Young producers: WSGA develops new assembly at Winter Roundup
Casper – On Nov. 30, 17 young producers gathered at the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) Winter Roundup in Casper to initiate the development of a WSGA Young Producers Assembly.
“I was approached by Niels Hansen and Jim Magagna about creating a young producer program to get young producers more involved in WSGA and get program content focused directly toward the young producer segment,” stated Kendall Roberts of Cheyenne.
Development of the group is intended to create a tool to recruit, involve and engage young producers in WSGA and agriculture in Wyoming.
“It’s a great way to foster that opportunity and have a seat at the table,” she commented.
The initial group met to identify issues currently faced by their age demographic and to develop a roadmap for the creation of the Young Producers Assembly.
“We had a small officer elections, so we have some leadership and can get tasks completed based on that leadership,” Roberts mentioned. “We’ll continue to keep in touch with one another and try to get some of those things completed from what we discussed at our meeting.”
The team also developed a set of three directives to provide guidance for the progression of the group’s work.
Outreach and education was the first directive outlined by the Assembly, which hopes to encourage specific program content for young producers at WSGA events.
“It’s being able to have content at a conference or convention that will give us the opportunity to bring in some members. We can then say we will have special programs that are solely focused on topics such as health insurance, estate planning and how to get the conversation started,” she explained.
The second directive identified by the Assembly was the creation of social and recruitment activities targeted specifically for young producers, with the intention of piggybacking social activities already established by WSGA.
“We, as young producers, might know each other as so-and-so’s son or daughter, but we have never worked together. Let’s meet, let’s talk and let’s build some relationships. We thought a social activity would be a good place for us to get started with that,” Roberts continued.
Recruitment efforts would also be encouraged through social events, providing a platform for potential WSGA members to learn about the association and meet other young producers from throughout the state.
“We have our Wyoming Collegiate Cattle Association, for example. We want to be able to have them come to our events and see it from the outside looking in. We want those young people – from the collegiate level to where we are in the first five or 10 years out of college – to see what we are doing on our operations and in agriculture business today,” she commented.
Another directive that the Assembly discussed was the incorporation of young producers in the leadership of WSGA.
“We are already serving on committees, but we want to have some sort of representation that affects us into the future,” Roberts noted. “I think that’s two pieces in one, policy and leadership, and having a seat at the table.”
The Assembly will meet again at the WSGA summer conference, and Roberts encouraged young producers to attend.
“I would like to have a packed room of 30-plus. Producers who have kids at home or young managers who work for them should encourage those young people to come to our summer conference,” she said.
Roberts also clarified that the Young Producers Assembly is being designed as an integrated part of WSGA and not as a separate group or committee.
“We want to be included with Stock Growers, but we also want to include the Stock Growers with us,” she stated.
“We also talked about having a liaison from the leadership team, for example having the vice president of the leadership team attend our meetings, so we maintain a connection to the general membership,” she added.
A place at the table
The Assembly concluded with a presentation from agriculture advocates Stacy and Troy Hadrick, who emphasized using influential power. Roberts noted that their message was important for young producers, asking them to share their perspectives, tell their story and get themselves a seat at the table.
She remarked, “Somebody else will tell our story for us, and I think that reiterated what we discussed at our meeting yesterday. If we tell our story and get the word out there, things will start to happen and things will change.”
Roberts challenged young producers to reach out to share information and recruit participants for future meetings.
“We can’t develop this Young Producer Assembly without young people getting there and seeing what is happening with our meeting,” she said.
Natasha Wheeler is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.