RAPID CITY, SD -- Can record-low commodity prices ever be a good thing? Do you measure progress in dollars or acres? From livestock producers to grain and grape growers, those are the questions today’s entrepreneur aggies ask themselves. At the Outstanding Young Farmers Award Congress underway now in Rapid City, some of the nation’s most innovative stories will be shared.
“This is some of the brightest, most entrepreneurial operators who create food and fiber in the United States, says Scott Gaddard of Purdue University and a member of the Naitonal Association of County Ag Agents. “Every year they never cease to amaze me as to what they accomplish.”
Gaddard is joining other organizers here in the Black Hills in the final stage of the prestigious competition held since 1954. Ten nominees from across the U.S. compete for four national awards. Wes Smith, an extension educator and registered cattle producer from Georgia has some unique history with the program that he says serves an important role in connecting rural and urban interests.
“My Dad was a regional finalist in this program in the early 60’s,” he observes. “Young producers ages 21-40 who have excelled in their ag career, been active in their community while practicing environmental stewardship are great stories to bring to urban consumers.”
Around 155 producers attend the annual Congress that is held in different locations every year. It was founded by the Jaycee’s in 1954 who identified a need to improve urban and rural relationships. Recognizing innovative producers while finding the ways to communicate what agriculture is in the 21st century to urban audiences is evident in the YouTube popularity of the Peterson Farm Brothers, who will attend the Congress.
“They will share their message of how they have created a global audience that really connects gate to plate agriculture for the viewer,” says Gaddard.
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