Collegiate Farm Bureau: Universities Provide Students with Ag Leadership OpportunitiesPosted on Mar 12, 2018
In its ongoing efforts to help young people become involved in the agriculture industry as well as to share with them more about Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) as an organization, a program was created specifically for college students to assist in achieving these goals.
The Collegiate Farm Bureau (CFB) program provides college students with leadership development opportunities, preparing them for future roles in Farm Bureau, other agricultural organizations, their communities, and the state. The program also helps to expose students to agricultural issues and Farm Bureau’s structure, philosophy and public policy process.
Eastern Kentucky University and Murray State University currently have CFB programs in place on their campuses as this program continues to grow.
Four of EKU’s members recently made the trip to the 2018 KFB Young Farmer Winter Conference thanks to the support of Madison County Farm Bureau. Those members included Kendal Bowman, EKU’s chapter vice president; Kasi Schneid, chapter secretary, Bethany Cruse, a recent new chapter member, and Grant Hagerman, the self-described laborer for the EKU chapter.
As an FFA chapter and regional officer, Schneid said she became aware of the Farm Bureau organization by way of the local Madison County office before coming to college.
“They were always there when we needed something like sponsoring us to go to the national convention. We have turned to Farm Bureau because we knew they were willing to help,” she said. “So, when I heard about the college program after I began classes at EKU, I really wanted to get involved because I knew how much they had helped me in the past."
Cruse, a third generation farmer said she saw several posters around campus promoting CFB as well as hearing about it from some of her friends.
“Since I’m new to the program, the Young Farmers Conference was my first event to attend as a CFB member and I’d like to help with the campus Ag Awareness Day our chapter organizes,” she said. “I think events such as that are important to have because so many people are far removed from the farm and it is important they understand how we care for our animals and where our food comes from.”
Hagerman began his involvement in CFB last year helping with the Ag Awareness Day. He said being a part of the program makes him feel like somewhat of an agriculture advocate.
“I feel strongly about our CFB chapter in that it helps to reach students about the importance of leadership and how agriculture touches their lives every day,” he said.
Bowman grew up in Farm Bureau with his family being members, and coming from an agriculture background, as well.
“I wanted to become more involved in our ag department at school and saw a poster announcing a CFB meeting one day and started from there,” he said. “We have regular meetings on campus with Farm Bureaus leaders joining us to guide us on how to be more involved and the opportunities that arise within the organization.
Bowman also said it’s important to help teach other students about agriculture while continuing to build a relationship with Madison County Farm Bureau.
Richard Cobb, the county President said it’s very important to expose young people to the opportunities available to them through agriculture and KFB.
“Collegiate Farm Bureau really opens up, to these students, some of the opportunities available to them through the organization,” he said. “And we need to show them as wide array of agriculture programs, services and opportunities as possible to keep them interested in the ag industry. We don’t want this country to wake up one day and have a short food supply so we need to keep these young people involved.”
Cobb also said creating good relationships such as the one between Madison County Farm Bureau and EKU, develops numerous opportunities at the local level. But more than that, he pointed out that not all students who become involved in Eastern’s CFB are from Kentucky and learning about the organization here could teach them of the benefits in their local Farm Bureaus.
Greg Harris, Madison County Vice President said there are several other state Farm Bureaus that are involved with CFB and he would like to see it expand in this state.
“It’s very popular in other states and we are seeing that popularity get on track here in Kentucky,” he said. “This program has a lot of potential for local Farm Bureaus and the campuses in their areas. We’d like to see it grow here.”
Harris noted that with several colleges located from one end of the state to the other, the potential exists for most local Farm Bureaus to become involved in CFB.