Kayla Weaver, YAP advisory committee chair, said that farmers often talk about feeding the world, but the conference provided an opportunity to help the hungry in Ohio: Each attendee was asked to bring two nonperishable food items with them that would be donated to Mid-Ohio Foodbank.
In keeping with the meeting’s theme, Barb Eilte of Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH), kicked off the conference. She spoke to the group about how she got involved with the organization, how others can get involved, and why the things the organization does are important. FHFH is a national organization with local coordinators, like Eilte, who help the to develop plans to donate venison to food banks.
“The top three things food banks tell us they need is meat, meat and meat,” said Eilte.
The young agricultural professionals in attendance responded.
“We made a $500 donation to FHFH to go toward their efforts to provide nutritious meat to area food banks and pantries. Plus, our food drive resulted in a donation of 183 pounds of food to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank,” Weaver said.
Weaver said the conference was a success and excitement was generated about the possibilities to get involved in Farm Bureau.
“We are just beginning plans for next year, but hope to expand our session offerings and possibly add some optional opportunities earlier on Friday for those who are interested,” Weaver said. “Increasing attendance is also an ongoing goal for us; we try to provide a conference that is valuable to both first-time and returning participants and are always welcoming new faces.”
One of those new faces at the conference this year was Derek Snider, a Hardin County Farm Bureau member. “I was selected by my county Farm Bureau, and I wanted to develop professional skills that would help me in not only college but also back on the farm,” Snider said. “My favorite part of the conference was meeting other young individuals who share the same passion I do, agriculture.”
Snider and approximately 150 other attendees participated in numerous workshops on topics such as financials, digital video and photography. Even Ohio Farm Bureau President Steve Hirsch presented a workshop on farming with the family.
A trade show was also held during breaks from the workshops. Representatives from companies, including Nationwide Insurance, General Motors, Medical Mutual of Ohio, Grainger and Farm Credit Services of Mid-America set up booths and spent time talking to the conference attendees.
The conference concluded with a little humor provided by farmer and comedian Jerry Carroll.
“We are in the process of planning regional summer events and looking at the possibility of teaming up with Franklin County Farm Bureau for a central statewide social event.” Weaver said. “More information on our events can be found on the YAP website and anyone can stay up to date with us on our Ohio Farm Bureau Young Agricultural Professionals Facebook page.”
The Young Ag Professionals are young adults ages 18-35, single and married, who share a passion for farming, rural living and local foods. Members include full and part-time farmers, and nonfarmers. YAP at the county levels organize events for local members, and an advisory team made up of members selected from across the state, develops statewide YAP programming.
View the Facebook photo album from the conference
Get more information about Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry