I (Carey) have just returned from my annual trip to the CYFF Conference and AGM. Since February 2011 I have attended the Canadian Young Farmers Forum. My first year was in Winnipeg and before I went I wondered what I would have in common with some of the other farmers from across Canada, especially some of the grain farmers from the Prairies. That year in Winnipeg I learned about the Canadian Wheat board, and its role. Since then things have changed. We went on farm tours. We went to an experimental farm, a dairy farm and others. It was a great opportunity to see how some larger scale operations worked.
That is the year when I learned about being a leader about really being a leader. I have always took on leadership roles, but this was when things really turned for me. When I realized that we need to have young farmers involved in agriculture, that they will be the future leaders. I met so many different farmers. I learned about small scale farming in the Yukon. Who would have thought that you could farm in the Yukon. We shared ideas and challenges. And to my surprise they were the same.
It is the time I met some grain farmers that have 10,000+ acres in mixed grains. I would never have thought I would have farming friends from across Canada when we moved to PEI, especially from all across Canada.
My friend Kerry is a chicken producer in BC. He is also the Chair of CYFF. I have been able to contact him on occasion if I have questions and even where I might be able to purchase something like nipple drinkers for our hens so we don’t have to carry buckets of water out all the time. Or Jill that has free range poultry as well. She did a virtual farm tour this year and to my surprise has a lot of the same challenges. Even with being on the opposite coast (she is also from BC) she has the same predator, challenges and successes.
While at the conference they focus on business management and professional development which help us to operate our farm and business better, and also help us learn about board governance . It is helping to create the future leaders of agriculture.
The 2013/14 CYFF Board, and US guests
This year we also had representatives from the United States. I learned how they operate their farms and their challenges as well. Once again we are all facing the same challenges.
I seem to really connect with the farmers from BC. I am not sure what it is but we also have connected with Ravi. He has a greenhouse operation and grows peppers. He has inspired us in many ways.
The delegates from PEI
I am already looking forward to going back to the conference next year. During these sessions we do not focus on a certain sector, but agriculture as a whole. There are break out sessions and round table discussions. I don’t think I could ask to be involved with a better group of farmers. I know I have support from across the country and lots of farmers in the same situation that we can bounce ideas off of when we face challenges, and even more that we can celebrate our success with. I do not think I would be where I am today, including my involvement on Boards without this organization.
A big thank you to CYFF, for helping to make me, our farm and my outlook on the future what it is.
The 2014 CYFF Delegates