Did you make it to this year’s YF&R Leadership Conference? If you missed it, here is a recap from Caleigh Payne:

This year’s Young Farmer and Rancher conference was one for the books!

On day one, we got to hear about beef sustainability from the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. We participated in a fun ice-breaker and then got to tour a CBD processing facility that has been on the forefront of innovation in the industry, designing processes to create products with 0.0% THC.

That evening, we heard advice on being productive leaders, embracing our embarrassing moments, and upcoming bills that give counties control over things like pesticide regulations.

There was no better way to start off day two of the conference than with Joey Bunch from Colorado Politics making us laugh, sharing heartfelt stories, and giving great advice. Some of his advice included:

  • The most effective communicators listen before they talk.
  • Talk to others about what unites us before talking about what divides us.
  • If you want to change the world, you have to learn to deal with people that disagree with you.

We then got to learn from Anna Smith, MA, NCC, LPC, CSAT, about the disease of addiction. “The opposite of addiction is connection.” The more tools a person has to deal with addiction, the better chance they have of overcoming it.

Two more leaders from the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef talked on the partnerships that are forming between beef producers and The Nature Conservancy. Their stories of coming together to work on common goals, instead of working against each other were very encouraging!

Our very own, Zach Riley, gave a policy update that included information about the USMCA and phase one of the trade deal with China.

We had the privilege of Don Shawcroft speaking to us over lunch about the 5 C’s of leadership: competence, communication, character, commitment, and courage.

After lunch, an opioid panel gave us great information and resources to help our communities. Did you know that 74% of farmers and farm workers say they, a family member, or friend have been directly impacted by opioid abuse? Also, be sure to check out the OpiRescue app and the Colorado AgriAbility program.

FOMO: The Fear of Missing Out. Did you know it had a place in Ag marketing? Farmers and ranchers often make marketing decisions based on FOMO, thinking they can’t sell yet because the price will keep getting better and they don’t want to miss out. This doesn’t always work out to our advantage, so be careful! Ag West Commodities can help guide you if you think you’re guilty of this!

Kole Kelley, District 6 YF&R chair, gave an excellent presentation on advocacy. Teaching us that the root of the word advocacy is ‘advocatus’ meaning “one called to aid.” When advocating, your delivery is very important. Don’t throw too much information at your audience too fast and make sure your audience is ready to receive your message.

Several of the Colorado Farm Bureau Insurance Company staff joined us and urged us to ask questions about our policies. You can’t know what you don’t have until you know what you do have in terms of coverage. Our insurance agents are extremely knowledgeable and are there to help you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them!

Last but not least, Brett Arnusch spoke to us over dinner on being innovative on your farm and ranch: try new things, do something with the data you collect, figure out what can set you apart from others and go for it!

We had a great time this year! We want to send out a huge thank you to Kacie Sallee for her hard work and all of the Farm Bureau staff for being such great mentors and industry leaders. We are lucky to meet and connect with you through this program!