Texas Agriculture October 2, 2015 : Page 16

YF&R program cultivates legacy of Texas agriculture Fall Tour inspires, educates young farrmers and ranchers... By Julie Tomascik Associate Editor Grow. Learn. Aspire. The future of Texas agriculture is bright. And young farmers and ranch-ers are taking advantage of it. In mid-September, the annual Tex-as Farm Bureau (TFB) Young Farmer & Rancher (YF&R) Fall Tour took to the Panhandle, exploring agriculture and the unique activities the area has to offer. “We had several stops and each gave us a peek into the Panhandle culture and the diverse nature of Texas agriculture,” said Layne Chap-man, YF&R chairman and Wilbarger County Farm Bureau vice president. “It was educational and fun.” The three-day event sparked dia-logue and inspired growth for the 80 young farmers and ranchers. They stepped beyond their fence-rows and into Carson County Cotton Gin and Attebury Grain, touring the facilities for a look at the next stop for the food and fiber they grow. “We live in the area, but we don’t always get to take the time to see and experience some of the agricultural enterprises the Panhandle has to of-fer,” said Karri Wieners, who owns and operates High Plains Hay Producers with her husband Jesse. Those enter-prises also included Tejas Feeders, a 50,000-head feedyard in Pampa. The group learned what gains and losses are acceptable and the time needed to finish different breeds of cattle. Part of the event also included a field tour with local farmers and ranchers. “The way I grow corn is different than the way it’s produced north of Amarillo,” Chapman said. “But I had the opportunity to make a comparison between the two and possibly bring back new techniques and information to my operation.” And Travis Isbell, a farmer and rancher from Florence, agreed. meet along the way during the annual Fall Tour. “For three days, young farmers and ranchers get to spend time with other like-minded folks and learn about agriculture in a particular part of the state,” said TFB Director of Organiza-tion Programs Coleburn Davis. “The real value of the tour is the chance to build a network.” Those connections become resourc-es. They understand the struggles. And they celebrate the successes. “We have so much in common with each other, even if our operations are different in size and scope,” Wieners said. “We’re facing similar problems. A lot of us are raising young children. And there’s a lot for us to talk about.” And they don’t just talk. They act. Cultivating a legacy of Texas agricul-ture. Driving the trends. And laying the groundwork for a strong, innova-tive future. Young farmers and ranchers had the chance to see inside Oliver Saddle Shop, which has been serving the American cowboy with quality leather goods for four generations. 16 “The ranch and field visits, along with the feedlot tour, gave me the chance to see how others in Texas operate,” Isbell, who was on his first Fall Tour, said. “The Panhandle has had quite a bit of moisture this year, and we were able to hear how they adapted to the conditions.” But production agricultural visits weren’t the only tour stops. Agricultural businesses also assist farmers and ranchers—serving broad needs and niche markets. One of the oldest boot makers in the Panhandle, Beck Boots, has built its reputation on agriculture. The com-pany continues to provide an essential piece of equipment for farmers and ranchers—custom handmade boots. And Oliver Saddle Shop is meeting the demand for quality handmade sad-dles. For four generations, the Oliver family has passed on the knowledge and skills to build the best equipment for the working ranch cowboy. But agricultural needs also extend to family, especially kids. That’s where The Happy Toymaker comes in. The toymaker, Jerry Sims, is a farmer who built the toy company from the ground up. “Jerry started the business because his sons wanted a toy cattle working chute, and that’s not usually on the shelf at a chain toy store,” Chapman said. “He’s filling a need for durable American-made farm and ranch toys.” It’s a niche market, but one that has many eager buyers. Because young farmers and ranchers want to share their passion of agriculture with their kids. And they want to stay connected. With each other and the folks they Right: Farm and ranch visits were also part of the three-day event. Bottom: The Young Farmer & Rancher Advisory Committee met with Rep. Four Price during the annual trip. O CTOBER 2, 2015

YF&R Program Cultivates Legacy of Texas Agriculture

Julie Tomascik

Fall Tour inspires, educates young farrmers and ranchers...

Grow. Learn. Aspire.

The future of Texas agriculture is bright. And young farmers and ranchers are taking advantage of it.

In mid-September, the annual Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Young Farmer & Rancher (YF&R) Fall Tour took to the Panhandle, exploring agriculture and the unique activities the area has to offer.

“We had several stops and each gave us a peek into the Panhandle culture and the diverse nature of Texas agriculture,” said Layne Chapman, YF&R chairman and Wilbarger County Farm Bureau vice president. “It was educational and fun.”

The three-day event sparked dialogue and inspired growth for the 80 young farmers and ranchers.

They stepped beyond their fencerows and into Carson County Cotton Gin and Attebury Grain, touring the facilities for a look at the next stop for the food and fiber they grow.

“We live in the area, but we don’t always get to take the time to see and experience some of the agricultural enterprises the Panhandle has to offer,” said Karri Wieners, who owns and operates High Plains Hay Producers with her husband Jesse. Those enterprises also included Tejas Feeders, a 50,000-head feedyard in Pampa. The group learned what gains and losses are acceptable and the time needed to finish different breeds of cattle.

Part of the event also included a field tour with local farmers and ranchers.

“The way I grow corn is different than the way it’s produced north of Amarillo,” Chapman said. “But I had the opportunity to make a comparison between the two and possibly bring back new techniques and information to my operation.”

And Travis Isbell, a farmer and rancher from Florence, agreed.

“The ranch and field visits, along with the feedlot tour, gave me the chance to see how others in Texas operate,” Isbell, who was on his first Fall Tour, said. “The Panhandle has had quite a bit of moisture this year, and we were able to hear how they adapted to the conditions.”

But production agricultural visits weren’t the only tour stops.

Agricultural businesses also assist farmers and ranchers—serving broad needs and niche markets.

One of the oldest boot makers in the Panhandle, Beck Boots, has built its reputation on agriculture. The company continues to provide an essential piece of equipment for farmers and ranchers—custom handmade boots.

And Oliver Saddle Shop is meeting the demand for quality handmade saddles. For four generations, the Oliver family has passed on the knowledge and skills to build the best equipment for the working ranch cowboy.

But agricultural needs also extend to family, especially kids. That’s where The Happy Toymaker comes in.

The toymaker, Jerry Sims, is a farmer who built the toy company from the ground up.

“Jerry started the business because his sons wanted a toy cattle working chute, and that’s not usually on the shelf at a chain toy store,” Chapman said. “He’s filling a need for durable American-made farm and ranch toys.”

It’s a niche market, but one that has many eager buyers. Because young farmers and ranchers want to share their passion of agriculture with their kids.

And they want to stay connected. With each other and the folks they meet along the way during the annual Fall Tour.

“For three days, young farmers and ranchers get to spend time with other like-minded folks and learn about agriculture in a particular part of the state,” said TFB Director of Organization Programs Coleburn Davis. “The real value of the tour is the chance to build a network.”

Those connections become resources. They understand the struggles. And they celebrate the successes.

“We have so much in common with each other, even if our operations are different in size and scope,” Wieners said. “We’re facing similar problems. A lot of us are raising young children. And there’s a lot for us to talk about.”

And they don’t just talk. They act. Cultivating a legacy of Texas agriculture. Driving the trends. And laying the groundwork for a strong, innovative future.

Read the full article at http://texasagriculture.texasfarmbureau.org/article/YF%26R+Program+Cultivates+Legacy+of+Texas+Agriculture/2287084/275327/article.html.

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