Last week Matt and I along with my parents headed east, before the crazy weather thank goodness, to attend the Annual DTN/Progressive Farmer Ag Summit in Chicago. The reasons were a little for fun and a little for business. The first reason though was that I was very honored to receive an award from DTN, Progressive Farmer Magazine & John Deere for being one of America’s Top Young Farmers and Ranchers for 2014! I can’t even tell you how incredible it was to receive this award. I am part of the fourth class who can be proud to say they are America’s Best Young Farmers & Ranchers! The award recognizes not only your work on your own farm or ranch, but also what you do in your community, for your industry, and beyond just the day to day tasks that keep you plenty busy on a farm.
I have to say that being honored for something that I am so passionate about, well, it was all very humbling. As I was sitting up there listening to the short bios of the other award recipients I kept thinking about how each and every one of us, award or not, wouldn’t change a thing about what we’re doing. All of us are doing what we love, we’re working hard because we’re passionate about being good stewards of the land. Although all of our stories were very different, all of our backgrounds diverse in many respects, the one thing that remained obvious is that we all are proud of what we do, and we all were genuinely grateful for this honor. And even beyond that, we’re all under 40 years old; this is the next generation of farmers that you’re looking at right here in the picture below.
There will be more written about each of the award recipients in the February edition of Progressive Farmer, so I’ll keep you updated once it’s up and you can see what I mean about these other amazing farmers & ranchers that I’m standing next to. You can read a little more about each of us in this article posted right after the award lunch, click HERE.
The program at the annual Ag Summit was very interesting. I have to say that I expected a lot more just corn and soy bean focus (since most of the people at the conference were from the Mid West aka Corn & Soybean country) but there were many topics and speakers that spoke to all industries. For instance the President of the Dallas Federal Reserve, Richard Fisher, spoke about fiscal policy and was very candid about how he felt about where things are going today. “The time is upon us to obtain a more humble monetary policy.” Other topics included land prices, weather, commodity pricing in the future, etc.
We did get to go off in and around Chicago to have some fun while we were there. So for the non-business business…we were able to visit with a few friends who farm west of Chicago, Katie & Andy Pratt.
We thought about seeing the Bears game (it was -12 out) so we went to the Bulls game instead!
We headed up to the top of the Sears Tower, 103 stories!
Matt stayed near the middle of the building 🙂
Took a cab and saw “The Bean”
Decided to be tough and walked back to the hotel…then realized that we might actually be getting frostbite (we are wussy…but we made it!)
And had dinner with a T-Rex named Sue.
Having family there to support me was amazing. Plus it was very interesting talking with other farmers, many times about succession planning, and having both generations there to speak to our experiences was so helpful to the conversations we had. Plus my dad was able to boast that, “I’ve only taught her half I know and she’s already getting awards!” (haha!) So thank you to DTN, Progressive Farmer and John Deere for this wonderful experience! It’s something that I will never forget and forever treasure. It will also always be something that I will look back on and make sure that I’m still doing my best to be one of America’s Top Farmers!