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Schwieterman Wins YFR Award

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Scot Schwieterman, a local hay and forage producer was named the Young Farmer and Rancher of the Year at the Kansas Farm Bureau YF&R Leadership Conference in Manhattan February 2-4. 
The conference is designed to provide educational and networking opportunities for young producers in Kansas from the age of 18-35.  
Schwieterman was honored on stage and presented the award by former Syracuse resident, Terry Holdren, CEO/General Council for KFB, “It was really cool to be honored by Terry who does so much for the organization,” said Scot. 
Scot submitted an application and said, “It was a  very thorough and detailed application, and difficult to complete. They needed information about our operation, so far as having our CPA and a loan officer sign off on the application, making sure everything was accurate.” 
The KFB YF&R of the Year Award Program is designed to recognize members who have excelled in their farming or ranching operations and honed their leadership abilities to superiority. 
The contestant is evaluated on a combination of farm operation growth and financial progress, Farm Bureau leadership, as well as leadership outside of Farm Bureau. More specifically, the judges look for excellence in management, scope of the enterprise and self-initiatives that have been displayed throughout the operation.
“Without the opportunities this conference has given me, I would not be where I am today,” said Scot. “I have grown as a person and businessman, met a lot of people who when they speak, I listen.”
Scot has attended the annual leadership conference for several years and for the past two years hasserved on the state YF&R committee representing the ninth district in southwest Kansas. 
This year, Scot offered to speak on a panel and joined three other producers for the “Farm Work for Hire” workshop. “Myself, as a producer less than ten years, along with two others, one with a fifteen-year-old custom harvest business, and the other a sixth generation farmer, all from Kansas. We spoke about issues on the forefront for each one of us and found we have the same issues with hiring, but on different levels.” 
The panel encouraged attendees who employ or may be seeking employment in the agriculture industry to communicate what their intentions are, how long they expect to be in the area, and how important filling out the application and resume is, and how to conduct the interview.   
“One issue we have as producers is the expense of hiring new employees. From the insurance and expense of the drug tests, we pay for them and then the person does not show up,” said Scot. 
He has learned everyone, no matter where they are in the industry, is fighting a similar battle. “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. But we are fortunate in this area that we know and understand how our food is produced. It’s hard to explain to people that we are not hurting them by applying the chemicals but by growing and living in the area, I can show them it is safe.But it’s always going to be hard to bridge that gap.”  
“This year, as a spectator, it was less stressful. I was able to enjoy and see more about how Farm Bureau works and how our membership benefits us and the agriculture industry in the state of Kansas,” said Scot, “It was fun to have my brother Shay go with me, he really enjoyed the networking opportunities,”
Other workshops available were, Cattle Nutrition & Management, Where There's a Will, There's a Way: Tips & Tricks for Farm Succession Planning, Entrepreneurship in Agriculture, Grain & Livestock Risk Management, Drones (UAV's) in Agriculture, Bringing New Ideas to Agriculture, What is the Risk Management Agency?, Peer to Peer SWOT: Approaching Critical Thinking Through a Conversational Lens, Elevating Your Engagement, Agriculture Workforce & Career Development, The State & Future of Fertilizer Markets, Serving on Your Local School Board: How Can I Make a Difference?, Smartphone Photography Tips for the Farm and Ranch, Inside the Farm Bill, Sustainability on the Farm: Understanding Agriculture Carbon Markets. 
The Schwietermans will represent Kansas at the 2025 American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in San Antonio and will compete at the national level. 
Scot encourages producers to get involved in Kansas Farm Bureau and Young Farmers and Ranchers. “Make it a priority, see where it takes you! I have had an opportunity to see Puerto Rico, in ways I never would have! I've been to Churchill Downs, saw Florida agriculture on trip and visited many unique parts in the state of Kansas. “It is a good way to see ag and how people diversify over the years.” 

 

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