Young farmers encouraged to attend January conference

Young Farmer Leadership Conference_2018Each year, young farmers from across the state gather in Indianapolis for the Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer conference. This year, the conference is Jan. 26-28 at the Marriott Hotel Indianapolis East. Farmers 40 or younger who are Indiana Farm Bureau members are encouraged to attend this year’s conference for educational opportunities, networking and fun with fellow young ag leaders.

The conference starts on Friday evening with games and networking including ag olympics, snacks and massages.

Main conference activities begin on Saturday, starting with registration, breakfast and a keynote presentation. Following the morning keynote, attendees have several educational, ag-related breakout sessions to choose from and can enjoy the trade show throughout the day.

At lunch, the State Young Farmer Committee will present several young farmer awards and honor those who went above and beyond in 2017. After dinner on Saturday night, attendees can enjoy a live auction and activities for the whole family including a pedal pull and mechanical bull riding.

To close the day on Saturday, Drew Hastings, veteran comedian and storyteller for more than 25 years, will perform for conference attendees. Hastings is not only a comedian but also the mayor of Hillsboro, Ohio, and a farmer. In 2006, Hastings left Hollywood for a new adventure as a farmer in Ohio. At age 50, he was elected major of Hillsboro and reportedly has done much to turn the city around financially. He will perform at 9 p.m. on Saturday. It is encouraged that attendees be 18 years of age and older.

Sunday morning’s activities include a worship service, a county chair leadership session and development workshops. Workshops include business and financial planning with Farm Credit Mid-America, congressional insight training, estate and succession planning with the Indiana Ag Law foundation and Young Farmer awards information. The development workshops are available for an additional cost.

Early bird registration is $60 per adult until Jan. 12. After Jan. 12 the fee increases to $100 per person. Children ages 12-17 are $30 each and children ages 11 and under are free. A hotel room block is available at a discounted rate of $113 per night plus tax at Indianapolis Marriott East until Jan. 12.

Indiana Farm Bureau provides childcare on Saturday for $25 per child. Licensed babysitters are available for children ages 0-4. Kids Camp, available for children ages 5-11, features fun educational programming, crafts and storytelling. Space is limited for both options and pre-registration is required. 

Anyone planning to attend should contact his or her county Farm Bureau to discuss potential expense reimbursement opportunities.