KFB Continues its Support of Education with a Summer of LearningPosted on Jul 30, 2018
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
President John F. Kennedy
Each summer, Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) hosts a number of events which are all connected by one common denominator; education.
From the Teacher Workshops to the Roadside Market Tour to the Institute for Future Agricultural Leaders (IFAL) and the Young Farmer Summer Outing; all of these bring teachers, students and Farm Bureau members and leaders together to learn new things, network with others, and discover new ideas.
“The hope in offering these types of events is that those who attend, be they producers on the farm, or teachers and students in the classroom, or young agricultural leaders in the workplace; will have their lives enriched,” said KFB President Mark Haney. “KFB prides itself in providing the best learning opportunities we can to continue our commitment to education at all levels.”
This summer’s events featured a number of “firsts” for those who participated, as well as many of the familiar features offered each year.
KFB Regional Teacher Workshops
In continuing a long-standing tradition of providing valuable professional development opportunities to teachers across the state, this year’s KFB Regional Teacher Workshops seemed as popular as ever, as hundreds of teachers and school administrators participated in these annual learning events. Workshop locations included, Lake Barkley in Cadiz; Owensboro River Park Center; Barren River Lake in Lucas; Gheens Foundation Lodge in Louisville; Morehead State University; Pine Mountain in Pineville; and Spindletop Hall in Lexington.
These day-long workshops were designed to address Kentucky’s core educational competencies while showcasing a variety of state and national agricultural topics, incorporating gardening and agriculture into all areas of curriculum through easy-to-replicate interdisciplinary lessons.
In addition to the hands-on ag-related lessons, local field trips were offered along with presentations by other agriculture organizations, all providing learning opportunities for those teachers and administrators in attendance.
Lee Goss, an assistant principal for curriculum and instruction at Mercer County High School was attending her first workshop after hearing so much about it from one of her fellow educators.
“Agriculture is a natural part of our world and students don’t always understand that, and don’t see that until we open their eyes about how ag is involved in everything we are as a society,” she said. “I learned many things that I can take back and share with our teachers and students. This is the type of professional development we need more of. It provides information we can actually apply in different ways in the classroom, because the classroom is different than it was 20 years ago.”
KFB’s Institute for Future Agricultural Leaders (IFAL) continues to be one of the most sought after “summer camps” of its kind in the state for high school juniors.
This five-day event brings students to Murray State University (MSU) and the University of Kentucky (UK) and allows them to explore different fields of study for careers in agriculture while giving them a glimpse into college life by touring the schools and meeting with faculty members.
The program also allows students to become more familiar with Farm Bureau and ag issues including a FB 101 session and their participation in the American Farm Bureau Federation- (AFBF) developed discussion meet, a debate-style competition for young farmers and agriculturalists.
Alex Burke, a student from Breckinridge County and UK IFAL attendee, said as an FFA member and ag advocate he feels that the younger population should understand some of the pressing issues in agriculture.
“During IFAL, we were able to take a look at some of these issues and come up with potential solutions,” he said. “I can say that when I left, I had a much better understanding of some these ag-related concerns that must be solved, and I now realize that my generation will play a large role in solving them.”
Joza Mikulcik, a student from Calloway County and a participant at the Murray IFAL event said the college farm tours were one of her favorite activities that took place there.
“I got to see the different agricultural pursuits taking place and being implemented at MSU,” she said.
In speaking about ag issues, Mikulcik said the subject of foreign trade was especially important and one of the topics used during the discussion meet competition.
“I did a lot of research to prepare for this discussion but it has also been a topic around our farm, as well,” she said. “Our student group talked about some of the current problems connected to trade but we also talked about the importance of agriculture and what a big part of the economy it is.”
Roadside Market Tour
This year’s Roadside Market Tour featured a nine-day trip to Alaska, marking the first time the event was held in the country’s northern-most state. Each year, this tour is offered as a way for KFB members to discover how markets operate in other states and serves as a way to gain knowledge for their businesses by learning from other similar businesses.
David Chappell, KFB state director, chair of the KFB Roadside Farm Market Committee and producer from Owen County said this was a very special tour in that producers from here got to see “a whole new world” related to roadside farm markets.
“This trip provided our members and producers an opportunity to see a completely different side of the agriculture industry,” he said. “But I think it also allowed them to see that no matter where we live or what we grow, as farm families we all face some of the same issues and enjoy some of the same successes in our respective businesses.”
Young Farmer Summer Outing
This year’s Young Farmer Summer Outing brought nearly three hundred participants to Bowling Green for this annual two-day event. Attendees heard from KFB leadership, who spoke on many topics including the importance of relationships with their local and state lawmakers, the significance of the policy development process, and an update on some of the current agricultural issues going on at the state and national levels.
They also were able to take tours of local agri-businesses and enjoyed family activities. The summer outing traditionally hosts the Discussion Meet preliminaries where the four finalists, who will participate in the state competition at the KFB Annual Meeting, are chosen.
This year’s finalists include: Mike Meyer, Harrison County; Lilly Robertson, Logan County; Mackenzie Wright, Carrol County; and Brian Welch, Hopkins County.
In addition to the Discussion Meet finalist being announced, this year’s Young Farm Family finalists were also announced. They are Jonathan and Elizabeth White, from Union County;
Nicholas and Bethan Hardesty, from Meade County; and Wesley and Alicia Logsdon, from Pulaski County.
One of the most unique parts of this annual event is the networking opportunities provided though its Eggs and Issues breakfast which brings participants together in their respective districts to discuss issues and concerns they have as it relates to their farming operations and the ag industry as a whole. The attendees will also get a chance to hear from KFB leaders about the most current legislative issues during the breakfast.
John Pedigo is the KFB Young Farmer Committee Chair. He said this outing serves as one of the most important events for young farm families throughout the year.
“As young farmers, events like the summer outing give us a chance to learn from leadership but to also have our voices heard pertaining to a number of issues specific to us,” he said. “We need to foster this next generation of agriculturalists in order to ensure we can meet future food and fiber needs in this country and around the world.”