2024 Kentucky Farm Bureau Congressional Tour - Kentucky Farm Bureau

2024 Kentucky Farm Bureau Congressional Tour

Posted on Mar 20, 2024
KFB Outstanding Youth Brooklyn Felts and Ty Jones with Senator McConnell.

Seeing advocacy through the eyes of KFB’s Outstanding Youth

Nearly 320 Kentucky Farm Bureau members made their way to the nation’s capital to participate in this year’s Congressional Tour.

During the event, attendees gathered to get updates from the American Farm Bureau Federation’s government affairs directors, as well as national agriculture leaders. They also met with Congressional representatives and participated in a Q&A session with Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul.

“This annual event is very important to our advocacy efforts as we bring issues from the farm to the halls of Congress,” KFB President Eddie Melton said. “To be the most effective advocates we can be, continuing to stay in touch with our government leaders and keeping them informed of agriculture issues, is essential to our success.”

While many of the attendees have been making this an annual trip for many years, both 2024 KFB Outstanding Youths, Brooklyn Felts of Nicholas County, and Ty Jones of Allen County, were visiting Washington D.C. for the very first time.

Each year, KFB invites its Outstanding Youth winners named at the annual meeting to attend the Congressional Tour. In addition to taking in the many historical sites in and around the nation’s capital, the two also attend the business meetings held during the trip.

Nine-year-old Katherine White of Union County asked the first question during the Senate Q&A.

Brooklyn Felts

As a first-timer to DC, Felts said it was an eye-opening experience.

“It was amazing seeing all the buildings and just how old they are, and everything's so big,” she said. “Walking up to the Washington Monument, or the Lincoln Memorial, they are a lot bigger than I expected, and such detail is put into every little thing. I feel a lot more thankful, now in seeing how everyone here is so prideful and joyful about what they're seeing in their nation's capital.”

Since being named the KFB Outstanding Youth Female Winner, Felts has become more aware of what the organization does, especially having attended the business meetings held during the Congressional Tour.

“There’s a lot to KFB with the Federation side and the Insurance Company side, and being able to see that, and hear the leaders talking about it and what they're each working for was really cool,” she said. "It's great to know they have a voice in  Washington." 

Felts also said she was familiar with many of the programs made available at the local and state Farm Bureau levels, but now she sees how effective they are when it comes to national policy.

“Coming to Washington and seeing the members advocating for all the different programs that we have, speaking with our senators and all the representatives, and telling them about issues, I never personally even thought about all that until now,” she said.

Felts emphasized the importance of a new generation being involved in Farm Bureau and the agriculture industry.

“The future lies in the next generation's hands,” she said. “I know I feel agriculture is home to me, and I know that if I want it to continue to be home, we're all going to have to keep pushing for it to be at its best, whether that be here on the national level or even just within our communities.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell greets Kentucky Farm Bureau President Eddie Melton during the 2024 KFB Congressional Tour in Washington, D.C.

Ty Jones

This was also a first visit to Washington for Jones, and
while the family farm and Farm Bureau have been a part of his life, seeing DC brought a new  kind of excitement to him.

 “It was great touring around our nation's capital, and I enjoyed looking at all the monuments and buildings here in the city,” he said. “It's very remarkable knowing how much time and effort it has taken to build some of these statues and monuments.”

But Jones was equally interested in the business side of the trip seeing grassroots advocacy in action.

“It was very cool listening to AFBF and trade leaders during one of the morning meetings,” he said.  “As a grassroots organization, we can talk to our Congressional leaders and tell them how we feel about agricultural issues so it can affect their decisions.”

Jones believes supporting the farm and agriculture can begin at a young age.

“I think as soon as you can talk and be involved in agriculture, you are an advocate in some way,” he said. “You always want to be a positive advocate and show the positive things that agriculture can do for you and your life and everyone else around you.”

Jones said the programs that Farm Bureau has created for young people demonstrate how interested the organization is in the next generation of agriculturalists.

“It shows how KFB brings youth up in their program which is great for helping people reach their maximum potential,” he said. “As you look at statistics about the average age of the farmer, I think it's very important that young people like myself come back to the family farm and strive to make agriculture better through improvements of technology.”

Jones said he was glad he got to see everything in Washington, and all it had to offer.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to represent Farm Bureau and to be an advocate for the organization and agriculture,” he said.


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