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Future farm leaders meet up

Jeff Caldwell 07/28/2011 @ 3:37pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

A new generation of aspiring farmers from around the country is in Des Moines, Iowa this week for the 14th annual New Century Farmer (NCF) conference. The National FFA Organization selected 50 young people to participate in the 5-day program that will prepare the students for a future in production agriculture.

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. The conference is sponsored by Pioneer Hi-Bred, Rabo AgriFinance, Case IH, CSX Corporation, and Successful Farming magazine as the media partner.

“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.”


Volatility 'the new normal?'

There's good news and bad news for today's young farmers. The bad news: Today's volatile markets are only going to get more volatile in the future, and it's going to exert a lot of pressure on the farmers working in those markets. The good news: If you can adapt to tightening margins and increased volatility, there's going to be a lot of opportunity across the board in agriculture.

Mount Everest & your farm

Charlie Wittmack had a goal. In 2010, the American adventurer became the first person to complete a staggering 8,000-mile journey from the frigid waters of the River Thames to the snow-capped summit of Mt. Everest. Wittmack encouraged the NCF participants to challenge themselves in the fear of uncertainty, where competitive advantage grows. But how does this apply to farmers?

Futurist takes on ag trends

In a world that is wealthier than ever before, and in a nation with more disposable income, the next generation of farmers will have more opportunities than ever. That’s the take home message of New Mexico State University economist Lowell Catlett, who spoke Monday to students at the New Century Farmer Conference at the headquarters of Pioneer in Johnston, Iowa.

'All about communication'

Whether you use an older "feature phone" or a top-of-the-line smartphone, the basic goal is the same. "It's about basic communication," LoadOut Technologies founder and Indiana farmer Neil Mylet told the 2011 class of the FFA New Century Farmer (NCF) program at the group's annual meetup at the campus of Pioneer Hi-Bred in Johnston, Iowa, on Wednesday.


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