For the past few years I have attended the Canadian Young Farmers Forum (CYFF) AGM. While there we network with other young farmers from across Canada.
Young Farmers are 18-40 years in age. With the average age of farmers increasing it can be a smaller group than might be expected. During our time with CYFF we have improved our leardership skills, working on business planning and lots more.
I never thought I would have anything in common with someone that can farm 12,000 acres of grain in Saskatchewan. We have a friend Jeff, from Rose Valley, SK (which I think is also interesting) other than his operation is larger and different crops.
We sat down and discussed that we both have the same challenges in Agriculture even though we can be what seems like worlds apart. We have another friend Larry from Northern Saskatchewan that will be helping us design a wind block in the upcoming year(s).
It has helped us network with other small farmers, and share our knowledge and experiences with them and hear their stories as well.
We will be working with a young couple from Norfork county in Ontario to help with some ideas on how to get up and going on the vegetable side of things. He is currently a dairy farmer.
During our time there we attend several sessions each day. This year with the Conference being in Ottawa we got to meet with MP Wayne Easter for a meeting.
We also got to sit in on Question Period at the Parliament, which was a new experience for both of us.
At the banquet that evening we sat at the table with Minister Shea. It isn’t every day we get a chance to speak with the MP’s and let them know what is happening on our farm here.
We had an evening with Country singer Jason McCoy. It was a lot of fun, more like a kitchen party then a concert since our group was fairly small. Jeff and I (Carey) had a song dedicated to us at the beginning, and I got my picture taken with him. We had lots of fun, and lots of other Young Farmers joined in for some karaoke and lots of fun.
It is a trip I look forward to taking each year to help develop skills, have more networking opportunities and get away.
I now hold a position on the National board, as Member at large. I am looking forward to this opportunity that my peers have nominated me for. I think it will be a great experience that I can learn from and bring lots back to the Island and other commodity groups that we are involved in.
Until next year; which I can’t wait for there is lots to do. Lots of things to now put into action on the farm and challenges to take up.