Learn, network and have fun with the future of agriculture
This two-and-a-half-day conference offers 18- to 35-year-old Young Farmers the opportunity to meet with hundreds of young agriculture leaders and industry experts while building confidence to advocate for the industry and to step into leadership roles and positions.
The Young Farmer Leaders Conference is your opportunity to learn about business, financial, technology and agricultural issues facing the industry.
Registration open January 3-12, 2024.
Keynote Speaker: Randy Grieser
Randy is the Founder, former CEO and current Advisor of ACHIEVE Centre for Leadership. He is an intuitive and visionary leader who, together with a team of employees and trainers, positioned this organization to be a leading provider of professional development training.
Randy believes that leadership requires us to always be intentional about what we do and how we do it. He gives presentations on leadership and workplace culture to a wide range of audiences. Randy is a dynamic speaker who delivers insightful presentations that are engaging, humorous, and informative.
11:00 a.m. Registration Opens — Great Lakes Hall, Pre-Function Area
11: 00 a.m. Young Farmer County Chair Luncheon — Lake Huron B
11:30 a.m. Collegiate Luncheon — Riverview AB
1:00 p.m. Tours Depart — Great Lakes Hall, Pre-Function Area
6:00-10:00 p.m. Dinner — Support Local @downtownph
Throw on your conference t-shirt, grab your meal voucher as you exit the bus, and support one of the many locally-owned restaurants for your dinner experience while taking in the sites of downtown Port Huron. Maps of participating restaurants will be provided and your State Young Farmer Committee members and MFB staff will be in bright blue shirts if you need assistance.
Blake's Make & Take
Visit and tour Blake’s Orchard & Cider Mill, an 800-acre working farm and orchard that is also an agritourism destination in Southeast Michigan. Enjoy their agrotourism experience with a unique make-and take experience. (Limit 50)
Our conference is seated below the second busiest border crossing along the Canadian border. Meet with U.S. Customs and Border Protection staff to learn how agricultural goods are imported by vehicle, train, boat or plane at this port of entry. We'll tour the Blue Water Bridge customs plaza and then head to Croswell Stockyards to learn how cattle movement is traced in Michigan and the important role these markets play. (Limit 50)
Farm Shop Tour
Hop on the bus with 50 of your closest friends as you tour the St. Clair County countryside. Visit Farm Bureau member farms, learn about their past and current practices, enjoy conversation while exploring their farm shop, and enjoy some treats along the way! (Limit 50)
Jammin’ with Cottage Food
Preserve jam with MSU Extension while you swap marketing ideas with other cottage food entrepreneurs! Discuss packaging and labeling requirements while learning how to use online programs to help with the design process. You’ll walk away with a network of like-minded individuals from across the state, mock designs for your business, and a couple jars of jam to enjoy! (Limit 10)
On the Ground with MUCC
Conserve, protect, and enhance Port Huron’s natural resources and outdoor heritage while partnering with the Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC). This experience will have you putting on your winter gear and heading out to the woods to complete projects benefiting the local wildlife while gaining an understanding of how your county Farm Bureau can provide member opportunities with MUCC. (Limit 15)
Help Us Feed Those in Need
For over 30 years, the Mid City Nutrition Program’s mission has been to serve the hungry and indigent of St. Clair County for as long as there is a need. Seven days a week, they procure, prepare, and provide over 300 meals a day out of the basement of a local church. Learn about how Mid City partners with local farmers while joining their efforts as you prepare and serve Friday dinner. (Limit 15)
Shop & Stroll
Stroll the sidewalks of vibrant downtown Port Huron and explore the boutiques, restaurants, and theaters. Pair up with old friends or meet new ones as you spend the afternoon taking in the sights, indulging in local cuisine, and browsing locally owned shops. (Limit 20)
7:30 a.m. Registration Opens — Great Lakes Hall, Pre-Function Area
8:00-9:15 a.m. Breakfast and Program — Lake Huron A
9:30-10:30 a.m. District Meetings — Lake Huron B, Riverview AB, Grand Ballroom I, St. Clair AB, Grand Ballroom II, Lake Huron A
10:30-10:45 a.m. Break — Great Lakes Hall, Pre-Function Area
10:45-11:30 a.m. Breakout Round 1
11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Lunch and Program — Lake Huron A
1:15-2:00 p.m. Breakout Round 2 (Repeat of Round 1)
2:00-2:30 p.m. Break — Great Lakes Hall, Pre-Function Area
2:30-3:00 p.m. Round 1 Mini Breakouts
3:00-3:10 p.m. Break — Great Lakes Hall, Pre-Function Area
3:10-3:40 p.m. Round 2 Mini Breakouts (Repeat of Round 1)
3:40-4:00 p.m. Break
4:00-4:30 p.m. Round 3 Mini Breakouts (New Content)
5:00-5:45 p.m. Reception — Exhibit Hall A
6:00 p.m. Dinner and Keynote Program — Lake Huron A
Being an effective leader requires us to be thoughtful and intentional about what we do and how we do it — it takes time and hard work. Taking the time to consciously think about leadership may not get the attention it warrants, yet it is one of the most important things we can do to raise both our own performance and that of those we lead. Drawing from his books The Ordinary Leader and Don’t Blame the Lettuce, author Randy Grieser will challenge you to think critically about your own approach to leadership, and help you develop unique insights that will strengthen your abilities as a leader.
8:30-11:00 p.m. DJ Trivia Night — Lake Huron B
Ever thought you should be a contestant on Jeopardy? Or maybe you’ve been told you have a lot of random, useless facts floating around in your head? It's your time to shine! Grab your friends or find an empty seat and make some new ones as your minds are challenged and your knowledge is unleashed during YFLC’s DJ Trivia Night!
Insurance & Risk Management Strategy — Riverview AB
Kevin Robson, Farm/Agribusiness Sales Director, Farm Bureau Insurance
Apply a risk management strategy to your farm through the suite of Farm Bureau Insurance products. Also, it will include the value of extending coverage from your parents’ policy to yours.
Right to Farm: What It Is & How It Can Protect You — St. Clair AB
Matt Kapp, Government Relations Specialist, Michigan Farm Bureau and Kyle McCarty, MDARD Right to Farm Program
Sometimes what Right to Farm (RTF) does and doesn’t do can be misinterpreted and misunderstood. In this session you will learn what Right to Farm is and how it can protect you and your farm.
Hosting an On-Farm Event — Lake Huron B
Katelyn Packard, AFBF YF&R Committee
Have you ever thought about hosting an event on your farm? Here's your chance to learn what it takes. Katelyn has hosted open houses, family events, 5K and Fun Run, and a craft show. Learn what she does on her dairy farm for event prep, marketing and promotion, event staffing, and how an event can bring in money for the farm.
The "Why" Behind Plant Nutrition — Grand Ballroom II
Chris Heck, Soil & Plant Nutrition & Organic Products Sales Manager, Nutrien Ag Solutions
This session will be on the agronomics behind plant nutrients and how the soil, plant, and biology all impact their availability and functions. Growing crops should not just be about nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium... It should be about all 16 nutrients! So, let’s go on a journey together to see how a plant takes in and uses plant nutrients!
Climate-Smart Commodities — An Opportunity on Michigan Farms — Grand Ballroom I
Lisa Woodke, Sustainability Director, Star of the West Milling Co.; Joe Hodder, Climate Smart Agronomist, Star of the West Milling Co.; and Julie Doll, Chief Executive Officer for Michigan Agriculture Advancement
The USDA offered billions of dollars in Climate-Smart Commodity grants across the US. Michigan was the recipient of several grants, including one for farms already growing or wanting to grow wheat, food-grade soybeans, dry beans or food-grade oats in rotation. Learn how a Michigan based Climate-Smart Commodity grant offers opportunity on your farm by hearing the experiences and insight from a panel of producers and ag industry professionals.
Audits, Inspections and Produce, Oh My! Clarifying the Confusion About Produce Safety — Riverview AB
Heather Borden, Produce Safety Logistics Coordinator, Michigan On-Farm Produce Safety Team; Joe Smith, Produce Safety Specialist, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development; and Phil Tocco, MSU Extension Food Safety Educator (3:10 p.m. session only)
If you grow fresh fruits and vegetables, produce safety is on your radar. Balancing buyer expectations and legal requirements can leave you feeling like you’re in the middle of a cyclone. This session will help clear up the confusion and banish the flying monkeys for good! This interactive presentation will include an overview of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements, methods to help you determine if/how the laws apply to your farm, and where to get help and find resources.
How to Influence and Impact Land-Use Decisions in Your Community — St. Clair B
Matt Kapp, Government Relations Specialist, Michigan Farm Bureau and Ryan Coffey, MSU Extension
Learn how you can have a voice in what your community looks like by being involved locally in the planning and zoning process.
Life Hacks: Your Guide to Finding Time at Work and at Home — Grand Ballroom II
Jackie Sanford, Empowering Ag Minds
Leave with tangible tips on how to create more time in your life and on the farm with Jackie Sanford with Empowering Ag Minds where she helps farmers find calm in the midst of chaos on the farm. Her and her husband own and operate Sanford Family Beef with their two young boys.
Round Table Exchange: Flowers, Agritainment, and Pumpkins — Lake Huron B
Joe Ankley, Sarah Reisinger, and Abby Vittore
Join us for small breakout circles to exchange ideas, ask questions, walk away with a network of Young Farmers from across the state! Choose to stay in one circle for the full time or make your way around to all three. Moderators will have some topics to start the discussion but bring your questions and ideas with you!
GreenStone New Farmers Mentor Program — Grand Ballroom I
GreenStone Farm Credit Services
Embark on the next steps in leadership with GreenStone's CultivateGrowth Mentorship program, designed for new farmers to gain industry insights, network with key contacts, and hear outside perspectives from other farmers through valuable partnerships with experienced mentors.
Young Farmer Award Workshop — Lake Huron A
Thinking about applying for a Young Farmer award and don’t know where to start? Have one started and need time to hone your answers? Attend this session to work with both State Young Farmer Committee members and Michigan Farm Bureau staff who are excited to help you get your application on its way. Applications due March 6.
Gate's Open: Your Role in County FB Comms — Riverview AB
Jeremy Nagel, MFB Member Communications Specialist
Boosting involvement hinges on people knowing what’s happening — and MFB has a pub for that. Drop in to learn all the how’s and why’s of Farm Gate — your clearinghouse and open forum for involvement opportunities, county activities and the human, social side of the organization. It’s never been easier to amplify Farm Bureau’s value, so embrace the comms component of leadership and be part of the solution!
Keeping Buried Utilities Safe — St. Clair B
Neil Taylor, Lenawee County Young Farmer Chair
Do you have buried utilities like drainage tile, irrigation, or manure lines? Have they ever been damaged by another utility company? Did you know MissDig is free for farmers? We will walk through the benefits of MissDig and how to enroll your farm!
Influencing Consumers — Grand Ballroom II
Noelle Nachreiner, Michigan Ag Council
Hear how content creators and social media influencers are changing the game to build trust among consumers. Learn tips and tricks for connecting with creators and influencers to share your farm, reach new audiences and shift the perception of farmers.
Loan Prep — Grand Ballroom I
GreenStone Farm Credit Services
Farming is hard work; securing financing for it shouldn’t be. Join GreenStone as we guide new farmers through the loan-application process, discuss crucial lender conversations, outline the necessary financials to prepare beforehand, and ensure you have everything in place to pave the way for success!
Round Table Exchange: Overcoming Barriers in Leadership and Making it a Priority — Lake Huron B
MFB Staff, Regional Managers
What stands between you and the next step on the leadership ladder? Exchange your thoughts with fellow farmers about how to overcome common barriers to taking your leadership game to the next level.
7:30 a.m. Devotions — Lake Huron A
8:00 a.m. Breakfast — Lake Huron A
9:15-11:00 a.m. Morning Workshops — Must register in advance
11:30 a.m. Adjourn
On-Farm Safety and CPR — Lake Huron B
Sarah Zastrow, Jeff Brazo
Agriculture is a high-risk industry and in this workshop we’re not talking about markets. Farm stress and safety are two areas everyone agrees needs to be top of mind but are more often than not a reactive discussion than a proactive plan of action. After taking this workshop you will walk away with realistic and practical action steps to implement into your day-to-day operations while also learning basic first aid and trauma dressing. Take a Sunday morning to proactively plan for your stress and safety.
Intentional Leadership — Grand Ballroom
Randy Grieser, Keynote Speaker
Dovetailing with his keynote presentation, this workshop will dig deeper into the area of intentional leadership. Randy will provide practical strategies to support ongoing intentional leadership development.
Strategic Grain Marketing: No Crystal Balls Here — St Clair AB
Loren Koemen, MFB Lead Economist and Manager of the Industry, Conservation and Regulatory Relations Department
Do you struggle with the best marketing plan for your grain? Don't have a plan or one you are happy with? You won't find any crystal balls here or even discussion of current/future prices. Rather we will discuss how to strategically market like the pros and how to track and evaluate your results. From beginners to seasoned marketers, there’s something here for everyone.