Sunday, February 20, 2011
Awards Don't Make the Person....
Have you ever been asked to speak impromptu and after you were done you came up with 736 million other things to say?!? Last night I was given a chance to address the Michigan Young Farmer's Conference on my experience as a recent Young Farmer Award Winner.....and if given the chance again here's what I'd say:
Last December, I was presented with the Michigan Farm Bureau's Young Farmer's Excellence in Agriculture award. The Award recognizes young farmers, between the ages of 18 and 35, who do not derive the majority of their income from a personally owned agricultural operation but who actively contribute to and grow through their involvement in Farm Bureau and agriculture.
In preparing to represent Michigan this past January at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting I connected with supportive, passionate agvocates. They spent their time, energy and insight on strengthening my application, presentation and answers to potential questions. I rehearsed my speech over and over the week leading up Atlanta. Channeling my throwback FFA days, I wanted nothing more than to hear my name as a top ten finalist and present. I knew if I could spend 30 minutes with the judges, they would like me. All the work I and so many others had put towards the event could be seen at the national level - HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE?!?!?
As they began announcing the top ten names one by one....I quickly realized my chances were slowly decreasing. As the last finalist stood up and waved with a huge smile to the crowd, my husband hugged me and said "I love you" and I put all my energy into not breaking down in front of people I barely knew. It just kinda sucked....I hate losing.
Soooo.... I didn't come home with a new Dodge truck or $6000. There is not a big plaque with my name on it or a brand new chainsaw in our pole barn. A month later, I now realize the process opened my eyes and renewed my enthusiasm to so much more than any award as I quickly learned how lucky I am to One - be apart of an organization dedicated to my interests and Two - be a member of the organization here in Michigan.
In Michigan, Young Farmers are fortunate. We are not token spots on boards. We run boards. We are not spoken to in conversations. We are leading conversations. We are just as much a part of this organization as those who have more experience than we have been alive. As a Michigan Farm Bureau Young Farmer, my energy, ideas and skills are not only embraced, but given the tools to continually grow and develop.
Award or not....I am a proud agvocate. I am proud of my farming background. I'm proud to be apart of an organization allowing my voice to be one of many representing Michigan agriculture......and so much more...
Looking for a voice in agriculture? Between 18-35? Check out Michigan Farm Bureau Young Farmers http://www.michfb.com/youngfarmers