The mission of Collegiate Farm Bureau is to support students engaged in agriculture, enhance members’ education, and develop future leaders for the Kansas Farm Bureau organization and agriculture industry.
Members of Fort Hays State University’s chapter of Collegiate Farm Bureau are accomplishing that mission and more.
All in one weekend in early February, they visited the State Capitol, joined other collegiate chapters at the College Farm Bureau annual conference, then got to network with professionals in the agriculture industry at the Kansas Young Farmers and Ranchers Leaders Conference.
Morgan Tucker, an FHSU senior from Dighton, said she gained a wealth of knowledge about the agriculture industry. Following the “Day at the Statehouse,” students participated in competition at the collegiate conference and in breakout workshops at the Young Farmers and Ranchers conference.
“The networking at these types of events is invaluable,” said Tucker, an animal science major and president of Fort Hays State’s Collegiate Farm Bureau. “We get to hear more in-depth views on what’s going on in the industry. It’s different than being in the classroom – to be sitting in the same room, surrounded by numerous producers and hearing about the challenges they face in their everyday lives.”
Tucker is set to graduate in May, and she is looking forward to getting the most out of her last semester as a college student.
Tucker especially likes helping with “Ag in the Classroom,” a service project where members of Collegiate Farm Bureau visit elementary school classrooms in Ellis and Trego counties and connect with about 300 children once a month, teaching them about different aspects of farm life and the agriculture industry.
Laura Haffner, an agriculture instructor at FHSU, is in her first year as advisor for the CFB group and says she learns right along with the students in all their activities.
Haffner began her career in agronomy and later transitioned into teaching as a high school and middle school science teacher. Haffner and her husband farm and own and operate a custom harvesting business. She returned to teaching as an online instructor for FHSU’s Department of Agriculture the spring semesters of 2018 and ’19 and began teaching on campus last semester.
“I love being back in the classroom,” she said. “I love education, and I love agriculture. It’s awesome to be able to combine my two interests.”
Haffner was named chair of Kansas Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers last fall and also serves as the women’s chair for the Ellis County Farm Bureau Association. That busy schedule calls for some creative time management for Haffner, the mother of two young children.
“If I find value in it to teach being involved, I should find value in my life as well,” she said. “You learn so much meeting people from all over the state and the country.”
The Collegiate Farm Bureau group also coordinates Ag Day in the Quad at Fort Hays State in late April, when the organization members set up booths to teach students and other community members a little about all facets of agriculture.
Tucker has stayed busy during her time at FHSU. In addition to her classes, she was a member of the livestock judging team for a year and a half and also works at the University Farm as well as the La Crosse Livestock Market.
“All the experiences I have had at Fort Hays State are invaluable,” Tucker said. “There are so many opportunities for students to learn outside of the classroom, and there is more one-on-one interaction with professors. The quality of relationships is phenomenal.”