January 29-30, 2021

About the YF&R Conference

Young farmers and ranchers from across Nebraska gather once a year to network and gain information to use on their operation. The conference features innovative tours, dynamic speakers, several breakout sessions, and child care is made available.

The 2021 Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Conference will be held in Kearney, Nebraska, Jan. 29 – 30 at the Holiday Inn.

Register Now


Friday, January 29

3:00 p.m.
Registration Opens

5:00 p.m.
What to Expect from YF&R
YF&R Committee Members
Loper North

5:30 p.m.
Welcome and Networking
Ballroom I & II

6:00 p.m.
Speaker: President Mark McHargue, Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB)
Ballroom I & II

7:30 p.m.
Entertainment feat. Crescent Circus
Ballroom I & II

8:30 p.m.
After Party & Corn Hole Tournament, sponsored by Tredas
Ballroom I & II

Saturday, January 30

8:00 a.m.
Collegiate Coffee Talk
Ballroom I

8:30 a.m.
Discussion Meet (First Round)
Stateroom C, Stateroom AB, Ballroom II, Loper North

9:30 a.m.
Keynote Speaker: Matt Booth
What’s the Value of Your Attitude?
Loper North

10:30 a.m.
Morning Break
Pre-function Area

11:00 a.m.
Breakout Sessions
Stateroom C, Stateroom AB, Ballroom II, Loper North

12:00 p.m.
Ballroom I

1:00 p.m.
The Elections Over, Now What?
Speaker: Jordan Dux, director of national affairs
Ballroom I

1:45 p.m.
Breakout Sessions
Stateroom C, Stateroom AB, Ballroom II, Loper North

2:45 p.m.
Afternoon Break, sponsored by CHS
Pre-Function Area

3:15 p.m.
Breakouts Sessions
Stateroom C, Stateroom AB, Ballroom II

4:15 p.m.
Discussion Meet: Finals
Loper North

5:00 p.m.
Happy Hour
Conference raffle prizes will be drawn. Must be present to win.
Ballroom II

6:00 p.m.
Ballroom I

Keynote Speaker

Matt BoothWhat’s the Value of Your Attitude? - Matt Booth

There is an old saying that “attitude is everything”. Is that true? I think attitude is the START of everything! Attitude determines your thoughts and ultimately your actions. In this program, you will find that being positive as often as possible helps you be more successful at what you do.

Loper North

Breakout Sessions

Understanding Cow-Costs and Unit Cost of Production for the Cow Herd

11:00 a.m. - Stateroom C - Part 1 | 1:45 p.m. - Stateroom C - Part 2

Speaker: Aaron Berger, University of Nebraska - Lincoln Extension
Understanding annual cow-costs and unit cost of production as it relates to the cow herd can help producers make effective management decisions and improve profitability. The cow-calf enterprise is historically a low margin business. Understanding where value is being created and where costs occur can be helpful in evaluating where to spend money and where to cut costs.

Aaron Berger is Nebraska Extension Educator serving in the southern Nebraska panhandle since 2004. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska and his master’s degree from Colorado State University.  Aaron’s focus is to provide clients resources and experiences that will help them meet their goals related to forage and cattle management. He believes utilizing a systems approach to management decisions is critical to the success of ranch operations.

Putting New Ideas On Old Dirt

11:00 a.m. - Loper North

Speaker: Matthew Brugger & Joseph Brugger, Upstream Farms
We challenge young agriculturists, entrepreneurs, and creators to think outside of the box when it comes to their industry. Our goal is to inspire others to change the way we look at farming and our food through the utilization of innovations, creativity, and story telling.

Matthew and Joseph Brugger are twin brothers putting new ideas on old dirt and connecting their customers back to their families fourth generation farm, one meal and beverage at a time.

While attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Matt & Joe launched their business Upstream Farms using tools, classes, and resources provided by the Engler Entrepreneurship Program. Through the utilization of their own website, Upstream Farms ships high quality Angus beef, Berkshire pork and Homegrown honey directly from their family farm to their customers all over the United States. Their most recent venture includes the addition of an on-farm distillery that will produce high quality whiskey and bourbon %100 made with grains they raise themselves.

 Farm-to-Table. Grain-to-Glass. They can't wait to share their story with you!

Fish Farming in the Midwest

11:00 a.m. - Ballroom II

Speaker: Paul Skartvedt, Eagle’s Catch
Fish farming without an ocean?! Any fin is possible, just don’t trout yourself! Eagle’s Catch fish farm is a Greenhouse that covers 4.8 acres with a nursery and grow-out tanks along with a purging system. It’s a great oppor-tuna-ty!

Paul Skartvedt has sold swine pharmaceuticals for 14 years at Boehringer-Ingelheim with total sales experience of 22 years. He grew up on a diverse livestock and crop farm involved in 4H and FFA. He graduated from Iowa State University in Ag Studies while lettering in football for three years. Paul still lives near the community of Ellsworth on a farm with his wife, Shannon, and four children. In his spare time, he coaches high school football at South Hamilton School District, watches his kid’s activities, and enjoys watching Iowa State football. Paul has experience serving on multiple Boards of Directors including; United Suffolk sheep Association board member and board president, South Hamilton High School Foundation board member and board president, Iowa Pork Producers Association board member, and is involved in many other groups and committees. His passion for fish farming comes from a new way to raise protein in Iowa and to be able to engage his children in a new form of agriculture in Iowa. As co-founder of Eagle’s Catch fish farm, he is Head of the Sales department, Oversee Operations, the relationship manager of Feed and Fry along with Community. He also manages the Certifications and Permits for the fish farm.

Soil: The Foundation of Your Crop

11:00 a.m. - Stateroom AB

Speaker: Brandon Hamer, Aurora Cooperative
How does soil health and strip till assist your crop yields? In this season we will take a look at different factors affecting soil health and ways to measure soil health. We will also explore the implementation of strip tilling and advantages strip tilling can bring to your operation.

Brandon Hamer is the Director of Precision Crop Management for Aurora Cooperative.  He has spent 23 years working hands on with growers to improve their farming operations by using technology, data analytics and new farm management practices.  Brandon and his wife Karmen live in Central City, NE and have 4 children.

Not in Your Grandfather’s Plan.

1:45 p.m. - Loper North

Speaker: Roric Paulman, Paulman Farms
A day in the tech driven agriculture producers’ day. In this session, Roric will talk about implementing innovative practices and technologies into the day-to-day operations on the farm, to lead to better efficiency and stewardship of our time and land.

Roric Paulman is the owner, operator of Paulman Farms in Sutherland NE. Roric was born at Sutherland and after graduating from Hershey High School went to Kearney State College and married his wife Deb in 1980. They have four children together, one of which farms with Roric.

Paulman Farms believes that feeding the world is their true calling and guided by scientific fact, logic, and reason they continue to innovate to meet that goal. The farm is very diversified, raising crops of yellow/white corn, yellow popcorn, soybeans, dry edible beans, hard red winter wheat, yellow field peas, grain sorghum, confection/oil sunflowers, chia, sugar beets and potatoes. They believe strongly in conserving what they have been given for the next generation and Roric has served in many different capacities in programs and projects to protect our natural resources, especially water.

Bring It Home: Creating a Local YF&R Experience

1:45 p.m. - Ballroom II

Speaker: Brady Revels, Douglas County Farm Bureau
This interactive session will give participants ideas and tools to start, build, and grow a YF&R group in your local county or region.

Brady Revels is Douglas County Farm Bureau member from Omaha. Brady grew up on a diversified cattle operation in central Florida and is now an animal health representative for Elanco Animal Health.

Trends for Today’s Beef Consumer

1:45 p.m. - Stateroom AB

Speaker: Ann Marie Bosshamer, Nebraska Beef Council
During the pandemic and beyond, this session will discuss the most current trends for consumer buying habits and perceptions of the beef industry. The session will also share how the beef checkoff programs are addressing consumer needs.

Ann Marie Bosshamer is the Executive Director of the Nebraska Beef Council.  She has been with NBC since 1996 and oversees all beef checkoff programs in Nebraska.  She is a UNL graduate, a LEAD XV graduate, a member of the UNL Chancellors Council of Alumni Ambassadors, USMARC Beef Focus Group member and Ag Builders of Nebraska.  Ann Marie and her husband Brian live by Amherst with their two daughters where they have a cow-calf operation.

Increasing Production Efficiency

3:15 p.m. - Stateroom C

Speaker: Dr. Rick Funston, University of Nebraska - Lincoln Extension
This session will discuss the importance of calving early in “your” calving season and the factors influencing this. We will also look at management practices to tighten up the calving season.

Dr. Funston is a professor and Reproductive Physiologist at the University of Nebraska. He received his BS from North Dakota State University, MS from Montana State University his PhD from the University of Wyoming, and completed a Post Doc at Colorado State University in Reproduction/Biotechnology. He divides his time between extension and research. His research on lighter heifer development is receiving national attention/adoption; research on fetal programming effects on postnatal calf performance including carcass characteristics and reproduction has received national and international recognition; and he is a team member of nationally recognized beef systems research. In the extension capacity, he provides leadership and subject matter expertise for educational programs in cow-calf production management for the West Central District and statewide expertise in beef reproductive management programs.

Using Your Multi-Cooker for Healthy Food Fast

3:15 p.m. - Stateroom AB

Speaker: Hannah Guenther, University of Nebraska - Lincoln Extension
Have you received a multi-cooker for Christmas and not sure how to use it? In this session, we will get the multi-cooker out of the box and learn how to use it safely to help you prepare healthy meals fast for you and your family! We will go over the parts, functions and features, how to use it safely, what it means to cook with pressure, and finally use it for a recipe demonstration!

Hannah Guenther is a Food, Nutrition, and Health Extension Educator for the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Hannah began her career in Extension in June 2018 after leaving her Family and Consumer Science classroom. She has a degree in Dietetics from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and a master’s degree in Education from the University of Nebraska – Kearney. Although raised a city girl, Hannah is quickly adjusting to life on the farm and now dedicates a majority of her time on culinary education programs and work to helping the agriculture community make nutritious choices. Hannah is married to Adam Guenther and they have a 7-year-old daughter named Charlotte. They currently reside on a feedlot outside of West Point.

Creating a Craft in Nebraska

3:15 p.m. Ballroom II

Panelists: Upstream Farms, Mac’s Creek Winery, Moderator: Sye Tecker, Uppa Crik Tap Room
Hear from some of Nebraska’s craft drink makers about how they got started, where they source their ingredients, and what it takes to create craft drinks in Nebraska. This interactive session will have you thinking, Nebraska is more than cows and corn, it’s hops and grapes too!

Mac’s Creek Winery
Mac’s Creek Winery & Brewery is family owned and operated by the McFarlands since 2001 and is located one-half mile north of Lexington, Nebraska along the banks of Spring Creek. We’ve been raising grapes since 2000 and regularly grow over 10 varietals that we use to create our wines. In 2019 Mac’s Creek started brewing beer as an extension to their brand. It has been a fun and exciting new venture.

Upstream Farms, Matthew and Joseph Brugger
Matthew and Joseph Brugger are twin brothers putting new ideas on old dirt and connecting their customers back to their families fourth generation farm, one meal and beverage at a time.

While attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Matt & Joe launched their business Upstream Farms using tools, classes, and resources provided by the Engler Entrepreneurship Program. Through the utilization of their own website, Upstream Farms ships high quality Angus beef, Berkshire pork and Homegrown honey directly from their family farm to their customers all over the United States. Their most recent venture includes the addition of an on-farm distillery that will produce high quality whiskey and bourbon %100 made with grains they raise themselves.

Sye Tecker, Moderator
Sye is a Dundy county Farm Bureau member and currently serves as their President. He is actively involved in the farming and ranching industry as the 5th generation on Tecker Ranch Inc in Parks, NE. Sye also owns and operates Uppa Crik Tap Room and Hop Yard serving Nebraska made spirits.

Discussion Meet

You might not have all the answers but discussing current agriculture issues with other young farmers and ranchers could find the solution. Your role is simple – tell everyone what you want to accomplish, engage in a 25-30-minute discussion by asking questions and providing ideas, and finally summarizing the discussion and solution the group has reached. Members who typically do well in this competition are up to date on current Farm Bureau policy and issues, are able to clearly articulate their points, and bring the group to a consensus.

January 29- 30, 2021 – State Discussion Meet (Kearney, NE)
December 5-8, 2021 – State Discussion Meet Finals (Kearney, NE)
January 7-12, 2022 – National Discussion Meet (Atlanta, GA)

2021 Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet and Collegiate Discussion Meet Questions

  1. International trade is important to agriculture. We must continue working to build strong relations with existing customers while seeking out new trade partners to strengthen market stability. How can we enhance existing, and establish new and diverse foreign trading partners?
  2. Connectivity underpins the modern economy. What mix of investment and policy initiatives can provide reliable broadband access to farmers, ranchers and rural America?
  3. The increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters creates additional risk for farmers and ranchers. What tools and production practices can be engaged to reduce climate and weather risks?
  4. The decline in rural populations is accelerated by a poor farm economy. What solutions would enhance the vibrancy and economic sustainability of agriculture and rural communities?
  5. Is big data a big solution or big exposure? Technology tools are often cited as a method of increasing productivity and profitability, but there are liabilities that go along with technology. As young farmers and ranchers we are often first adopters. How do we ensure clear understanding of the risks and rewards of big data and smart farming?

These questions will be used for the YF&R Discussion Meet held during AFBF Annual Convention in San Diego, California and the Collegiate Discussion Meet held during the FUSION Conference in Portland, Oregon.


The Crescent Circus

The Crescent Circus is a husband-wife duo, Nathan Kepner and Morgan Tsu-Raun, who fuse their expertise in magic and circus arts respectively to deliver a one-of-kind experience on stage. Beginning in New Orleans, The Crescent City, Nathan and Morgan have entertained corporate and collegiate audiences across the country and even overseas. Their original stage work has earned them six international titles, performances at London’s prestigious Magic Circle Theater and an appearance on The Tonight Show.

Hotel Information

You will be responsible for making your own hotel reservation. Below are the hotels with discounted rates for the conference. Special rate window will close on January 16, 2020.

Ask for the Nebraska Farm Bureau group rate when making your reservation.

Holiday Inn
110 S 2nd Ave., Kearney, NE 68847
(308) 237-5971
$99.95/night + tax

Register Now

Thank You to Our Sponsors!

  • Aurora coop

  • fcsa

  • county partners cooperative

  • AFAN

  • AFAN

  • AFAN
  • Douglas

  • AFAN