Ag News

GFB Young Farmer & Rancher Conference focuses on gaining ground

The 2018 Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Conference, set for July 19-21 on Jekyll Island, will follow the theme “Gaining Ground.”

The conference, to be held on Jekyll Island for the sixth straight year, will feature the YF&R competitive events, a golf tournament to raise money for the GFB Foundation for Agriculture, the Calf’s Weight in Change fundraiser for the Georgia Food Bank Association, children’s activities and educational workshops.

General session speakers include: American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Director of Organization Development Elise Stoddard, who will focus on bridging the generational divide; FarmBabe Michelle Miller, who will discuss social advocacy; Tim Hammerich of the Future of Ag podcasts and Chad Scruggs of the Farm Service Agency.

The conference kicks off on July 19 with an evening cookout at Great Dunes Park with  party inflatable for the kids.

On July 20, the competitions begin in the Young Farmer & Rancher Discussion Meet and Excellence in Agriculture interviews. The winners of those competitions and the winner of the Achievement Award competition will be announced at the closing general session on July 21. The winners of the three contests advance to national competition at the AFBF Convention in New Orleans in January.

The Discussion Meet, which features approximately 30 competitors from around the state, is a committee-style conversation focusing on topics important to agriculture. Competitors will be divided into groups of five or six for the first two rounds, after which the top 16 will be determined. The Sweet 16 round will be held the same day, and the Final Four will be announced via Facebook Live on the Georgia Farm Bureau Facebook page. The final round will be held July 21.

The YF&R Achievement Award recognizes farmers between the ages of 18 and 35 who earn the majority of their income from production agriculture. The finalsts are Elton Baldy of Colquitt County, Will and Heather Cabe of Franklin County and Mitchell and Becky Pittman of Toombs County.

The Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes farmers between the ages of 18 and 35 who earn the majority of their income from something other than production agriculture. The finalists are Caroline Lewallen of Hall County, Melissa Mathis of Monroe County and Justin Shealey of Cook County.

Follow GFB’s coverage of the conference at