Retiring WyFB YF&R Committee members recognized
YF&R is…Leadership Development. Future. Networking. Personal Development. Agriculture. Opportunity. People. Wyoming.
The goal of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation (WyFB) Young Farmer & Rancher program is to give young farmers and ranchers, serving as a committee within the organization structure, the opportunity to recommend programs and activities that will encourage participation of young farmers and ranchers in both the YF&R program and the Farm Bureau Federation. The WyFB YF&R Committee is composed of two members per district (five districts) and one at-large position. This year the WyFB YF&R Committee recognized four retiring committee members.
Crook County Rancher Raenell Taylor, along with the support of her husband Josh, served on the committee from 2011-2023. During her time on the committee, Taylor served as WyFB YF&R State Chair, a position that holds a seat on the WyFB Board of Directors. Her first WyFB event was the YF&R Collegiate Discussion Meet during college and her county involvement started when Jw and Thea Nuckolls invited her to attend a county Farm Bureau Federation trip to an informational speaker event. From there, Taylor became a devoted Farm Bureau Federation member and active leader through the YF&R program. Taylor is now serving her second term as Northeast District Director on the WyFB Board of Directors.
Taylor is grateful for the opportunities provided to her as a young rancher. “The personal development and leadership growth aspect of the WyFB YF&R committee and program is one of the highlights,” Taylor said. “Looking back to the person I was when I was elected to the WyFB YF&R committee compared to the person that I am now, I would honestly say I'm a completely transformed individual. The amount of leadership skills that have been instilled in me is indescribable.”
Taylor expressed the value of networking is a large part of their livelihood as young ranchers. “Having the opportunity to meet other young ranchers, not only throughout Wyoming, but surrounding states as well, that have the same passion and love for our lifestyle has been super valuable,” Taylor continued. “We have established a wonderful network of farmers and ranchers that we can call anytime for support or knowledge.”
Taylor shared the memories in 12 years of service are many. “There were moments we would laugh so hard our muscles in our stomach would hurt, there were moments where we were sad and shed tears together, and there were moments where we truly shared and learned lifelong advice and guidance together,” Taylor remembered.
She shared a specific memory that stands out is the first prayer she prayed in front of an audience at a WyFB Annual Meeting when she was the WyFB YF&R State Chair. According to Taylor, she had decided to write down her prayer but then forgot her pre-written prayer so instead prayed from the heart. “I had so many Farm Bureau members tell me it was truly heartfelt,” she recalled. From then on, I never worried about what to say when praying in front of an audience. God always gives us the words when we need them the most.”
Taylor stated she made time to be involved because she loves to serve and have the ability to positively impact Wyoming agriculture. “Serving on a committee that is enthusiastic about the future of agriculture has honestly been the best place to serve my time,” said Taylor. “The camaraderie with other young farmers and ranchers to positively impact Wyoming agriculture through our voices has been a privilege.”
“Our voice matters and if we don't tell our agricultural story, someone else will try to tell it for us,” Taylor concluded. “If we want a strong future in agriculture, we have to make our voice strong.”
Natrona County Farm & Ranch Bureau Member Aletta Grauberger represented the Central District on the committee from 2021-2023. During her time on the committee, Grauberger was a positive leader with the drive to accomplish much and lead the way on projects. She served as the WyFB YF&R Committee Secretary. She is also active on the Natrona County Farm & Ranch Bureau Board of Directors.
Grauberger stated the WyFB YF&R Committee had incredible value. “It gives you a purpose as well as tons of opportunities to grow and explore new skills and abilities that I didn't always know I had,” she said. “Agriculture is important to me and this was a way to be involved with Farm Bureau on a higher level. I knew that the leadership skills I would gain and the relationships I would make would be invaluable.”
Grauberger says she has learned how important it is to step up and do the work or lead the way. “It only takes one person to get a movement or a project rolling,” she said.
Grauberger emphasized the opportunities are endless when serving. “The networking with so many people and the fact that there is an opportunity for each and every person to grow as an individual and as a leader - from working on Ag Books to public speaking – makes involvement invaluable.”
A couple of her favorite memories are winning the first ever WyFB Ag Trivia at annual meeting with Shawn & Kelli Chouinard and creating a blooper video reel at the 2021 WyFB YF&R Conference.
Grauberger’s leadership goals for the future are to rejoin the committee and serve on the AFBF YF&R National Committee.
Brent Horton served as the Representative-at-Large on the WyFB YF&R Committee for 2023. He aged out this year so could not seek re-election. Horton and his fiancé (now wife), Jenn Tippetts Horton, enjoyed the opportunity to serve on the committee. “We sure wish we could’ve spent more time on the YF&R Committee,” Horton said. “It was a lot of fun to interact with everyone.”
“Being a part of Farm Bureau will definitely become a bigger option to us and the Young Farmer and Rancher Committee helped form that,” Horton concluded. “We will certainly stay involved in the organization.”
Elizabeth and Tyler Foxworthy served on the committee from 2021-2023 representing the Northwest District. Elizabeth appreciates the opportunity to be involved locally with the Fremont County Farm Bureau Federation.
WyFB YF&R Committee members are provided vast amounts of training on leadership qualities and issues briefings as well as honing other professional skills. The committee members are a dedicated group of volunteers who work hard to ensure the ideals of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation are upheld and continue to represent young farmers and ranchers throughout Wyoming.