Find your Passion in P&E

This is an entry that I did for the MN Farm Bureau monthly newspaper that was printed a few weeks ago.  It talks abouot finding your passion in Promotion and Education of MN Farm Bureau.

Brian Randolph

MFBF P&E Committee, District V

Many of you who have progressed out of the Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) program or joined Farm Bureau later in life may wonder, “What exactly is Promotion and Education or P&E?”

Agriculture in the Classroom
Promotion and Education is just that; we promote Farm Bureau and all things agriculture while also educating our peers and consumers. This involves everything from Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) to Breakfast on the Farm to consumer outreach events at local grocery stores. If your passion is teaching agriculture to Kindergarten through 5th grade, AITC events would be a great fit for you. Sue Knott with Minnesota AITC is a great asset and resource. She is always there to lend a helping hand whether it is a question on a topic to finding schools that would like to have a farmer in their classroom. Sue can be reached at sue.knott@state.mn.us.

Breakfast on the Farm
Breakfast on the Farm is an opportunity for counties to bring families, kids, consumers, and elected and appointed officials to the farm to learn first-hand about agriculture, farming and Farm Bureau. This is a great way to start conversations with people who may not have access to a farm, teach about agriculture, clear up any misconceptions and foster great relationships through conversations over a meal. I’ve seen firsthand how well this type of an event can be a positive outcome for all involved. What a great way to engage with consumers!

Consumer Outreach
Consumer outreach can also be done through grocery store events. These events start by finding a grocery store interested in hosting farmers willing to visit with consumers about how they grow their food. Plan to have these events during popular grocery shopping times.

Things to bring along for the event range from Farm Bureau brochures and commodity organization recipes/brochures; giveaway items with the Farm Bureau logo such as pens, pencils, cooler bags, spatulas; and commodity organization activity books, stickers, etc. This project can lead to very good conversations over the different foods found at the grocery store, and how you raise safe food for their families. The shoppers are generally receptive to hear about your farm and what you produce.

Leadership Development
As members of Farm Bureau, we are all leaders. Either through membership or as a county board member, you lead by example and with your voice. Each year at the end of January/beginning of February, the state P&E and YF&R Committees hold the Minnesota Farm Bureau Leadership Conference. The conference is such an exciting time to learn about “leading” and how to share your story. There are many different breakout sessions throughout the conference, tours of local businesses, and great times to meet new people from around the state. Anyone can come to this conference: members, people interested in becoming a member to county leaders.

If you want to learn how to be a better leader, put this conference on your calendar, February 3-4, 2017 in Bemidji! If you’re unable to make it there, look for opportunities to share your passion about agriculture in your counties and districts.

In Closing
Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) and American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (AFBF) have many resources for you. If you have any ideas for P&E events or questions, contact me at randolph725@gmail.com. To learn more about MFBF’s resources contact Ruth Meirick at 651-768-2115 or ruth.meirick@fbmn.org, or learn more about AFBF resources at agfoundation.org.

Find your passion, whether in the classroom, on the farm or at the Leadership Conference. There is a place for you in P&E. Take hold of what matters to you and work hard at it! Agriculture needs you to share your story.

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