It has been 2,012 miles since my last blog and we have just finished the WFBF Annual Meeting and YFA Conference. The weeks and days leading up to this annual event can be a bit hectic but it’s great to see so many members in one place. It ties back to my last blog where I discussed the definition of family and even used the term Farm Bureau family. You might consider the WFBF Annual meeting a big family reunion. Here are just a few of the highlights…really…just a few! If you want to see more pictures, check out the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Facebook or Flickr page.
Have you ever wondered how all those poinsettias in front of the stage in the ballroom get put in place? Farm Bureau staff unload them from a truck, take them out of the paper wrapper and then arrange them in front. It’s a total team effort!
Friday evening kicked off the YFA Conference and this is a photo of everyone from District 9 that attended. I’m a bit bias but they are a pretty awesome group. Just three years ago we only had seven members from our district attend. My have we grown! During the meeting we talked about upcoming events and participated in a few relay games before heading to the Friday evening social which featured Bumblefist, a rock band from Eau Claire.
American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman served as the keynote speaker on Sunday morning. Stallman pointed out that we should all be proud to be Farm Bureau members and that we have the ability to speak on behalf of American agriculture. He also shared an update of what is, or is not, happening in Washington.
New this year to the Annual Meeting was the Collegiate Farm Bureau Discussion Meet Finals. Each campus, Platteville, Madison and River Falls held a discussion meet with their members and the two finalists from each chapter competed in the finals. The contestants discussed farm safety and what they can do in their chapter and home to improve it. Contestants were (L to R) Ethan Giebel (UW-Platteville), Sara Devitt (UW-Madison), Sam Olson (UW-River Falls), Shea Esser (UW-River Falls), Sydney Endres (UW-Madison) and Victoria Goad (UW-Platteville).
One of the greatest things Farm Bureau members can be involved in is the grassroots policy development effort. If you attended your county annual meeting, you were able to make a choice and voice your opinions that are important to our industry. Through the policy development process, you influence change.
Jude Capper was the keynote speaker for the YFA Conference and did several breakout sessions throughout the weekend. Her messages were about livestock myths and misconceptions and she provided great facts and figures that we can share with consumers.
Members really enjoyed the workshops that were offered during both the YFA Conference and Annual Meeting. During the YFA Conference workshops ranged from learning about Farm Bureau, to growing your future and during the Annual Meeting members heard about farm succession planning and implements of husbandry.
As many of you know, Roger Cliff retired from Farm Bureau after 40 years of service and in his honor the 40 by 40 campaign was developed. The goal was to raise at least $40,000 by Annual Meeting. More than $50,000 was actually raised. Thank you to all who contributed to this campaign which will benefit the three Collegiate Farm Bureau Chapters around the state.
Did you know that if you sign up at least five new members during the membership, you can become a member of the Producer Club? There is a special luncheon for those individuals to be recognized and thanked for their efforts. Farm Bureau is only as strong as its members and these volunteers are a major reason why we continue to grow as an organization.
I’m not sure how many of you have been a part of the silent auction in the trade show area but the last few minutes can be intense! Thank you to those who donated (nearly 300 items) and bought some things. I purchased a lovely pancake kit including syrup and pancake mix, so who’s coming for breakfast?