Registration for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s 2023 Young Farmer Conference has opened with plenty on tap for the Jan. 27-28 event, including the annual Discussion Meet competition, pre-conference industry tours and educational sessions at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.

Contact your county Farm Bureau to register by Jan. 13, 2023.  

The “Our Roots Run Deep” Young Farmer Conference is a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with friends and peers, make new connections, network and learn from professionals in the agriculture industry today, while also getting a chance to have a little fun, too. 

Braxten Nielsen will be this year’s keynote speaker, inspiring guests with his account of beating all odds after a traumatizing rodeo accident left him with a 5% chance of ever walking again. 

And comedian "Tim the Dairy Farmer" will show guests if you can grow it, pick it, pluck it or pull it, there’s a laugh in there somewhere. 

Pre-conference tours

The conference kicks off at 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27 with industry tours.

Attendees can choose from a visit to the Iowa State University (ISU) feed mill and a driving tour of ISU’s various research farms, a tour of the state-of-the-art ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, a visit to the National Animal Disease Center to see first-hand the center’s mission and research capabilities, a tour of the Iowa Farm Bureau campus, a visit to Corteva Agri-Science to see its automated greenhouse and seed treatment facilities or a behind-the-scenes look at the planning that occurs to put on the Iowa State Fair, including a tour of the fairgrounds.

Friday evening’s activities include a social hour and dinner as well as district gatherings for networking and a casino night.

Discussion meet

The Young Farmer Discussion Meet, sponsored by Ziegler Cat and Altorfer Cat, will highlight day two of the conference, allowing free-wheeling discussion of ag topics.

The Discussion Meet helps participants build communication skills, develop an understanding of important ag issues and explore how to pool knowledge to solve problems.

Participants will compete in two preliminary rounds discussing one of three pre-determined ag questions, providing opening statements, group discussion and closing statements. 

Contestants are judged on co­operative attitude, problem solving, delivery, problem analysis and opening/closing statements.

The top eight will be finalists and will be coached throughout the year to prepare for the final rounds, held during the Iowa Farm Bureau annual meeting in December 2023. Prizes are awarded to four state finalists, and the winner will advance to the American Farm Bureau Discussion Meet in January 2024 in Salt Lake City.

Alternatives to watching the discussion meet include a small business showcase featuring Lisa Shimkat, state director, America’s SBDC-Iowa; Lille Beringer-Crock, Beringer Family Farms Beef; and James and Megan Holz, Iowa Cover Crops; among others.

Alejandro Plastina, ISU Extension farm management specialist, will discuss his research via a carbon credit simulation highlighting the opportunities and differences among multiple carbon credit programs.

The conference will wrap up with social hour, dinner, Nielsen’s keynote speech, Discussion Meet and Grow Your Future Award results, networking and grand prize drawings. 

More information can be found at