Agriculturalists from across the United States and Canada gathered Feb. 10-13 for the 2017 American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers FUSION Conference in Pittsburgh.
FUSION (Farmers United: Skills, Inspiration, Outreach and Networking) Conference gives individuals and families the opportunity to connect and engage with like-minded peers from similar, but different, backgrounds in agriculture. In addition to the Young Farmers & Ranchers cohort, volunteer leaders from the American Farm Bureau Promotion & Education Committee and Women’s Leadership programs also gathered for the event.
Ohio entered two participants in the Collegiate Discussion Meet during the conference. Kameron Rinehart and Meghan Bruns, both of Wilmington College, represented Ohio well as they discussed topics including agricultural tax policies and food labeling. They competed against 51 other outstanding Discussion Meet participants from around the country.
Latham and Katie Farley also represented Ohio as members of the national Young Farmers & Ranchers committee, where they have served since 2014. Members of this committee play a vital role in advocating for the future of agriculture while developing personal and professional skills that will transfer into their careers in agriculture. As the Farleys ended their time on the national committee, Brad Heimerl of Licking County began his two-year term representing Ohio on the AFBF YF&R committee.
From the information-filled sessions to the tours across Pennsylvania and Ohio, I believe all who attended the 2017 FUSION conference came home with a renewed sense of passion for the future of agriculture. In the words of American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall, we must all “engage” to advance U.S. and global agriculture toward a sustainable future.