Ag leadership: Chouinard named YF&R chair
At their most recent meeting, the Wyoming Farm Bureau (WyFB) named a new chair to their Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) committee. Kelli Chouinard took the reins from previous chair, Chelsea Baars.
A central Florida native, Chouinard is no stranger to agriculture and hopes to bring an outside perspective to the committee and WyFB as a whole.
“Not being from Wyoming originally can be a double edge sword,” she notes. “But I think my ability to see past the idea of how things have always been done is a huge asset in this role.”
“Awareness is my main goal,” she stresses. “I want to get young producers to know they have resources available to them and how to utilize them. They know it’s there, but a lot of them don’t grasp the true value of what WyFB has to offer.”
The YF&R agriculture program includes both men and women between the ages of 18 and 35. The objective of the YF&R agriculture program is to provide leadership in building a more effective Farm Bureau, to preserve individual freedoms and expand opportunities in agriculture.
According to WyFB, the state chair of the YF&R committee has a seat on the state board and is responsible for planning the four in-person meetings of the committee each year and helps to guide the state committee.
Chouinard is excited to continue the tradition of Ag Books for Kids and hopes YF&R members will be able to get back in the classroom with elementary aged students to teach them more about the agriculture in their state.
She notes the upcoming YF&R conference will be partnering with South Dakota Farm Bureau to reach more people and garner discussions centered around both building personal connections with other agriculturalists and boosting production.
Fifth generation agriculturalist
Chouinard grew up in the swamps of central Florida on her family’s cow/calf operation. She was the fifth generation to grow up on this farm, and both of her parents were local ag teachers.
“Growing up we did everything FFA and 4-H had to offer except show llamas,” she says. “I had a great experience growing up in agriculture, and I always knew it was where I belonged professionally.”
Chouinard later attended Ohio State University and majored in animal science. She taught agriculture in Tanzania and South Korea before deciding to get involved in the industry in a more direct way.
Moving out West
“I have always been the type of person that when God says ‘Go,’ I go,” she explains. “I knew I wanted to get out of teaching, so I took a job in Montana and headed West. Unfortunately, what I applied for and what was actually there were two very different things.”
She continues, “I made a call to some close family friends in Powell and I have not looked back since.”
Chouinard soon began working at George Farms, a mixed beef and dairy operation. The operation includes around 80 head of beef cattle and 600 dairy cattle, which are milked twice a day, every day.
Callie Hanson is a corresponding writer for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.