By Timothy Collins, Chair, Kern County Young Farmers & Ranchers
Making it Possible. That was the theme of the recent 2021 Young Farmers and Ranchers State Conference and Making it Possible is our theme in Kern County as the new year begins. Several members attended the conference held down in Anaheim this year. It was so good to return to a fully in-person conference that signaled a return to normalcy for our club, especially since the last event we did before the COVID lockdowns was the previous State Conference held in late February 2020. As the new year begins, we are excited and hopeful to bring YF&R not just back to normal but to a more active and prospering club than ever before!
We begin 2022 with a new officer team, so allow me to introduce myself as Chair. I was born and raised in Bakersfield and am happy to call Kern County home. Although I have some family farming background out of state, I didn’t get involved in agriculture until I joined the FFA in high school. After high school I spent six years working as a heavy equipment mechanic. Most of that time was spent in the field where I had the opportunity to work on equipment for much of the local agriculture industry. In 2019, I began teaching high school Ag Diesel Mechanics at the Regional Occupational Center. Teaching is something I never imagined I’d be doing, but as I am now halfway through my third year, I am really beginning to love the job. The theme of Making it Possible fits the job so well. As a mechanics teacher, I am able to make so many opportunities possible for my students in the very much-in-demand heavy equipment and ag mechanics industries. Expect some of my articles this year to focus on ag education!
One of the purposes of the Young Farmers and Ranchers is ag education not just in the community but among our members as well. All of us still have plenty to learn about agriculture. At the recent state conference, we began with local farm tours in Orange County. Although most of the farming has left Orange County, we were still able to tour a small family produce farm, a local high school farm, and a UC research farm. The second day of the conference brought another opportunity for learning through the various workshops, of which I attended one on planning for retirement and one on gaining and retaining YF&R members. We were also proud to have our own Kern County YF&R member, Gabee Gomez, compete in the state level discussion meet. We all came away from the conference with a renewed excitement and encouragement to make it possible in our own community.
The Kern County Young Farmers and Ranchers are excited for the opportunities this new year brings. As 2022 begins, we are looking forward to holding monthly events throughout the year. Whether it’s attending our meetings and tours as an 18–35-year-old or supporting us at our fundraisers and charity events, we hope you can be involved with Kern YF&R this year.
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.