Skip to main content

Young Farmers & Ranchers Leadership Conference 2022


“So, every year we hold a YF&R conference for the state. This is basically a way to get YF&R members active, together, be able to network, differently things like that,” said State YF&R Chair Melissa Durrant.

A cornhole tournament and Ice Cream Social kicked off the start of the 2022 Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Conference. YF&R members from all over the state travelled to Moscow, Idaho for the event, which included multiple presentations and even a few tours.

“We recently implemented what we call the PLAN; So Personal growth, Leadership, Advocacy, Networking. So, this year our big focus was on networking,” said Durrant.

Organizers used the tournament to break the ice and encourage meeting new people.

“I think it has been so amazing. Look at our cornhole tournament last night. We finished; people were still playing cornhole. We paired people up in teams that they didn’t necessarily come with their partner. And so, seeing that competitiveness and that one on one with… ok, I’m out but I’m going to cheer you on let’s have some ice cream and being able to come out the next day and there was people sitting together this morning that were not sitting together yesterday.”

“A lot of competition but it’s friendly competition and it’s super fun,” said Megan.

Megan & Tyler Alder are from Weiser, Idaho and it’s their first time attending the conference.

“My family just has a little farm. We have some beef and some wheat and alfalfa and just kind of a small little production,” said Tyler.

“We’ve only been members for the past… 3 months maybe.  3 or 4ish months. Yeah.”

So brand new?

3 is pushing it… Yep, brand new.”

“Our friends and family were in it, and they talk a lot about it, I was interested.

We felt like we were missing out, so we came to a meeting and enjoyed it a lot, so we’ve just been keeping up with it.”

“It’s been really fun and really interesting. It shows me a lot that I don’t know.

Yeah, really informative and lots of good talkers and people with good experiences that are able to teach you a lot about ag.”

“All of our presentations have been very different, but they’ve all been kind of there to make people stop and think,” said Durrant.

To think about how to improve their own operations, how to better themselves, and give themselves something to strive for and get involved in. Plus, presentations about Congressman Mike Simpsons plan for salmon recover by breaching four dams on the lower Snake River. Later they loaded into buses to visit one of those dams.

“The dam that we toured today, the Lower Granite is part of one of those ones that Congressman Simpson is looking at having breached for the salmon, so being able to not only network as YF&R members but also to bring a network to be able to push what the real story is and give them that hands on, I’ve been there, I’ve seen what this is doing… just being able to put it into real life for all of our members,” said Durrant.

They saw the fish ladders, the power plants, and they also saw a demonstration of how the massive locks operate, which can drain in about 10 minutes, and refill in another 10. This allows Idaho commodities to travel by barge through the dams back and forth from the Port of Lewiston, an Idaho seaport 460 miles from the Pacific Ocean.  

“A lot to take in, a lot to learn and…

A lot that you don’t see or think of when you just drive by a dam,” said Megan.


Some of the leadership also took a tour of the Idaho Forest Group Sawmill in Lewiston.

“It started out as a committee, but we also were able to bring other leadership, county presidents, some of our state Farm Bureau board members and staff members to be able to actually tour and see a log mill. Because a lot of times when you think of ag you think of row crops and ranching, but timber is just as important for Idaho and the agriculture. So being able to see what they do, it’s just amazing the skill and the talent of the people there.”

“Oh, wow!”

 More games followed in the evening, plus a casino night and dancing.

“And here we go! Forward 2 – 3, and back, now right and turn, 1 – 2-  3…”

“Coming here you’ve seen people be able to exchange numbers whether it’s going to be texting someone the next day, calling for a problem, just being able to know there’s other people in different parts of the state you may not have met, but they know what you’re going through. They can answer a question for you or simply just to have a friend somewhere that they didn’t think they had before,” said Durrant.

“I thought all of it was very professional but also relaxed and everyone was eager to talk to us and very inviting and it was just an overall good experience,” said Tyler.

“I feel like it’s been so beneficial to everyone because we made it comfortable for them basically to be uncomfortable. Because nobody wants to be with someone you don’t know, and so being able to make it that way but make it fun and exciting… the conference to me has been more than the committee and I ever expected to be,” said Durrant.

For the Voice of Idaho Agriculture, I’m Paul Boehlke.