More than 225 young farmers and ranchers across the Sunshine State gathered in-person at theJuly 9-11, 2021 for the Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Conference.
The three-day conference provided young agricultural producers between the ages of 18-35 with educational breakouts, motivational speakers and lots of networking opportunities.
Conference attendees welcomed keynote speakers Marshal Sewell, a fifth generation agriculturists who shared his personal story on mental health. Social media and farm advocatealso provided tips on how to better bridge the gap between consumers and rural food producers.
The conference recognized 19 County Farm Bureau young farmers who gave back to their community through their County Activity Awards. It also included an engaging fireside chat between Florida State Rep. Joe Harding and Florida Farm Bureau State Legislative Affairs Director Adam Basford during the legislative luncheon on Saturday, July 10.
Conference attendees were also able participate in a global farm tour with, a self-sustainable hunger solution for small-scale farmers. The group raised more than $1,000 for the non-profit organization at its conference.
Finalists of the state’s top young farmer competitive events were announced. These finalists will advance to Florida Farm Bureau’s annual meeting in October where they will compete for the state title.
Discussion Meet: Sydney Armstrong (Jackson County), Buck Carpenter (Madison County), Dallas Hull (Volusia County) and Erin Jones (Gilchrist County)
Excellence in Agriculture: K’Leigh Combs (Duval County), Matt and Kayla Gonzales (Levy County) and Scarlett Jackson (Polk County)
Achievement in Agriculture: Kevin and Shelby Lussier (Alachua County), Clay and Kari Fulford (Jefferson County) and David Koning (Pinellas County)
Members from the Florida Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Leadership Group helped plan the events and speakers for the conference.