Thursday, April 27, 2017

That Time I Wore a Speaker Ribbon on My Conference Badge

The 2017 American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) annual convention was marked by the word ‘UNITE’.  In an opening statement by AFBF President, Zippy Duvall, he said “Our annual convention is about uniting members from across the country to celebrate the importance of agriculture to every American’s life…”  

In my work as an agricultural literacy coordinator I know this to be true.  As a way to broaden the impact we can make through our agricultural literacy efforts locally I worked with a colleague to create a 4-H Ag in the Classroom (AITC) Teen Teacher program.  Our 4-H AITC Teen Teacher program has more than 30 FFA members from four schools that create and teach lessons focused around agriculture and the environment at six After-School programs.  Our teens have worked to generate more than 15 lessons that are fun, hands-on and engaging for youth, while educating these soon-to-be consumers about the importance of agriculture and the care that farmers take to grown the food needed to feed the world.   

I won't lie, we had big expectations for this collaboration!  We wanted to impact and teach youth about agriculture, but we hoped to inspire teenagers to advocate for agriculture too.  Through their volunteering our Teen Teachers gained important skills like teamwork, responsibility, patience, public speaking while also exploring a possible career in agricultural communication and education!

Our passion for agricultural education was nationally recognized when our Teen Teacher program was selected to present at the AFBF annual convention in Phoenix this past January.  I was honored (and a little nervous) to share with a standing room only audience about how others could replicate our program!  I'm hopeful that those in attendance were energized to recruit teens to create their own Teen Teacher groups to deliver lessons about agricultural commodities and the care taken to preserve important natural resources.  

AFBF President, Zippy Duvall, went on to say at the convention in Phoenix that, “we want the public to understand that we (farmers and ranchers) share their values of safe and healthy food and a healthy environment.”  Our Teen Teacher program strongly believes everyone from kindergarteners to consumers should know that their food is responsibly grown and cared for by farmers as it comes from the farm to their tables.  

My trip to Phoenix wasn't all just sweating over a presentation and work either!  I had an opportunity to get out of the city and see some of the beautiful terrain the Southwest has to offer.  The purple cactus' were my favorite.  Obviously.

I also had the opportunity to connect with some other agvocates like Marji from FarmHer and JPLovesCotton

Next year's AFBF annual convention is in Nashville and I've already downloaded the Speaker Proposal.  I guess you could say I've gotten the bug!  That and I know my Kimes Ranch Jeans, Aaron Watson shirt and turquoise jewelry would fit just as well in Tennessee as it did in Arizona...



  1. Your outfit post is super cute! I've been wanting a pair of Kimes jeans...but waiting until after this second baby so I know what size will fit. ;)

    1. They're pretty great! It's hard to bite the bullet, but the couple pairs I've had hold up really well.