Jeff Bergman: #POWERING Young Farmers
Career farmer Jeff Bergman calls Agri-Ready Designated Lafayette County home. He lives in the community of Alma and raises corn, soybeans, and Angus cattle on acres that his grandfather acquired. His mom, brother, and four nephews live nearby and offer support to the farm. When Jeff isn’t working on the farm, he is POWERING Young Farmers as a member and officer of the Missouri Young Farmers/Young Farm Wives Association (MYF).
In the late 1990’s, then local FFA Advisor John Morgan encouraged Jeff to get involved with the organization. The Missouri Young Farmers/Young Farm Wives Association is an adult education program for agriculture professionals. Local YF chapters must exist under the direction of a local advisor, who is often also the FFA program advisor in the local community. Jeff was one of the founding members that officially established his local chapter as the Santa Fe
Agri-leaders. He says the name was chosen so the group could attract not only local farmers, but agribusiness professionals as well. He is excited that the chapter is still thriving and well supported by their current FFA Advisor, Brittany Hemme.
As the MYF Central Vice-President, Jeff is currently helping his state committee promote and gear up for the annual state farm tour which will be hosted by the California Young Farmers Chapter in California, Missouri July 13-15. Young Farmer members from across the state will enjoy tour stops and meals and look forward to seeing old friends while making new ones. “Any time the group gets together at a convention or tour it is great to catch up with the family. Fellow members ask “how are your crops?”, “how is your family back home?”, “what are the local crop prices in your area?”. We don’t just learn about farming practices. We take the time to enjoy and learn. It’s fun. I enjoy it,” Jeff said.
“It is important to be involved in something and continue your education in an industry like agriculture that changes and evolves. Staying involved brings me a larger agriculture family each year. Young Farmers has been an opportunity for me to expand my leadership skills,” Jeff said.
Jeff hasn’t stayed local with his agriculture education. He has gotten involved on the national level of the YF organization as well. He remembers attending his first national tour (NYFEA) in 2005. The experience introduced him to an even wider variety of farms and agribusinesses, new friends, and continued friendships. He was an organizer of the Missouri National Tour in 2011 and served as the national President of the Young Farmers organization in 2016. Jeff still has friends in many states across the U.S. from his national experience.
As a member of the local Santa Fe Agri-leaders chapter, Jeff helps the group raise funds to send Santa Fe FFA members on trips and activities, as well as provide a variety of scholarships for younger agriculturalists. Their biggest fundraiser is a day of agricultural updates and workshops on current topics such as no-till, cover crops, and soil management. The chapter is proud to host more than 100 attendees to the event annually. “It is too easy to go to the internet to research thoughts and questions, but being involved in a local group like Young Farmers ties everything together with face-to-face relationships and hands-on activities.” Jeff stated. “These things create an important network for young people involved in farming.”
The Missouri Young Farmers/Young Farm Wives Association is a partner of Missouri Farmers Care as an affiliate of the MVATA. To find one of the 40 existing Young Farmers chapters, visit here or consider starting a local chapter.