Posts filed under ‘Agriculture’s Promise 2010’
Thanks to Jami Willard for sharing her experience at last year’s Agriculture’s Promise event:
I will admit that last year’s Agriculture’s Promise program was a little intense for me. One reason was because there were so many interesting people to meet, and so much fascinating information to take in. It was also my second time visiting our nation’s capital, and the first time I went there with a real goal besides seeing Mr. Lincoln and the National Monument. I knew there were issues in our agriculture system and policy, but never before in my life had a congressional aid ask me what I thought about them. It was a little overwhelming in a great way. I found out first hand that that I have a voice, and realized how big of a difference I could make. The experience last year changed my life. Changing the world has always been a goal of mine, and now I know of a way that I can help make this world a better place.
Since Agriculture’s Promise 2010 I have been on a quest for knowledge. Talking to producers and going to meetings are a favorite of mine, but this year I have had a goal in mind. In April when I arrive in DC I will have specific issues in mind to address that I know will directly affect the future of my industry. When sitting across from a congressional aid this year to talk about issues I know that back home my best friend will have a better chance of starting the successful farm of her dreams because I took the time to be an Agvocate.
- Jami Willard
Agriculture’s Promise will be held April 10th – 12th at the Gaylord National in Washington D.C. For more information on Agriculture’s Promise, visit
Check out our second learning module from our 2010 Ag’s Promise event! This discussion identifies key issues effecting young and beginning farmers and producers and provide some strategies for talking about these issues with national leaders and members of Congress.
To learn more about our 2011 Ag’s Promise event coming up April 10th through 12th in Washington D.C., check out the registration form & brochure!
Did you know the NYFEA is now using Vimeo? We’ll use the account to feature educational videos pertaining to agriculture and the next generation of Ag Leaders.
Here’s a video from the 2010 National Young Farmer Educational Association “Agriculture’s Promise” event in Washington, D.C.
This panel discussion sets the foundation of the event’s purpose – to identify key issues effecting young and beginning farmers and producers and provide some strategies for talking about these issues with national leaders and members of Congress.
As we gear up for Agriculture’s Promise 2011 – April 10th through 12th at the Gaylord National in Washington, DC, we want to share former Agriculture’s Promise experiences with you from those who have attended in previous years. Hopefully this will give you a better idea about the event, our organization, and the idea behind Agriculture’s Promise.
Have you ever wanted to gain knowledge about national issues? Wanted the opportunity to be part of a “nationwide consensus” to let the voices of our next generation of ag leaders be heard by our elected officials and USDA? Visit Capitol Hill and talk one on one with your congressman(woman)? If so, you may be very interested in attending [this] year’s Agriculture’s Promise that is hosted by the National Young Farmers Educational Association (NYFEA).
I had the opportunity to attend Ag’s Promise in April. Keith Leydig, Tim Rhoads, and I headed to Washington, DC to attend the delegates’ meeting on Sunday afternoon. We spent a great majority of our time going over NYFEA’s constitution and bylaws, which hopefully will be approved in December in Monterey, CA. I then hung around our nation’s capital to see what Agriculture’s Promise was about and how our state organization could become involved in future years. I was very impressed with the format of the conference and how this offered young agriculturists the opportunity to make their voices heard and go to the Capitol with one voice. We started Monday morning by listening to executives from USDA and agricultural liaisons to the Senate and House that influence the future of agriculture policy. They shared their insights about how policymaking works and how to become a part of that procedure. The participants then brainstormed to compile a list of their priorities (found here). Tuesday the participants took their newly defined message to Capitol Hill and shared it with their elected officials to illustrate the importance of the next generation and what their concerns are for the success of their future operations.
I think this program is a valuable tool for the younger members of our organization; those members who are just out of college or just starting out with their own operations. It will give those members a chance to see how policy works and to add their own concerns and issues to the voice of our next generation.
Thank you to Samantha Jo Pedder for today’s guest blog post on her experience with NYFEA! Don’t forget about the National Institute December 9-11 in Monterey, California! For more information, visit
My closest relationships to agriculture prior to attending Penn State and the National Young Farmers Institute were a few pet goats and chickens, a family garden and many trips to the local county fairs. My name is Samantha Pedder and I am a senior at Penn State majoring in Wildlife Science. I am a hunter and all-around- outdoors woman, with a less than standard knowledge base of the agricultural industry. Never would I have thought that in college I would become interested in agriculture, let alone attend conferences across the nation based on the industry or join an organization such as the National Young Farmer Educational Association (NYFEA).
I was introduced to the NYFEA through a friend who informed me of a trip south to Alabama for the 2009 National Institute. I jumped at the chance to learn about agricultural practices in another state and to attend the leadership training workshop. The trip was a three day tour packed full of southern hospitality, historical and educational stops and laughter. During the trip, I toured one of the largest shipping yards in Mobile and an agriculture research center where I tested a tasty new variety of oranges. I also had the opportunity to participate in the Young Ag Leaders Event (YALE), a great workshop that offered lessons in teamwork and leadership. And finally, I was able to enter a paper in the Ag Communications Contest and learned valuable communication skills during the seminar led by Mr. Carl Jessen. Overall, I learned more on this trip and from the people I met than I ever could have in a classroom.
This experience was a very rewarding and enjoyable chance to delve deeper into agriculture. The 2010 National Institute will be in Monterey, California, and I am already looking for a flight out there. Tours of vineyards and the Dole Salad Plant await in the beautiful landscape of California, as well as a chance to make new friends and learn even more. I guarantee that any person that attends will enjoy themselves and learn quite a bit about agriculture and what it takes to become a leader for our generation. I encourage every student, agriculture major or not, to explore what the NYFEA has to offer at the National Institute this year.
Here are some highlights from the NYFEA Agriculture’s Promise conference in Washington, DC on April 18-20, 2010.
Gordon Stone, Executive Director - “If we don’t have young people, if we don’t have individuals striving to be the leaders, producers, and agribusiness professionals in our industry, then we won’t have an industry.”
Timothy Martini, 2009 Communication Award Winner – “Consumer ignorance – that’s our fault. Consumer ignorance is caused because we aren’t sharing our voice with the right people. When our voice gets heard, and we make those connections in peoples’ minds, that’s when things can start to happen that are positive for our industry. There’s lots of people that are out there against us – HSUS, PETA, other advocacy groups–we hear about them all the time. Consumer ignorance is because we aren’t providing that fundamental Ag education to families who have children, or to K-12 students. It’s providing those quick little pieces that just plant seeds of knowledge for people to really understand what’s going on in our industry. Consumer ignorance will no longer be a problem when we start talking with our congressman and women today in our capital.”
Samantha Pedder, 2009 Ag Communication Award Winner – “I learned more in 15 minutes probably more than I did the past three years of college.”
For more information, check out the video below!
This presentation was given by Jill Heemstra (@LPELC) and Tommy Bass at Agriculture’s Promise 2010 in Washington D.C.
April 28, 2010
Agriculture’s Promise 2010: Making Friends in DC
The 2010 Agriculture’s Promise conference was a huge success. Held at the Gaylord National Resort in Washington DC, the attendees, from California, Pennsylvania, Alabama and across the nation, experienced two days of unique insight into the nation’s agricultural policy. They had a visit from Michael Scuse, the Deputy Under Secretary of Agriculture at USDA. They heard from Chuck Conner, the CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and John Hays, Vice President for National Programs at The Farm Credit Council. The group learned how to be effective advocates from the past winners of the NYFEA Ag Communications Award. Further, there was interaction with members of Congress and their staffers. This was highlighted by a special briefing by Congressman Mike Rogers (a member of the House Agricultural Committee).
The group had the chance to interact with fellow attendees and even produced 5 Key Points that were put on handouts and delivered to Congress. The idea was simply to start reminding Congress that attendees from the beginning farmer and young agriculturalists sectors are important to the nation’s future.
5 Key Points for Agriculture’s Next Generation
1. Congress and USDA should support organizations that tell agriculture’s story.
Why is it important?
-The average age of the American farmer increases every year. Encouraging a younger generation of farmers to start producing food and fiber for America will be vital to the future of our country.
- The American consumer wants to know the source of their food. Educational programs are critical.
2. Public policy should balance agricultural production with environmental protection and energy independence
Why is it important? Farmers are the first environmentalists. Without a pristine environment, agricultural production will suffer. With the emphasis on energy independence, American agriculture can play a vital role in providing resources. The beginning producer is creative in markets and production but new products require funding and support.
3. Congress should assist new farmers as they transition into production agriculture.
Why is it important? The next generation of farmers must be able to start producing without the heavy tax burden that might force them to give up portions of their farm.
4. Policy should be designed to continue federal funding for agricultural-based education programs.
Why is it important? The next generation must be equipped with the technical, scientific, and communications skills to produce and market tomorrow’s agricultural goods.
5. Congress should adopt a Farm Bill that promotes the marketing of agricultural products
Why is it important? The next generation must be competitive in the world market.
Here’s a little idea of what this case study entails. We’ll try to post the entire presentation soon!
Thomas Bass (Montana State University) & Jill Hoemstra ( U of Nebraska – Lincoln)
Navigating Environmental Issues: Beginning Livestock & Poultry Producers
US Senator Jon Tester
- 3rd gen farmer, butcher, and teacher
- 1500 + acres primarily organic wheat and barley
- Big Sandy, MT: pop 703
Quotes from letter from Sen. Tester: “There will always be challenges. There will also always be opporutnities. Be an innovator. Most of the successful farmers I know today took chances no one else would…. The future of agriculture is bright, and you are the future.”
- Primarily non-point source water pollution
- Collective run off from an area
- In animal ag: run-off could be from confinement areas, manure, and feed storage, or land application areas.
- Livestock and poultry operations have the potential to contribute the following to waters of the US:
- organic matter
- Existing Regulations
- Primarily water quality driven
- Clean water act (CWA< USEPA< 1972, 77, 87)
- CAFO Permitting
- State rules and delegated authority
- State rules and delegated authority
- State enforce on behalf of federal government
- Local ordinances
- Zoning, setback, air quality, other
- Animal Feeding Operations
- Most detailed an descriptive rules apply to Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs and CAFOs)
- Permitting: federa and/or state level
- Animals in confinement in area with no vegetation (or inside), feed delivered
- Permits are size based
- Base of permit and documentation
- Nutrient Management plan (NMP)
- “Nutrient and Manure Checkbook”
- Document and supporting records that account for fertilizer and manure; needs, inventory, use (land application) and export
- Based on: soil tests, manure tests, yield goals and crop nutrient needs
- Also documents other
- Benefits Beyond Compliance
- NMP or similar environmental plan can:
- Allow for better use of on-site manure nutrients; save on fertilizer purchases and improve soil
- Reduce liability of spills/water pollution
- Document/defend against environmental accusation
- Improve access to credit & insurance
- Pasture and Range
- Little regulation exists
- Many options for voluntary conservation and stewardship
- Poor management could attract unwanted attention
- Clean water act can still apply
- On the horizon: air and emissions
- Green House Gasses (CH4, CO3, N2O)
Michael Scuse, Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (FFAS)
First, I’m not a beaurocrat. I’m a Kent County dirt farmer. That’s my true love.
Our farm community keeps getting smaller and growing older. The average age of the American farmer is 57. I’m hoping we can stop that, that the average age will come down, and that we’ll get young people interested in agriculture and keep them there.
USDA programs are helping Americans from coast to coast – providing snap benefits to 38 million Americans. Providing disaster relief to farmers to help them get their farms up and running again. We’re called the “everyday every way” organization. We also provide 31 million school children with lunches.
We focus on reaching out to all Americans, open communication with all stakeholders and everyday Americans. We began “Know your Farmer, Know your Food” to educate the 98% of our population that are consumers far removed from farms today. We need to do a better job of educating people about where their food comes from. It doesn’t come from Walmart down the street. It comes from your farms and ranches.
We’re working to make sure farmers and ranchers stay strong through the economic downtown. We’re also working to end child hunger in America by 2015. Last night, 1 billion people went to bed hungry. We don’t think about it in the US, but we have children here who go to bed every night hungry. We need to address our issues here, as well as those 1 billion people going hungry.
Women are returning to the farm in the same numbers as men. Over the past few years, some Americans from non-farm backgrounds are leaving careers to start a new career in agriculture. To start a new farm, isn’t easy. Land costs are extremely high, and younger people have more trouble obtaining credit. It’s not an easy industry even for seasoned veterans, so it stands to reason starting a new operation is tough. USDA is committed to providing these farmers with the tools they need and all the help they can possible give.
FAS exist to help farmers and ranchers. That is our sole purpose. We work in industries around the world and is in 97 countries. We’re also at work in Washington working on new programs and targeting those programs to young farmers. The work of maintaining high level markets for agricultural products is maintained by staff at FAS. Healthy trade agreements and robust markets are imperative to this industry. That 13.2 billion bushel corn crop we did this year is no fluke. Because of technology, this numbers will grow.
Just 10 years ago, the value of US products exported was 10 billion dollars. In 2009, the value was $96.7 billion. We just had the largest trading month in history in November with 10 billion dollars. The first fiscal quarter of this year was the largest quarter of trade we’ve ever had. We’re on course this year to export over $100 billion dollars worth of products. That’s the second largest year ever.
We need good young people, not just on the field or on the ranch, but in government as well. We need to best and brightest to help USDA serve the ag community in the best manner possible.