South Dakota Farm Bureau members to attend FUSION Conference

Farm Forum

Huron — More than 1,350 farmers and ranchers from across the country will gather for the 2015 FUSION Conference on Feb. 13-16, in Nashville, Tenn. The FUSION Conference, which stands for “farmers united: skills, inspiration, outreach and networking,” is a program of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

Several members of the South Dakota Farm Bureau plan to attend, including Renae and Travis Gebhart, producers from Meadow, S.D. The Gebharts serve on the AFBF Young Farmer & Rancher committee and have been instrumental in planning this conference.

“We are really excited to be able to send SDFB members to this conference especially since this is the first time this conference has been offered,” said Wayne Smith, SDFB executive director.

The FUSION Conference will include informative sessions on agricultural advocacy, business, communication, leadership, agricultural education in the classroom, professional development, rural development and technology.

“Participants will be able to learn anything from using big data information in their operations, to finding out about applying for available grants to use in their rural communities, to media training, and to developing lesson plans to use in a classroom,” said Gebhart. “Attendees will also have the opportunity to go on tours to explore the various aspects of agriculture in the Nashville area. After the tours, all participants will join together for a Grand Finale Event at the Wild Horse Saloon.”

In addition to the seminars and tours, the FUSION Conference is hosting the AFBF Collegiate Discussion Meet, where college students who are members of their university’s Farm Bureau organization will compete for scholarships.

The event also includes a food drive with donations going to the Second Harvest Food Bank Middle Tennessee, an evening boat cruise, and a silent auction.

“AFBF is a general agricultural organization, so it is so nice to be able to meet and network with other agricultural-minded people from across the nation,” said Gebhart. “Travis and I really enjoy the opportunity to learn about the different aspects of agriculture that are not familiar to South Dakota. We appreciate learning about the challenges and rewards that others involved in the industry are experiencing and what they are doing to overcome the issues.”

The conference brings together three different AFBF committees from across the nation including: YF&R, Promotions and Education, and Women’s Leadership Teams.

For more information on the 2015 FUSION Conference, check out