Farmers and ranchers from across Kansas gathered in Manhattan Jan. 26-28 for the annual Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) leaders conference. Nearly 550 people attended a three-day Kansas Farm Bureau (KFB) conference designed to build relationships and provide information and tools to help young producers weather the challenges of difficult years in agriculture.

The conference provided young ag producers and college students between the ages of 18-35 with agricultural education, motivational speakers and opportunities to connect with industry resources and network with peers.

Representatives from The Van Trump Report, and Kelly Barnes, an entrepreneur and inspirational speaker, gave keynote addresses. The attendees heard from Senator Jerry Moran; AFBF President, Zippy Duvall; former AFBF YF&R Chair, Kalena Bruce; KFB President Rich Felts; and received a policy update from KFB’s Ryan Flickner. Scholarship winners from the Kansas Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture were recognized.

State committee members from each of the 10 Kansas Farm Bureau districts planned and hosted the Ad Astra Per Aspera themed conference including workshops, speakers, tours and competitions. The YF&R state committee played an integral part in making this year’s conference a success.

Pottawatomie County farmer John White serves on the YF&R committee and says the conference was full of presenters who were insightful and provided a wealth of knowledge to a group of young agriculture producers.

“The conference provides an opportunity to network with likeminded individuals facing the same issues,” White says. “Young agriculturists can bounce ideas off each other and hear about what works on some operations and maybe some ideas that were epic fails.

“At the very least, it puts you in a room with 500 other producers who are going through some of the same issues you are, and it reminds you, you are not alone.”

Winners of the conference competitions included:

  • Ag Quiz Bowl - Kansas State University
  • Collegiate Discussion Meet – Jacob Brubaker, Fort Hays State University
  • Excellence in Agriculture – Matt and Mindy Young, Atchison County
  • YF&R Discussion Meet – Jackie Mundt, Pratt County
  • YF&R of the Year – Mike and Sara Rosebrook, Lincoln County
Young farmers and ranchers from 82 counties participated in this year’s event.