There are two young farmer groups in Indiana- the Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmers, and the Indiana Young Farmers Association. The former is associated with Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc., and requires membership to participate and belong in activities sponsored by the group. The Indiana Young Farmers Association is an educational arm of the agricultural education program in Indiana, and is typically divided into chapters across the state served by the local FFA advisor who also doubles as a young farmer chapter advisor.
The Indiana Young Farmers began 50 years ago in an effort to help those who graduated in agriculture and FFA from their local high school to continue to meet and grow both socially and educationally. Like the Farm Bureau Young Farmer county groups, most Indiana Young Farmer Association chapters typically hold meetings, often monthly. Either a speaker brings a topic of interest to young farmers to their attention, or a local authority on the subject speaks and answers questions.
The battle the IYFA has faced is that members desired to stay in chapters and still belong even after they were no longer thought of as 'young farmers.' There are members of the group now approaching 60 years old.
IYFA has struggled to incorporate new members into their groups as more kids graduate. Some chapters have been successful, others haven't. It can be difficult for people of such a wide age range to communicate with one another.
This is an important year for IYFA. Their 50th Anniversary will be celebrated at their annual banquet on February 25. Special recognition will be given to all past state officers who attend that evening. If you have ever served as a state officer is especially invited, notes Steve Hickey, executive director of the program.
He asks that if anyone knows of someone who served as a past state officer, they should contact them and tell them about the Feb. 25 celebration. An incomplete mailing list has prevented some deserving members from receiving notice of the upcoming event. Contact: SHickey@isda.in.gov.