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FFA's New Century Farmer conference begins 14th year

Audrey Kittrell 07/22/2011 @ 3:55pm Editorial Intern for Successful Farming magazine and Agriculture Online

A new generation of aspiring farmers is filtering into Des Moines, Iowa this weekend from 24 states for the 14th annual New Century Farmer (NCF) conference.  The National FFA Organization selected 50 young people to participate in the five-day program that will prepare the students for a future in production agriculture.

The NCF conference will be held in Johnston, Iowa at the Global headquarters of program sponsor Pioneer Hi-Bred a Dupont business, from July 25 through July 29.  Other sponsors include Rabo AgriFinance, Case IH, CSX Corporation, and Successful Farming magazine as a media partner.

This year’s theme is “Grow,” as students will focus on growing each angle of a business until they have a complete vision statement detailing their business plans for the next decade.

Industry experts will lead discussions and workshops on topics including current agriculture trends, the global marketplace and implementing technology.

“It’s essential that the future farmers of America know the importance of recognizing the global challenge farmers are facing,” Marty Tatman, National FFA Organization Education Specialist and NCF conference coordinator said.  “They are expected to produce more food on less land.  They’re going to have to take advantage of new technology and the opportunity and value of networking.”

The participants will also take part in “Operation Tours” at Bridgestone/Firestone plant, the Louis Dryfuss Ethanol Plant, Covered Bridges Winery and Hawkeye Breeders Services.

This week marks the program’s third year hosting NCF alumni, which has grown from 30 participants to 65 this year.  The alumni will join the program for two days to discuss how their experience at the NCF conference impacted their current operations.

“We’re hoping that we can grow the bridge between alumni and new NCF participants so they can learn from each other,” Tatman said.

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