Each year, the young farmers group is allowed to attend the annual Young Farmers Conference and Tours. The biggest benefit in attending these conferences is not only to learn from and experience different farming techniques and industries, but also to network and make connections with other like-minded farmers across the state. With the ongoing pandemic, the conference was certainly a little different this year, but still very much profitable for our members.
This year, the conference was held in Huntsville in Madison County. Usually kicking off with a big group dinner announcing awardees and state updates, the conference started off very differently this year. Due to COVID-19, all formal group gatherings were canceled, having the conference officially kick off with the farm tours. With so many tour options to help cut down on the crowds, there were a lot of great tour groups to choose from this year.
Young Farmers Chairman, Evan Nelson and wife Christy attended a tour focusing on cattle. While visiting Cornutt Farms and later Sumners Farm, they were treated to beautiful views of cows and were able to hear straight from the farmers who care for them. On the flip side, two other members were able to experience and learn about the agritourism side of agriculture visiting Tate Farms in Madison County and later see local beekeeper Bill Mullin's process for bottling honey at Bill's Honey Farm. Both tours provided interesting insights to different sides of agriculture in Alabama.
Although the tours were a great feature for this year's Young Farmer's Conference, one of the best highlights had to be our own Young Farmer's Chairman Evan Nelson and wife Christy winning the Hay and Forage division of the "Outstanding Young Farm Family." This is awarded to one farm family each year, chosen from candidates across the state. It was a great surprise and well deserved award.
"We had a great time competing for the OYFF this year. When we joined Young Farmers, we knew no one. Literally felt like a fish out of water, and over the years have gotten to know so many incredible people! We feel so grateful to be around ‘our people’---fellow young farm families---and know that we aren’t alone in an industry that is foreign to so many. If you are new to farming, or have been doing it for years, I encourage you to get involved with your community. We are all just one big family trying to figure it out." --The Nelsons
To see more photos from this year's Young Farmers Conference, visit the YF facebook.