Carl’s Comments: Investing in Our Youth

Carl Dickinson, CEO

Carl Dickinson, CEO

I have often discussed our Core Values in this column and when I speak with our patrons.  This month I want to focus on how your cooperative is living out our commitment to one Core Value in particular –  Lifelong Learning – which we have defined as:

“Development, learning and growing are a life-journey that transforms and inspires us.  By focusing on constant learning we become a stronger partner to our customer, to adapt to a changing business world.”

There is no better way to honor this Core Value than through involvement in teaching our youth.  This past month we were privileged to host the Nebraska State FFA Officer team in our cooperative headquarters in York.  The purpose of their visit was to thank United Farmers Cooperative for our financial support to the “I Believe in the Future of Ag” campaign and hold a Q&A session with members of our UFC leadership team.  These young leaders were an impressive bunch, as they asked thoughtful questions and engaged our managers in lively discussion.

I am proud of the fact that your cooperative is able to contribute financially to the learning and development of our agricultural youth who are involved in FFA programs across our trade area.  If you would like to get personally involved in this program, promotional materials on “I Believe in the Future of Ag” will be distributed through our locations later this fall.

Nebraska State FFA Officers meet with United Farmers Cooperative Agronomists, Mike Zwingman and Brian Hunt, to discuss day-to-day career activities.

Nebraska State FFA Officers meet with United Farmers Cooperative Agronomists, Mike Zwingman and Brian Hunt, to discuss day-to-day career activities.

United Farmers Cooperative has gone one step further in our support of FFA programs through our development and sponsorship of the YIELD Challenge program.  YIELD is an acronym for “Youth Involvement Equals Leadership Development”, and the program involves area corn farmers mentoring FFA members on high yield production practices through participation in a yield contest patterned after the NCGA contest.  Our Agronomy FSA team supports the ag instructors in the classroom and during the yield measurement process.

Additionally, corn growers participating in the YIELD Challenge are asked to donate a portion of the harvested grain to their local FFA Chapter to raise funds for students to attend leadership conferences, purchase classroom equipment, etc.  Our Grain origination team has spoken with the students to give them insights on how to market this donated grain, producing some lively debate in the classroom according to their instructors!  Last fall, over 3,100 bushels were donated to generate over $23,000 in financial support for developing the next generation of agricultural leaders in our communities.  I encourage you to contact your local FFA advisor to find out how you can still get involved in the YIELD Challenge program this fall.

Wishing you a safe and bountiful harvest…