Misinformation surrounding this industry is rampant especially the economic potential. The objective of this session is to dispel economic mystery. Producers will take away a series of budgets and contract considerations.
Be the Agvocate Your Congressman Needs
Lou Nave, Field Representative for Congressman John Rose
Farm Bureau leaders constantly hear how we need to “reach out” to elected officials and “tell our story.”  This session will provide valuable training to equip members with skills to share their agriculture story so that  Farm Bureau members can become the resource that elected officials need to truly impact legislation and policy.
Delivering a Positive Message in a Negatively Charged Environment
Lorenda Overman, Overman Farms Inc. and AFB Women’s Leadership Committee
Lynda Loveland, North Carolina Farm Bureau
This session will develop positive messages for the media during times of disaster or crisis. Too often the media will cover the negative side of adverse conditions resulting in news stories that provide negative and inaccurate information to the public about our farms. It’s time to take action and work with the media to change the story they tell.
Wait! What's Next?
Amy France, France Family Farms, Inc.
When our term is up, often we are left wondering what is next after YF&R? It’s easy to stay engaged during our term when opportunities are knocking at our door. I’ll share my journey from a county board member, to AFBF PAL, to the first woman to serve on the National Sorghum Producers Board. This session will show that that there is always a next step to take.   
Engagement: A Number or a Feeling?
Jason Wetzler, Jason Wetzler Leadership
If increasing participation and engagement at events is a priority for you as a leader, then this session will provide practical, research-based tools to do just that. We will define engagement and ensure we can clearly communicate the value of our events to current and potential members.
Avoid the Echo Chamber: Advocating to All Sides
Sarah Bohl, The Civilian
In today's advocating/political environment, it's critical to have effective listening and communicating techniques. One of the best (and trickiest) tools is empathy. In this session, we will learn how to see all sides of the argument, avoid echo chambers and further our advocacy with all parties.
Join the Ag Literacy Movement
Brian Bierele, American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture
The AFBFA is strategically partnering with groups to start a movement of agriculture literacy across the nation. Check out what's available to make agriclture literacy simple for volunteers and identify tools that can help you be a part of the movement!
Rural Opioid Epidemic; Engagement on a Local Level
Colorado Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers
Colorado YF&R has hosted four panels on the opioid epidemic. These panels have engaged local members on the issue alongside medical experts, law enforcement and concerned citizens. Learn how to host conversational panels, engage stakeholders and showcase Farm Bureau's concern for rural issues during this session.
Efficiency & Effectiveness in QuickBooks
Kalena Bruce, CPA & Fifth Generation Missouri Rancher
Are you looking for a way to get the most out of your QuickBooks software? Join us to go through best practices to maximize your time while trying to keep track of your farm and/or company’s financial records.  We will hit the highlights on bank reconciliations, credit card tracking, account mapping and so much more.  This will be a class-driven training so bring your laptop, company file (desktop version or online) and questions!
Meal Prep 101 for Families in Ag
Deanne Frieders, Food Blogger, Kitchen Cheerleader, Cookbook Author of “This Farm Girl Cooks”
So you’re trying to keep up with work on the farm, plus feeding your family … there’s got to be an easier way! This session is all about meal prep–tips, tricks, how-to’s, best products, recipes and more.
Share the Impact of YF&R: Tell Your Story
Ken Culp, III, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension
What programs provide the most impact?  What accomplishments are shared in your community, state, with legislators and on social media?  Meaningful impact includes a combination of 'value' (dollars) and 'worth' (feelings), coupled with facts, numbers, and personal stories of those benefitted.
A Dialogue On Farm & Ranch Stress
Heather Wallace, The University of Kentucky Knoxville
Agricultural work is among the most stressful and hazardous, with risk of injury higher than most professions. In this session, we will identify causes of stress, consider strategies and services for coping with stress, and discuss solutions to rural suicide.
Full of Beans – Henry Ford Grows a Vehicle - Ford Motor Company How We Are Driving Change?
Rachel Hogan, Ford Motor Company
Ever get in a car and wonder…am I sitting on soybeans? Henry Ford thought you should! Learn from the folks at Ford how much of a car is made of renewable, recycled, and repurposed resources!  We will also be talking about the relationship with Ford and Farm Bureau and how your state can benefit from it!
Farming on the (Technological) Frontier
Shannon Ferrell, Oklahoma State University
Big Data, drones, blockchain… agriculture faces technological change at an unprecedented rate. What technologies will actually add to your bottom line? Are there legal implications if you adopt them? Learn how to evaluate some of the new techno-tools and how they integrate to your whole farm plan.
Gene Editing and GMOs
Hope Hart, Syngenta
Building trust is essential to be impactful as you lead with values and build relationships. The level of science you use in conversation can be a challenging aspect of advocacy, but as you'll learn in this session, the amount of detail you use depends on the other persons level of understanding, not yours.
Farm Economic & Policy Update
Dr. John Newton, American Farm Bureau Federation
Get the latest updates on the farm policy and the farm economy from AFBF’s Chief Economist Dr. John Newton. Newton will provide a farm economic and policy outlook and review key developments in crop and livestock markets.
Growing Cash Flow
Gary Matteson, Farm Credit Council
Hope is not a strategy. Plan for the things you want to accomplish on your farm, the money you intend to make, and the money you will need to spend. This session will help you think about the future of your farm operation in financial terms that you can understand.
Can Your Farm Survive a Generational Transfer?
Shannon Ferrell, Oklahoma State University
Less than 30 % of farms survive a generational transfer and research suggests most farms pick transition strategies the farm and its people can’t sustain. This session provides practical tools to give your farm the best chance for multigenerational success and how to start transition planning now.
Introduction to the Enneagram, and YOU!
Derek Orth, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Member and PAL Class X
The enneagram is an ancient, powerful tool that has been around for centuries. Discover how it can improve your personal growth, leadership skills and working relationships. Attendees will get a brief history and a break down of the nine different types with a chance to discover your own number!
Leadership Metamorphosis
Jackie Mundt, Pratt County Community College Farm Bureau  
The transition from student life to #adulting is filled with added responsibility and higher expectations. In order to excel as a leaders during this time, you will need to grow your skills, take ownership of your actions and becoming more assertive. We will explore how you can set yourself apart from your peers and become a leadership butterfly.
What Consumers Want To Ask Farmers & Ranchers
Al Eidson, Eidson & Partners
Jodi Oleen, Eidson & Partners
This session will help participants better understand consumer concerns about food and provide insights on answering consumer questions. This content is based on written audience feedback from 3,000 presentations delivered by farmers and DVMs to schools, civic groups, chefs, dietitians and nurses.
Census of Agriculture: Special Studies Highlights
Joe Parsons, USDA NASS
What is a Census of Agriculture Special Study, and why are they important? The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will address these questions and share brand-new data, collected just once every five years, in several niche agricultural areas, including aquaculture and irrigation. NASS will also spotlight local food marketing statistics and discuss what the Census of Agriculture tells us about urban agriculture. NASS will wrap up the talk with what you need to know about the recently mailed Organic and Horticulture Special Studies — including the importance of responding and when the data will be released.
When You Want the Internet to Find You…
Morgan Walker, American Farm Bureau Federation
With over 312 million internet users in the U.S. alone, it can be difficult to be “found” in the digital space. This can be frustrating when your goal is to attract customers to your agri-business. In this workshop, we will learn the basics of Search Engine Optimization to ensure that Googlers everywhere will be able to find you and your business.
Farming in Kentucky – A Panel Discussion
Kirby Green - Bayer Crop Sciences and Daviess County Farm Bureau (KY) Young Farmer Chair
John Henning - Chair, Kentucky Young Farmer Advisory Committee
Taylor Jones - Kentucky Young Farmer Advisory Committee Member
Matt Gajdzik - President, Shelby County Farm Bureau (KY); Owner, Mulberry Orchard
Agriculture is unique in each state. Join this session to hear from a panel of diverse young farmers from Kentucky. Collectively the panel raises cattle, hemp, vegetables, apples, tobacco and row crops. Two of the panelists have certified roadside markets. They will share unique stories about farming in Kentucky, lessons they have learned and answer any questions you have.
Parliamentary Procedure 101
Amy Gill, American Farm Bureau Federation
Have you ever wondered where Robert’s Rules of Order came from and why meetings are run using those parliamentary procedure rules? Come to this session to learn about the history of parliamentary procedure and the value it brings to effectively run meetings. Make sure to bring any questions you have for our parli-pro speaker and you will leave feeling more comfortable running your next meeting.
The New (and Improved) Grassroots Advocate
Michael Sistak, American Farm Bureau Federation
We are living in a political era that demands effective legislative engagement to have your voice heard. Join AFBF advocacy and political affairs staff to learn how to take your grassroots engagement to the next level. In this session you will dissect the political challenges facing agriculture and rural America, hear about state level case study successes and discuss strategies for outside-the-box engagement.  
Risk Management & Special AFBF Member Offers
Cassie Adolf, INTL FCStone Financial, Inc.
Richard Jelinek, INTL FCStone Financial, Inc.
Dave Kurzawski, INTL FCStone Financial, Inc.
Learn the importance and bottom-line impact of price risk management, along with the tools and the unique special Farm Bureau member benefit to help you perfect your risk management skills. 
Louisville Walking Tour
Tom Owen, University of Louisville
Are you a history buff? Do you love learning about the city you are visiting? On this tour you will join Tom Owen from the University of Louisville in a walking tour of historical landmarks around the Louisville area. Note: Please wear walking shoes and meet at the assigned workshop room. If weather does not permit a walking tour, a history presentation will take place.
How to Create a Network When You Don’t Have One
Jordan Henry, American Farm Bureau Federation
We all get in situations where we want and need to make connections, so how do you find that comfort level or starting point? Learn tips on how to use social media and your current networks to connect with someone new. New networks mean new mentors, possibly new co-workers and stretching your comfort zone. So why wait for others to find you, when you can find them.

Farm Bureau: A Membership Organization

Patti Fisher, New York, AFBF P&E Committee

Lorenda Overman, North Carolina, AFB Women’s Leadership Committee

Greg Corcoran, Ohio, AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee

One of the seven founding principles of the American Farm Bureau Federation is that it is a membership organization. Join committee members from the AFBF Promotion and Education, Women’s Leadership and Young Farmers & Ranchers programs as they discuss the program they represent, how they got to where they are and some of the work their committees are doing.


Addressing the Needs of Women in American Agriculture

Maggie Good, American Farm Bureau Federation

Jordan Henry, American Farm Bureau Federation

Ever wonder why you hear a women’s voice over the subway audio system when visiting a big city? Many psychologists agree that information is most trusted when doled out with a female voice. This concept proves true when we talk to consumers about agriculture as well. The American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee conducted a survey in 2019 to gauge the goals, aspirations, achievements and needs of women in U.S. agriculture. Join AFBF staff in discussing the findings of the survey and take part in beginning the conversation around helping women overcome the challenges they face.


A Look into Agriculture in Canada

Carolyn Wilson, CYFF Board of Directors

Rodney Reid, CYFF Board of Directors

Members from the Canadian Young Farmer Forum (CYFF) will share with you what farming and ranching looks like in Canada, inform you about the CYFF program and give a snapshot of the Canadian agriculture industry and their involvement in it. 


“SILO” Movie and Farm Safety Panel Discussion
Inspired by true events, “SILO,” a 70-minute movie about a grain entrapment, follows a harrowing day in an American farm town. Disaster strikes when teenager Cody Rose is entrapped in a 50-foot-tall grain bin. When the corn turns to quicksand, family, neighbors and first responders must put aside their differences to rescue Cody from drowning in the crop that has sustained their community for generations.
Following the viewing of the movie, a conversation about the movie and health and safety in the agriculture industry will be led by agriculture safety experts and the owner of the farm where the movie was filmed. Time is reserved for questions and to share personal experiences from audience members.
Introducing Gen Z
Jordan Henry, American Farm Bureau Federation

You’ve heard of millennials, but have you heard about Generation Z? Generation Z is starting to join the workforce so it is our responsibility to learn all we can to create a welcoming work environment for new ideas. This session will dive into the facts and figures around Gen Z and how participants can relate to members of Gen Z to engage them to their full potential.
State Coordinator Training
Mandy Hazlett, National FFA Organization
Event planning and management is part of any state coordinator’s job. No matter how big or small the event, there are many common themes that come with overseeing a meeting, conference and/or convention. This training session will cover the topics of emergency preparedness, contract negotiation and site visits. Come prepared to learn tricks of the trade and tips for success from our speaker who serves as the CMP for the National FFA Convention, which brings over 65,000 members, sponsors, speakers and guests to Indianapolis each fall. Make sure to bring any questions you have on event planning and management.
Washington Policy Update
Ryan Yates, American Farm Bureau Federation
Hear the latest updates from Washington, D.C. about significant and relevant activity in Congress, the Administration and the Courts on issues important to American farmers and ranchers.
Story Slam: Other Duties as Assigned--Frustration or Inspiration?
“Other duties as assigned” can leave you drowning in work that you never expected, or they can be the catalyst for your next promotion. Some assignments are valuable and lead to connection with a new mentor and others can leave you searching for greener pastures in a new job during your free time. No matter which path you fall into, there is a lesson to be learned. Join four Farm Bureau members to hear their stories and lessons learned from their “other duties as assigned.” Audience members will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite story.
Land, Grant Us the Research: An Advocacy Training
Do you have what it takes to be the Voice of Agriculture®? Designed to equip collegiate students with both the content knowledge and communication skills they need to advocate for public university research funding, this collaborative workshop will put critical and creative thinking skills to the test as we explore the role public universities play in the global agricultural economy. You’ll leave this workshop with new information, new connections and actionable steps to help feed and clothe the world.