By Erin Nessmith, Young Farmers & Ranchers State Coordinator
1. Young Voice in Agriculture – “Georgia YF&R is a great way for our voices to be heard. As young farmers, it is vital that we realize that we are the future, both in production agriculture and in the allied industries. The platform that Farm Bureau uses allows us to meet with lawmakers and voice our opinions on rules and regulations. We know that these rules and regulations that are put in place will affect us more than the older generations of farmers. That’s why it is our responsibility to make sure that our ideas are heard.” – Dustin Covington, Providence Springs Plantation, District 8, State YF&R Committee Chair
2. Networking Opportunities – “When I attended my first YF&R event in 2013 the only people I knew were the two others from Hall County plus a few friends I had met while at UGA. I knew that in order to feel comfortable at the event I had to meet new people. Networking at Farm Bureau events quickly became a theme and I realized how important it was to meet new faces. Immediately I realized how much I had in common with folks and know I can now call on individuals from across the state whenever traveling, if a problem arises on the farm, or if I need a good brainstorm session on a new marketing concept. As a YF&R member of Georgia Farm Bureau it is important to meet the leaders on your own county's board and in your community plus those on the state-wide level, too.” – Caroline Lewallen, Jaemore Farms, District 2, State YF&R Committee Representative
3. Personal Development – “Being someone that was not involved in FFA or similar youth organizations growing up, YF&R has helped me tremendously when it comes to conducting meetings and learning to speak in front of people. One big event that I enjoyed was the discussion meet held at the YF&R summer leadership conference, this was when I began to realize how much GFB had to offer a young famer. It offers a great chance to overcome speaking in front of people as well as learning to discuss topics pertaining to our industry and hearing others views on different topics and how it affects each of us.” – John Douglas Newton, District 7, DRN Sons LLC., State YF&R Committee Representative
4. Lifelong Friendships – “Through YF&R we have met so many wonderful people that we can truly call our friends. These friendships are not only range also across the state of Georgia but all the way to the coast of California. Making friends through YF&R just comes naturally because you share many of the same interests and challenges in your everyday lives. These are the folks you can call on anytime you need them because they understand the crazy life of farming too!” – Vicki Cagle, Cagle's Family Farm, District 1, State YF&R Committee Representative
5. Being the Change – “Georgia Farm Bureau YF&R is a great platform to initiate the many needed changes our industry and us, as young farmers, need to see happen, in order to insure the longevity of our livelihoods and industry. Change isn't easy for the traditionalists in our industry, but our generation is too creative and motivated to settle. YF&R has given us many opportunities to make our voices heard and initiate change for our generation.” – Bridget Hitchcock, 3H Cattle Company, District 6 State YF&R Committee Representative
While there are many more great reasons to join Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers, we know that they are specific to each YF&R member. Maybe you enjoy the competitive events, legislative advocacy, agriculture literacy or even leadership development. No matter the reason you choose to join, we hope that you find a reason to be a part of an organization and program that is tailored to the needs of young agriculturalists.