Wyoming Farm Bureau: YF&R committee hosts successful event with U.S. senator in attendance
Pinedale – The Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation (WyFB) hosted their Young Farmer and Rancher (YF&R) conference Jan. 20-21 at the Sublette County Library. Attendees enjoyed a tour of the Mountain Man Museum, socialized with peers and heard presentations from an array of speakers within the industry.
Additionally, on Jan. 21, U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) addressed the crowd and shared with attendees the importance of youth in agriculture.
The Farm Bureau YF&R program includes both men and women between the ages of 18-35. The objective of the program is to provide leadership in building a more effective farm bureau to preserve individual freedoms and expand opportunities within agriculture.
The committee is a fully-integrated part of farm bureau at the county, state and national level. County and state committees are charged with surfacing, training and motivating young farm bureau board members to understand basic WyFB principles and procedures and foster involvement in farm bureau ag projects.
This year, the conference’s theme was “Building Our Future,” and celebrated 20 years of the YF&R program.
“The YF&R conference is one of my favorites because it has really good content,” said WyFB President Todd Fornstrom. “The committee does a good job of picking out speakers and activities to keep everybody engaged.”
He added, “The program itself is the lifeblood of what farm bureau will be.”
“Farmers and ranchers in Wyoming have made the state what it is today,” said Barrasso. “It’s so good to see so many young people engaged.”
He noted the importance of having a younger generation to pass on ranching and farming operations.
“We’re the Cowboy State, and we live by the Cowboy Code – to live each day with courage, take pride in work and do what needs to be done,” he shared. “I have tried to bring this message from Wyoming to Washington, D.C.”
Barrasso shared with the attendees the importance of water in the state of Wyoming and having a concise, accurate definition of navigable water.
“Navigable waters is the Mississippi River,” he said. “It’s not a prairie pothole.”
He added, “We keep trying to bring people back to talk about these sorts of things.”
“This job is protecting and promoting Wyoming – our land, jobs, economy, environment, people and places. Our values are rooted as stewards of the land,” he said.
The number one issue impacting the American people is inflation. About a year ago, it was the cost of gas, but today, it’s the cost of food, he noted. Other areas of focus in Washington, D.C. include energy and natural resources.
Barrasso has served as a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee since going to the Senate in 2007. He became ranking member in 2021. The committee has jurisdiction and works on matters related to energy and mineral resources.
He noted Wyoming is home to the best uranium than any other place in the U.S., and is working on several different issues in Washington, D.C., as it relates to the West.
In the fall at each district meeting, county farm bureaus nominate a couple or individual ag producers. Each district has two representatives on a state committee. One position is voted on each year and committee members serve a two-year term. An at large position is voted on by voting delegates at the WyFB annual meeting. This position is a one-year term.
Throughout the year the YF&R committee participates in a variety of leadership activities. Many committee members in Wyoming and throughout the U.S. are looking to attend the 2023 Fusion Conference in Jacksonville, Fla. at the Grand Hyatt Jacksonville Riverfront March 3-6.
“A majority of our board of directors are now alumni of the YF&R program,” concludes Fornstrom. “It’s a great way to identify individuals interested in farm bureau.”
Look for future articles from the YF&R conference in upcoming editions of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup.
Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.