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Young farmers and ranchers hone skills

Written by Saige

Reno, Nev. – A delegation of young farmers and ranchers from Wyoming had the excellent opportunity to participate in the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) National Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Conference Feb.16-19 in Reno. The theme, “Agriculture: Biggest Little Industry in the World” reflected different workshop topics including collegiate, engagement, family, leadership, entrepreneurship, on the farm, relationships and technology.

Wyoming Farm Bureau YF&R Chair Stacy Berger values the conference, which she and her husband Kyle have attended in the past. 

“It is refreshing seeing other young at producers from all over the country and getting to connect with them,” Berger noted. “We realize the issues we deal with on a regular basis in Wyoming are the same for those who live clear across the country. We always leave the conference with new ideas and are energized by the speakers.”

Passion

One of the speakers, who received rave reviews from all of those attending, was Mark Lindquist, who talked about having passion for what you do. His advice – if one doesn’t have any passion, try something new. 

“He encouraged us to find what we are passionate about and pursue it,” Berger said. “One workshop we attended that was particularly valuable was called DIY Relationship Renovation, which focused on what we can do to keep relationships with others healthy. This was interesting because family relationships can be difficult when working together on a family farm or ranch.”

The tour Berger and her husband attended was a visit to the historic towns of Carson City, Nev. and Virginia City, Nev. In addition, they visited a train museum and learned about the history of the railroads.

“This conference was amazing, and we would encourage all Farm Bureau members to attend if they get an opportunity. The leadership skills taught and the connections we make are priceless,” Berger noted.

Going back

Raenell Taylor is no stranger to the conference, having been past State Chair of the WyFB YF&R Committee. This time, her husband Josh joined her. 

“The AFBF YF&R Conference has inspired me in the past and motivated me to advocate for agriculture, so I knew how important it was to get my husband on board to attend,” Taylor said. “He thoroughly enjoyed the conference, and we will continue to share this experience with other young farmers and ranchers.”

Taylor also gave Lindquist, who was raised on a farm in western Minnesota, the thumbs up. 

“He had the simplest, yet most inspiring, message of getting out of our comfort zone and re-igniting our passion,” she commented.

Ag tour

The Taylors opted for an ag tour, which first traveled to Fagundes Dairy.  

“When we originally signed up for this tour, we thought we would be seeing a cow dairy. Imagine our surprise when we arrived and found it was a goat dairy, where they consistently milk over 3,000 goats twice daily,” Taylor said. “Touring the milking parlor was a really neat experience to see how easily the goats flow in and out. The Fagundes truly do have a top-notch milking system.”

The next stop was the Frey Ranch, which dates back to 1918. Not only does the ranch plant, grow and harvest a variety of crops including corn, alfalfa, wheat and barley, they own and operate Nevada’s only estate winery and distillery, Churchill Vineyards. “They grow the grapes for and produce six high-quality wines,” said Taylor. “It was interesting to tour a facility that is truly a grain-to-glass operation.”

  The fifth generation Hulett cattle and sheep rancher has strong praise for the national event. 

“Increasing our knowledge base on different issues that affect us as agriculturalist is really beneficial, and we are able to take so much home from these kinds of conferences,” she said “This is definitely a worthwhile event, and I encourage all ranchers and farmers to attend, not just the ‘young.’”

Rebecca Colnar is a correspondent for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..