The last two days spent in Wyoming were consumed with the AgriFuture conference. It was such an excellent experience. It started off with Director of Agriculture Jason Fearneyhough giving a keynote about dreams. It was really exciting to be in a room filled with other young people who were passionate about agriculture, but the thing that struck me the most was how welcoming and curious everybody was as to how we do things in Canada. We were the only 3 Canadians represented at this conference and we were welcome with open arms. We got to talk to so many interesting people. One thing I found to be to very interesting is ranching in Wyoming is very similar to ranching in BC. In both places most crops need to be irrigated, there is government land that is leased to turn cattle out on in summer months, and lastly both places are quite rugged, so cattle are a perfect fit because they are able to turn sunshine and grass into a nutritious and safe protein source, using land that otherwise would be useless. This was quite exciting for me because usually when I attend Canadian Cattlemen’s conference people from other parts of Canada think I’m crazy because in BC we really do things differently than most other provinces in terms of cattle production, so it was quite refreshing to be understood in Wyoming.
During the presentations at the conferences I found it quite interesting because even though a border separates our two countries the problems we are facing and talking about are the same. At some moments I could totally forget I was not in Canada because the conversation is the same at home, the industry needs to do a better job of advocacy so the consumer understands what we do, how do we get more government support, how can we attract more young producers to the industry? I really found this to be fascinating that both our countries are facing vitually identical problems. I think it would be great if we could work together to solve these problems and in turn have a stronger more dynamic cattle industry.
A really neat thing about the conference, that I found unique to AgriFuture is on the first day all the attendees were broken up in 4 different groups to discuss issues facing our industry and instead of just leaving them as issues on day 2 we get back together with the same groups and discuss solutions what can we do to help eliminate or solve these problems. That was quite refreshing and a great idea, there are tons of young passionate people under one roof and instead of dwelling on the negative the conference acknowledge the issues and tries to come up with tangible solutions.
Lastly, the best part about our stay in Wyoming was all the great people we met! Thanks to Brook, Haley and Pam for hosting us. Also a big thanks to Director Jason Fearneyhough and all those from the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and the organizers of the AgriFuture conference it was truly a great event that I am so thankful I was able to take part in.