Contact: Jason Jaekel, 517-679-5444
LANSING — More than 300 young farmers from around the state gathered in Grand Rapids Feb. 28 through March 2 for Michigan Farm Bureau's (MFB) 2014 Young Farmer Leaders' Conference. Attending from [see list] County this year were [see list].
Centered around the theme "Get Involved, Take a Stand," sessions included opportunities to increase professional development, such as estate planning, reducing farm safety risks, integrating ag technology, global trade and the 2014 elections.
"Our goal is to provide young farmers with the tools necessary to manage their farms and take charge of their future," said Jason Jaekel, manager of MFB's Young Farmer department. "They were challenged to participate in a policy development activity, reinforcing the importance of having their voice heard on issues affecting Michigan farms."
Saturday evening, event sponsor GreenStone Farm Credit Services hosted a banquet highlighting outstanding young farm leaders. Ian McGonigal, GreenStone Farm Credit Services regional vice president, addressed participants.
Keynote speakers included AgProVise Founder Lori Culler and Paul X. Rinn. Culler offered her experience in management, consulting, profitability and sustainability. Rinn provided stories of his time as a U.S. Navy captain, focusing on ordinary people achieving great things when they have the skills and opportunity.
In addition to its educational components, the conference provided young farmers an opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from each other.
"We try to balance the professional and social activities," Jaekel said. "It helps build strong relationships throughout the industry and across the state."
MFB's annual Young Farmer Leaders' Conference offers farmers ages 18 to 35 a combination of leadership development, informative seminars and idea exchanges, all with a focus on building a strong new generation of agricultural producers to lead Michigan's second-largest industry into the future.
NOTE: Photos of attendees are available here. For assistance arranging an interview, contact MFB Local Media Specialist Nikki Baker at 517-323-6584.