Young Farmer Leadership Conference...Posted on Mar 2, 2012
No better group to receive that message than young farm families, most of whom are juggling a variety of roles and responsibilities while working within a dynamic industry.
A former disc jockey, livestock auctioneer and business executive who has written three books, McCall was among the featured presenters at KFB’s Young Farmer Leadership Conference last month in Bowling Green. The annual event attracted just over 300 members from young farm families in 59 counties.
McCall had two workshops dealing with the “warp speed world” theme and also was the keynote luncheon speaker during the final day of the two-day conference. He had some sound advice for the young people as they race through a fast-paced world.
“We’ve entered a time in history when technology has changed us quite a bit,” he said in his opening. “We’re living at high speed with information coming at us fast. Things like cell phones, which are supposed to be a convenience, only make life more complicated. You live by these devices. And it takes so much out of us; to live life so fast.”
A noted humorist, McCall told several funny tales to illustrate his point about today’s culture. He drew laughter after relating a story in which he was at an airport check-in desk seeking a change to get an earlier flight home. While typing furiously into the computer system, the airline clerk told him the prospects were bleak. Then, the e-mail suddenly buzzed on his phone, with a message confirming he had been transferred to an earlier flight. It was many seconds later when the embarrassed clerk received that information on her computer, McCall said.
He also made several references to the lack of common sense and emphasis on “political correctness” that permeates today’s society, making life more frustrating.
The gist of his presentation was to recommend four things to help people slow down and re-energize. They are: (1) Exercise. “Challenge your heart. Be physically stronger. That will help you deal with your daily responsibilities.” (2) Spend more time with people who make you feel good about yourself. “Avoid negativity. Commit yourself to being one of those people who say good things; a person that others want to be with because you make them feel good.”
(3) Take a day off every now and then. “Step out of the arena and catch your breath. Most people are reluctant to do that because they don’t think it’s right. There’s a difference between selfishness and self-preservation.” (4) Read something inspirational every day.
McCall, who lives in northern Tennessee, later gave a keynote address about keeping priorities in order.
Other workshops and presentations focused on agricultural literacy programs, public policy issues, production technology, estate planning and a beginning farmer program administered by the UK College of Agriculture.
KFB President Mark Haney gave a welcome at the opening luncheon, saying the conference afforded a “great opportunity to learn about issues, hone your leadership skills and network with your peers.”
Haney said he hoped young farmers would “seize the opportunities” that have emerged because of a strong farm economy. “This is such a special time for agriculture,’ he said. “Opportunity is the greatest I’ve seen. I urge you to look at how you can benefit.”
KFB Executive Vice President David S. Beck told the group during breakfast remarks that “our young farmer program is second to none.” He encouraged the young farmers to become involved with their respective county Farm Bureau by working on projects through the various county committees. “Identify the areas you’d like to get involved with; work through the committee process,” he said.
Beck also encouraged involvement in public policy and public relations initiatives.
“This organization needs to hear from our young farmers to make sure that our policy meets the needs of young farmers,” he said.
Agriculture Commissioner James Comer was the featured speaker at the closing session.