Growing up I was your typical farm girl tomboy, but I surprised everyone when I tried out for the cheerleading squad. It wasn’t my thing to be in a skirt, but I found out I liked to share my voice! That has followed me throughout my life; yep still hate skirts, but love to share. So it is a good thing I work and live in an industry that needs to be vocal and share!
I am currently in my second year in the American Farm Bureau’s Partners in Ag Leadership (PALs) Program. Several years ago I was honored to be a finalist for AFBF’s Excellence in Agriculture award which granted me the opportunity to apply to be in Class 8 of PALs (a two-year program). I and nine other amazing people involved in agriculture have been going through a multitude of modules in New York, Washington, D.C., Sao Paulo, Brazil, and this August Hawaii, all looking at developing active young farmers on the best strategies to take leadership in our industry.
As someone involved in agriculture my whole life, it is important that I use my education and talents to connect with consumers and political leaders on issues facing agriculture. The PAL program training helps prepare my classmates and me to do that by exposing us to different issues and agricultural experiences. By bringing participants from around the country together, we are able to have conversations that are informed by the many experiences and backgrounds we bring to the table.
Part of this experience has also allowed me to be part of AFBF’s GO Team (grassroots outreach team), which is a group of leaders from around the United States that Farm Bureau calls on for media interviews, congressional hearings, and all around advocacy. I am not the only one from Ohio on this team, but I feel special to be able to be a part of the conversations happening in the group.
I encourage you to find your own PALs, or your own GO Team. It doesn’t matter how old we are, or how educated we are, we can always learn more and be better at sharing our voices. Whether it is joining your county’s leadership development program, becoming a part of AgriPOWER, getting involved in AFBF’s Young Farmer and Rancher program, or just reading some great leadership books, we can all improve on how we lead our industry and share our voices.
Pictured above is Buck’s PALS class.
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