2019 CYFF Conference Reflections
Have you ever had the feeling of being completely tired, yet refreshed and renewed at the same time? I would compare the feeling to the one you would have after a good run. Your body is exhausted but your mind is clear and open. As I sit in the Toronto airport writing this, those are the exact feeling I have after a weekend with Chicken Farmers of Canada and the Canadian Young Farmer Forum (CYFF) conference!
The weekend saw presentations from each province where they were able to showcase what agriculture looks like on their farms. It was interesting to see how very different it can be across the country. However, the one commonality I saw across the board, was that you could see that passion that everyone had for agriculture. And how important it was for them to provide the best care and attention to their farming practices to ensure that their products were the held to highest standards of food quality and safety. Many of these presenters included their farm history and how the farm had stayed in the family by being passed from generation to generation. I think the one farm was operating as a 5th generation family farm!
Others that took the stage included presenters on leadership, financial farm health, insurance for your farm, cash flow and loan programs, mental health, agriculture in the classroom, and building consumer trust. I think the highlight of all speakers for me, was having Fort McMurray’s Fire Chief, Darby Star, speak at the evening gala. He led Fort McMurray through an emergent town wide evacuation of 88,000 people as a wildfire approached the city. His story was truly inspiring and the message we went away with is that when we all trust in each other, we can do amazing things. There were no deaths because of his leadership skills.
Although the presentations were enjoyable, there is nothing to compare to relationships and network one builds when attending the CYFF conference. Young farmers gather from across the country to share and inspire ideas. There were many networking breaks and opportunity provided to connect with like minded individuals. All it takes is one conversation or one idea to be able to bring back positive change to one’s farm. I know I feel inspired to go back to our farm and push for excellence, and I’m sure many others do to. If you would like to connect with other young farmers from across Canada and expand your horizons, I would recommend attending this event and getting involved in your provincial young farmers group.