Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership conference

Farm Forum

HURON — Young farmers and ranchers from across South Dakota and Wyoming joined together for a conference in Deadwood. This was a one-of-a-kind conference joining the young farmers and ranchers from the two states for a leadership conference held together. It was a great opportunity to network and build new friendships, while learning alongside other young people interested in agriculture. One participant noted that “Deadwood was great for a joint conference. This was my first Farm Bureau Experience. I really enjoyed it and hope to get more involved in Farm Bureau.”

This conference brought together a full lineup of top-quality speakers and beneficial topics, and left the participants with some great ideas to take home. The conference started off with Troy and Stacy Hadrick of Advocates for Agriculture giving an inspirational talk on “Discovering Your Influential Power.” Conference participants also heard from Rick LaPlante, Business and Leadership Consultant on “Transitioning from a Family Operation to an Agricultural Business that Blesses the Family.” There were also numerous breakout sessions on topics from grazing management, critical analysis of conservation easements, telling your story through a camera lens, beef reproduction strategies to load limits in Wyoming and South Dakota.

A Discussion meet was held at the leadership conference. A discussion meet is designed to simulate a committee meeting and Farm Bureau’s grassroot policy development process. This competition was evaluated on an exchange of ideas and information on a pre-determined topic. Bryce McKenzie, a student at Northwest College in Wyoming was the winner of the discussion meet and took home a $100 gift card. South Dakota and Wyoming both host discussion meets in their states where a winner is selected to compete at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting with the chance of winning a new GM pick-up or Case IH tractor.

The conference ended with some wonderful tours of High Plains Genetics and the Blair Ranch. Conference participants enjoyed the opportunity to see agriculture at its greatest on the tours. “We don’t raise livestock, but having an opportunity to learn more about the process and lifestyle through the tour of Blair Ranch and High Plain Genetics was fascinating to a girl who only knows about corn, soybeans and sunflowers! I loved being able to learn about what others do” stated Becca Ihen of Tulare, South Dakota.

This was a family-friendly event, so childcare was provided on-site for attendees who had young families and wanted to bring their children along.

Young Farmers & Ranchers program includes both men and women between the ages of 18-35. The objective of the Young Farmers & Ranchers program is to provide leadership in building a more effective Farm Bureau to preserve our individual freedoms and expand our opportunities in agriculture. YF&R members are enthusiastic about agriculture, while developing leadership skills and having a positive impact on agriculture. To learn more about the South Dakota Young Farmer and Rancher program please go to and the Wyoming Young Farmer and Rancher program go to