The Family I Found in the American Farm Bureau
Starting my freshmen year of college, I was faced with a lot of options to choose from regarding clubs on campus. One of the clubs I was presented with the opportunity to join was, Young Farmers and Ranchers. Our organization was brand new to NEO; so new that it wasn’t even chartered yet. At our first meeting we had Oklahoma Farm Bureau members come explain the club to us, including one of our very own NEO instructors whom is also the Ottawa County Oklahoma Farm Bureau Vice President. From that first day listening to those members, I knew that Young Farmers and Ranchers was something that I wanted to be involved in.
When we had our first meeting as an official chartered club, I was selected as the 2017-2018 officer. I was excited to oversee all the publicity our new organization would be getting, however at the same time I was also a little nervous. To be trusted with the responsibility of building a positive light around this new organization, that not only would reflect on NEO, but also on Oklahoma Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers as a whole. However, I was reassured by the Ottawa County Farm Bureau President that I was “The poster child for what Farm Bureau needed.”
Then in November I, as well as some of my fellow NEO Young Farmers and Ranchers had the opportunity to attend the Oklahoma Farm Bureau State Convention. Being our first major outing as a club, we were kind of like fish out of water. While we were unsure of what to do, every single person at that convention that we encountered were more than glad to help us in any way possible. That was a humbling moment for me. Intially in that environment, I felt so small. How important can one college freshman be? Truth is, there made each of our members feel like we were the most important person in the world. Everywhere we went someone was shaking our hands, introducing themselves, offering support and advice, congratulating us for starting our chapter, and expressing how proud they were of us.
Since then, the Oklahoma Farm Bureau has been nothing but supportive of our chapter. They allowed us to travel to Reno, Nevada to the National Young Farmers and Ranchers Convention and their Oklahoma Farm Bureau Leadership Conference. This allowed our members the opportunity to meet with our state legislators and mention the issues that we were facing in rural Oklahoma. Everyone was so excited to have collegiate Young Farmers and Ranchers attending their conference. We were even offered potential opportunities to visit other colleges to speak to them about chartering Young Farmers and Ranchers chapters to help build the number of collegiate members in the state.
A few months ago we were the newbies, and now we are being trusted to encourage other members to join. I strongly encourage other colleges to charter chapters for Young Farmers and Ranchers via farm bureau. I believe the Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore, Mike Schulz, summed it up best when addressing the Oklahoma Farm Bureau members today. Mr. Schulz who had been a member of Farm Bureau for many years said, “Oklahoma Farm Bureau is a family; I could be a lot of other places right now, but I’d much rather be here with family.” This statement stopped me in my tracks as it is 110% accurate. From our very first Young Farmers and Ranchers meeting before we were even chartered, to now as we are being invited to various events and such, we have been treated like family. I have not met one person in Farm Bureau that didn’t make me feel welcomed to the highest degree. They took in a little college freshman from Missouri, and made her feel way more important than she ever thought she could be. Not only did I become a part of a club, but I gained a whole family.