Why take the time to attend the WyFB YF&R Conference
By Kailey Barlow, Sublette County Rancher and WyFB YF&R Committee Member
Every time I check Facebook, read a newspaper, or just listen to the talk around town, I’m quickly reminded that the agriculture industry is facing what can seem like unsurmountable challenges. That is why I choose to be active in the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation and attend the Wyoming Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers conference every year. The Wyoming Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers conference has a different focus every year, so it always provides new learning opportunities. A couple years ago we learned about farm and ranch succession, last year the conference focused on farm and ranch profitability, and I can’t wait for this year’s “Liberty and Justice for Ag” conference that will have a legislative focus. The conference is open to all farmers, ranchers, and those interested in agriculture business across the state.
I hope you will consider joining me and many other farmers and ranchers at the 2020 Wyoming Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference, February 26-28 in Cheyenne, WY. February is a busy time for me. My registered cows will start having their calves soon and we will be prepping our barns, corrals, and fields for our commercial cows to start calving in March. As a young rancher, I know just how easy it is to say we are too busy on our farms and ranches to take the time to attend a conference, but the truth is, we need to spend just as much time learning and working on different aspects of our business as we do actually working on the ranch. As a county fair manager, I am also busy trying to finalize schedules, obtain sponsors, solicit vendors, design a fair premium book, and make sure everything else is ready to go for the busy upcoming fair season. It can be hard to make the time to attend a conference like this, but once you do, you will quickly learn that attending conferences is worth the time it takes away from home!
I am excited to listen to the keynote speaker, Harriet Hageman, talk about regulatory impacts on agriculture and what we need to be watching for in the coming years. Specifically, Hageman will be providing an update on the Trump Administration’s efforts to reform agency use of “guidance” to circumvent formal rulemaking and describing the “real life” implications of those actions. She will also discuss the lawsuit that she recently filed in federal district court in Wyoming against the USDA and APHIS challenging their decision to mandate livestock producers use radio frequency identification (“RFID”) ear tags. She will also describe her ongoing efforts to challenge federal agency overreach. Hageman has dedicated her career to fighting for agriculture and Wyoming’s citizens and I know she will share a lot of great information at the conference that we all can take back to our farms or ranches.
Likewise, Ryan Yates, American Farm Bureau Federation Managing Director of Public Policy, will be making the trip from Washington, D.C. to Cheyenne to speak at the conference. I had the opportunity to meet Yates a few years ago in Washington D.C. He is very intelligent about agriculture issues, especially those issues that impact agriculture throughout the western United States. He vigilantly lobbied on the Endangered Species Act and federal lands issues. I am excited to hear his updates from our nation’s capital and I hope that many of you will take the time to make the trip to Cheyenne to meet Yates and listen to him share pertinent information.
It has been a few years since I have traveled to Cheyenne, so I am thrilled to have the chance to spend a day at the newly renovated Capitol Building. Each and every Capitol Building is so unique, beautiful, and full of history and it will be fascinating to see how the architects incorporated the history into the newly renovated Capitol Building during the guided tour. While at the Capitol, I hope to also listen in on the House Ag Committee Meeting and Senate Ag Committee Meeting.
After wrapping up a day at the Capitol Building, it will be fun to go to Frontier Park to attend the Legislative Mixer. The Mixer, produced by the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation and Wyoming Rural Electric Association, provides the attendees one-on-one visits with the legislators and elected officials. There is not a set program for the Mixer and it truly is a time to visit one-on-one with our legislators and elected officials.
More than anything, I am excited to have the opportunity to talk to so many farmers and ranchers from all over Wyoming and learn about how they are involved in agriculture and what they are doing to stay involved in agriculture looking to the future. I am very fortunate to have met so many incredible young agriculturalists at this conference in the past and I would call many of them my friends still today.
Registrations are due by February 13th and registration information can be found at www.wyfb.org. Whether you are, or are not, able to attend the “Liberty and Justice for Ag” conference, please follow the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation and Wyoming Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about the conference and what we do throughout the year. I hope you to see you in Cheyenne later this month!
Article originally printed in the Wyoming Livestock Roundup.