By Timothy Collins, Chair, KC Young Farmers & Ranchers
The world is a busy place to begin with and being involved in ag makes our lives even busier. So, why become part of another group with monthly meetings and events? I certainly have the tendency to think that once I finish this project in a couple weeks things will slow down, and I’ll have free time to get involved–that is, until I finish the project a couple weeks later and find myself somehow in the middle of two more projects. There are also many working in or interested in the ag industry who are largely unfamiliar with the Young Farmers and Ranchers. Allow me to present the reasons for YF&R’s existence and why involvement with the group is beneficial and enjoyable.
I’ll start with networking. There are thousands of young people working in Kern County agriculture that have much in common but don’t end up connecting and getting to know each other. YF&R is that connection. Like-minded people are meeting each other and building a sense of community. We all benefit from relationships with others in our same local industry, and it’s reassuring to talk to people with similar interests and concerns. We are not alone in this ag world, and as can often be the case, it’s not what you know but who you know.
Along with building a community is giving back to our community. YF&R gives out grants to FFA and 4H students and helps build local school gardens with proceeds from our farmer’s market each year. If you are looking to make an impact and get our youth involved in ag, YF&R is a great way to do it.
There are many leadership opportunities in high school and college, but after graduation there can be few outside of work. YF&R provides those opportunities for recent graduates and working professionals. Members can hold officer positions at the local and state level and learn leadership skills from attending state and even national YF&R conferences. The learning doesn’t stop with leadership skills. Kern County agriculture is such a large and diverse industry that all those involved with YF&R have learned a great deal from the numerous local ag tours we have visited over the years. This knowledge gives us a better ability to advocate for the ag industry and educate the public which, even in Kern County, can be largely unaware of where their food comes from.
All of this culminates in the chief objective for YF&R, which is to bring up the next generation of Farm Bureau members to serve the farmers and ranchers in Kern County–and to have fun in the process! There are now multiple Farm Bureau Directors that have their roots in YF&R and there will be more to come. Involvement in YF&R brings a greater appreciation and enjoyment of the industry that we all love to be a part of. One of the best ways for everyone to get involved with and support YF&R is our Clay Shoot Fundraiser which will be held Saturday, March 5. Find all the information at https://kernyfr.square.site or email us.
Please reach out to us if you would like to jump on our email list to receive information about upcoming events. We are also active on both Facebook and Instagram.
IG: @KernYFR, FB: KernYoungFarmersAndRanchers