FFA alumni getting message out
HARMONY TOWNSHIP — While Warren Hills FFA alumni were dishing out homemade waffle ice cream sandwiches, their signature contribution to the Warren County Farmers Fair, Warren Hills agriculture teacher Jennifer Wilson was dispensing information on the Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers program.
Wilson sees YFR as a natural continuation of FFA in that it enables young farmers to continue to develop skills and build networks.
She teaches agriculture in grades seven through 12 at the regional middle school and high school.
“We build interest in middle school, we start with broad exposure then focus on animal or plant science or the environment,” she said. “We prepare them for college.
“It’s a direct connection to the industry for students who don’t have a production background.”
The number of alumni who come back and assist at the fair and otherwise interact with the high school students are very helpful.
“It’s nice to have a community of young people as resources,” she added.
Wilson sees YFR as more of the same: “The young farmers’ network, see they have similar stories, exchange ideas.”
Noting it’s difficult to do much networking during the growing season, she said they come together the day before the Farm Bureau Convention in November with speakers targeting subjects young farms fin interesting.
They also have bi-monthly meetings in Trenton with guest speakers on such topics as commodities, legal issues or expanding niche markets.
They may have one of the group showcase something he or she is doing that’s working great, she added.
YFR, founded in 2014, welcomes young farmers and ranchers from 19 to 35 years old.
“We just brought together anyone we could in the beginning,” Wilson said. “People whose parents were involved in Farm Bureau.
“Then we found it was a dynamic group.”
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