Washington County Young Farmers and Ranchers Group Promotes Agricultural Awareness

Published 9:52 am Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Washington County is a region with diverse agricultural needs.

These needs require people with the right knowledge and skill-set to meet today’s pressing problems.

Washington County Young Farmers and Ranchers is a group founded to create and support agricultural awareness in the area.

Ryan Askew, the organization’s president, discussed some of the group’s recent activities.

“We have done fundraisers for a scholarship that is based on agriculture. It is not just for an emphasis on agribusiness. It can be for diesel mechanics or truck driving. It is for anything that you can relate to agriculture,” said Askew.

The Young Farmers and Ranchers Group has also helped at Farm Safety Days at the Vernon James Center in the past.

“We held a seminar there on being safe around equipment. We did ours on a grain truck. We showed them where the blind spots might be for a driver,” said Askew.

The Young Farmers and Ranchers Group also helped out at the local Food Drive in Washington County.

“The food from there went to the Food Drive in Elizabeth City. That is our closest state Food Bank,’’ said Askew.

An important event for the group was the NC Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Ranchers Conference held January 31 – February 1, 2015, in Durham, NC, at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel.

“Several members of our group attended. There were probably seven or eight seminars. Someone attending got to choose to go to about four different ones. In my opinion it was extremely helpful,” said Askew

Askew mentioned the seminars had a range of topics like financial management planning and laws being enforced by the Highway Patrol and Department of Motor Vehicles regarding highway use of equipment.

“I went to the financial planning seminar and gained a wealth of knowledge. They went over ideas like not blowing all of your earnings in one year and what we need to have in order to stay in business if market prices drop,” said Askew.
Askew mentioned that corn prices are facing a steep drop for this upcoming year.

“For things like that you need to plan ahead for the future,” said Askew.

Another seminar focused on apps in agriculture.

“Everything is getting more technologically advanced. GPS was one of the big things. Now with something as small as your iphone or any smartphone there are all these different apps out there for looking at market prices or calibrating your sprayer,” said Askew.

The Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher (YF&R) Program is described online as “a program for young women and men between 18 and 35 years of age. It provides opportunities to develop leadership traits, public speaking skills and exposure to current issues in agriculture from state and national leaders.”

“We wanted to let anyone know that is interested in agriculture that there are opportunities after getting out of 4-H and the local FFA.  Our age range offers a good while to be involved with a good young farming group,” said Askew.