The Florida Farm Bureau held its 2016 Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Conference Boots on the Beach July 15-17 in Naples with breakout sessions, a legislative panel and guest speakers, including Iowa farmer Chris Soules from The Bachelor.
The annual event brings together farmers and ranchers to discuss the latest trends in agriculture and the importance of becoming advocates for farming. Speakers included Monsanto Company’s Vance Crowe, Northern Ag Network’s Lane Nordlund, American Farm Bureau’s Marty Tatman and Highland Precision Ag’s Kaylee Norris.
“It doesn’t matter if we’re living in Florida, Montana or anywhere in this world — we have to stand up and advocate for agriculture,” Nordlund told the conference of about 175 attendees.
Soules, a fourth-generation farmer from Arlington, Iowa, served as keynote speaker for the dinner sponsored by U.S. Sugar. Soules starred in the 19th season of ABC’s The Bachelor and placed third in the 10th season of The Bachelorette. He also appeared on Dancing with the Stars.
As a sponsor, U.S. Sugar had a booth at the conference and held a raffle for a John Deere mini tractor won by Chance and Sarah Clay and their daughter, Lillian. The Clays are cattle ranchers and blueberry farmers in San Mateo County.
The legislative panel included Adam Basford, director of State Legislative Affairs for the Florida Farm Bureau, and state Reps. Ben Albritton of Bartow, Amanda Murphy of New Port Richey and James Grant of Tampa. Their message to the audience was to become the voice for agriculture and educate the non-farming community about the need to support agriculture.
Held at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club, the event also included a volleyball tournament for participants and an awards banquet.
Lillian Clay, 6 months, won U.S. Sugar’s raffle for a John Deere mini tractor at the Florida Farm Bureau’s 2016 Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Conference Boots on the Beach July 15-17 in Naples. At top, Chris Soules from The Bachelor is shown with Jennifer Black, community relations manager for U.S. Sugar.