Growing leadership: YPA to provide a voice, leadership building opportunities for young producers
Cheyenne – Young livestock producers and beginning agricultural producers from around Wyoming have the opportunity to become involved and have a more active voice in important industry issues through the Young Producers Assembly (YPA), which is an organization offered through the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA).
YPA was created to provide young producers an avenue to work collaboratively on important industry issues and hold leadership positions in the organization, says WSGA Communication, Publications and Programs Director Haley Lockwood.
“The purpose of the program is to have a way for young producers from across the state to work on issues that are important to them,” she says.
Building a foundation
YPA leaders are currently in the process of creating the foundation for the organization, says Lockwood.
“We’re basically in the brainstorming phase of a lot of this and nothing has been set in stone,” explains Lockwood.
The group last met at the summer convention, so Lockwood is hopeful that many decisions will be made at their next meeting during the Winter Roundup Convention on Dec. 5.
“It’s been a busy fall, so we actually haven’t had a good solid meeting since the summer convention in Laramie. I think that at this winter’s convention we’ll be able to get a lot more done because a lot more people will be able to come,” comments Lockwood.
The group plans to discuss several business items that were brought up during the summer meeting.
“During our regular business meeting, we’ll go over various items that we are working on right now, such as our trademark logo,” says Lockwood. “We feel that it’s important for us to have a logo as a way for people to recognize us as a group, once we finally start promoting it.”
YPA is open to young producers between the ages of 18 and 40 or to individuals who have five years or less of agricultural experience.
“Even someone who is in their 50s but is just getting started in the ag business is more than welcome to come and join us,” says Lockwood.
She explains that many topics that will be discussed in YPA are important for beginning producers to learn about.
“A lot of the things that we plan to go over have to do with how to get started in the business, family successional planning and the basics that we feel are really important. We didn’t want to exclude anyone who is just getting started,” emphasizes Lockwood.
Individuals who are interested in becoming involved with YPA are encouraged to attend the Winter Roundup Convention meeting or to contact the WSGA.
“If they want, people who are interested are more than welcome to come to the Winter Roundup and come to our meeting in December. They can also contact me at our office, which is probably the best way to get more information,” says Lockwood.
YPA and WSGA is hopeful that providing leadership positions at a younger age will better equip members as they step into leadership positions in WSGA.
“If young producers start in the leadership of Stock Growers at an earlier age, we hope they feel that they have a voice and don’t have to wait until they’re 50 to have a say in some of the things that happen in Stock Growers,” continues Lockwood.
“We also felt that there were a lot of people who were put into leadership positions that sometimes may not feel as comfortable doing it,” explains Lockwood. “We think that if we start with a younger group to get everyone involved a little earlier, they would be more than happy to take leadership positions in the future.”
YPA currently has four committees, including policy; social recruitment and events; education and outreach; and fundraising. The committees will provide leadership opportunities and training for young producers.
“Once our members graduate to Stock Growers and take committee chair positions or even regional vice president positions, they will feel more comfortable and be really aware of what those positions entail and what to expect,” explains Lockwood.
Emilee Gibb is editor of Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.