AFBF- Meals elected as YF&R Committee Chair
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AFBF: Meals elected as YF&R Committee Chair

Members of the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee elected Mathew Meals as the committee's chairperson for 2009. He will take over as chair in February, at the end of the committee's leadership conference, and serve one year.

Meals, who is from Newville, Penn., owns and operates a 136-acre crop farm. A first-generation farmer, he grows timothy, brome and alfalfa hay for the local dairy and horse industry. Meals graduated from the State University of New York in Cobleskill with a Bachelor of Technology degree in agricultural business management and an associate degree in agricultural engineering.

Meals is intent on young farmers and ranchers stepping up their efforts as voices of the industry and making the best use of all available tools to connect with consumers. He sees opportunities abound on the Internet, whether through the Farm Bureau blog, accessible at www.fb.org/blog/, or social networking Web sites.

"We need to constantly update the blog with accurate and timely information. It's our platform for generating discussion about the issues critical to agriculture," Meals said. "Facebook is another way for us to reach out to consumers, as well as other young farmers and ranchers."

Facebook, with more than 130 million users, is one of the most popular social networking sites in the world.

Meals also wants to place emphasis on the YF&R program's mission to surface new leaders for the organization.

"Growing new leaders was one of the main reasons the YF&R program was launched," Meals said. "We want to make sure that we are surfacing future leaders and providing them with the education, tools and preparation they need to step into leadership roles."

The YF&R program includes men and women between the ages of 18 and 35. The program's goals are to help younger Farm Bureau members learn more about agriculture, network with other farmers and become future leaders in agriculture and Farm Bureau.

2/2/09
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Date: 1/22/09



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