Koy Harris Attends New Century Farmer Conference

Aug 03, 2020

Koy Harris
Koy Harris had the opportunity to attend the New Century Farmer Conference in Iowa from July 24-28. This conference was comprised of FFA members from all over the country and aimed to help future ag leaders expand their knowledge and set themselves up for future success.  
Can you give a general overview of what your experience was like at this conference?
The conference started on Sunday, and we were told how the week was going to go and what their expectations of us were. Bright and early each morning, we would go to Corteva Agriscience’s campus. They were a big sponsor for the conference and provided meeting rooms and lunch for us. Each day we were separated into our groups and a big thing we worked on throughout the entire conference was our vision statement. Each afternoon we would learn more about different companies and we went on a few tours.  

One day we went to Case IH and learned more about their technology and how they are implementing Raven into their equipment. We also went to John Deere, toured the Des Moines Works facility, and got to see their operations there. Nutrien Ag Solutions was another company whose facility we got to tour and see what technology they were using and how it was being implemented to better help producers. We also heard from editors and the editor-in-chief from Successful Farming, an agricultural magazine. There was a lot more to the conference but that is a short overview of some of the things we did.   
What was your biggest takeaway from the week?
My biggest takeaway was all of the great people I met and became friends with. There were 36 of us at the conference and 22 states were represented within our group. Despite our differences, where we come from, and what our ambitions are, we all had the same interests and thoughts and concerns about our future. It was a nice reminder that even if you have different backgrounds, you can make friends anywhere. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that really helped me broaden my network.
Was there anything you learned or heard about that surprised you?
We did have the opportunity to talk to Farm Credit Services of America. They spoke about how they are innovating for the future with all of the inflation we are experiencing at the moment.
John Deere talked to us about how their new technology is going to help farmers and reduce costs. They also shared what they were planning to do to help us. It was a really unique and helpful discussion.
Do you feel that attending this conference changed the way you view your future in agriculture? If so, how?
Definitely. I feel blessed to have had to opportunity to participate in this conference. I could talk forever about it and everything I learned throughout the week. I do think that by attending this conference I really grew as a person. That week helped me figure out more about what I want from my future in agriculture, whether that’s through a cooperative or back at home. I made a lot of great connections, and all of the attendees really formed a community.
What was one of your highlights from the week?
Going to John Deere was awesome! Every piece of equipment since the 1980s I believe, has been built at the Des Moines Works facility. I think it’s insane how fast they can build all of their machines and have them distributed all over.

Another highlight was the strong connections I made with everyone that will last for a long time. Over the course of a week, I was able to become friends with basically everyone there. We plan to keep in touch and are working on going to a baseball game together next year. I’m happy to have made those connections and be able to network with industry leaders and the CEO of FFA.
Any additional comments or things you would like to share?
To anyone who is interested in or thinking about attending this conference, definitely apply to it. This conference will change the way you see your future in agriculture.

The age group of this year’s attendees was 18-24 so there is no set age – you can go whenever. Whether you’re fresh out of high school or in college, you can get so much of this conference. I’ve talked to two previous attendees, my older brother and my county vet, and they shared how much they enjoyed their experience and grew from it.
If anyone has any questions or wants more information, please contact MnRahe@farmersco-operative.com for Koy’s contact information.

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