I really believe that what you put into things is what you get out of them.
What I did this past weekend fits right in with that mantra. Along with 17 other collegiate Farm Bureau members from UW-Madison, I attended the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Agriculturist (YFA) Conference at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells.
As the Collegiate Farm Bureau at UW-Madison coordinator of the YFA Conference trip, prior to this weekend, I spent time planning, preparing and coordinating with WFBF. Starting in September, there were many emails and phone calls to help me organize the travel, hotel rooms and conference registration, but the amount of time I spent doing so, as well as attending the conference, are miniscule compared to the dividends I will (and already started to) receive.
To start, I’ve gained friendships with every UW-Madison peer who attended the conference with me (if I wasn’t already close friends with them). I furthered my relationship with many involved in the agriculture industry (with whom I soon plan to enter the workforce) and caught up with both old and new friends.
During Becky Hurley’s workshop, we heard about the importance of friendship and how important it is to step out of your comfort zone. Becky and those attending her presentation spoke of the impact friends have had in their lives. Some of my friends and fellow CFB members encouraged me in one unique way this weekend at the conference…to step out of my comfort zone.
I’m not your typical theme park or waterpark enthusiast. Rides have never been my forte. However, over the past few years, I’ve slowly started to build up the courage to start experiencing what everyone else seems to love. I’ve been to the Kalahari before and went on some of the rides, but you can bet I did not go on the Tanzanian Twister, also known as the “toilet bowl,” or the Sahara Sidewinders, where the floor drops out beneath you. However, I’ve recently set a goal to experience as many things as possible. Whether that may be as miniscule as trying a new slide or introducing myself to a new person, I know that with practice my small triumphs every day will turn into big successes. So, with the encouragement of many of my fellow CFB members, we went down every ride in the Kalahari Indoor Waterpark…even the one where the floor dropped out beneath me.
Every time friends encourage me at times like this, my decision becomes easier. However, it is really the little voice inside of me that makes the final decision. I find myself thinking “now or never.” That is all the encouragement I need once I tell myself I should do it. (Small shout out to all the attendees who traveled with me and a big shout out to all the new people I met!)
Just as I expected, the YFA Conference brought me out of my comfort zone. It also sent me home with messages to ponder. From listening to American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman talk, networking with collegiate Farm Bureau members from around the state, sitting in on the Discussion Meet competitions, watching the “Excellence in Agriculture” candidate presentations and having the privilege to learn from Dr. Jude Capper on sustainability in agriculture, a few things were prevalent.
- Agriculture invests in its youth and blossoming professionals, not only because the industry needs to, but because it is what agriculturists truly believe in and want to do.
- “You have many reasons to be proud to be a Farm Bureau member.” – AFBF President Bob Stallman
- “Feeding hungry people in a world where 1 in 7 don’t have enough food – that’s sustainability.” – Dr. Jude Capper
- “Every food has an environmental impact. There is a place for every system.” – Dr. Jude Capper
While I spent time planning for and attending the YFA Conference this year, I’ve gotten so much more out of it. I already know I will be back next year and I wouldn’t even mind organizing the trip again.
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