FFA’s New Century Farmer conference develops participants’ planning skills to help them prosper in the business of farming. Aimed at 2- and 4-year college students, the conference differs from other FFA curriculum, since FFA is typically a high school program. And where FFA broadly focuses on the biosciences, New Century Farmer specifically aims for those that intend to enter production agriculture. Based on the intent and the outcomes of the New Century Farmer conference, Farm Credit has been both a long-time sponsor and also active in the role of teaching basic financial and business planning skills at the conference.
Farming is a complicated business. The New Century Farmer experience takes a “business mind” approach by concentrating on developing the tools of business planning and building the leadership skills necessary to implement plans. Many participants come from farm families, so the topic of farm succession planning includes what it takes to succeed, as well as how to avoid pitfalls when transferring a farm business to the next generation.
By the end of the five-day New Century Farmer conference, participants have learned from educators, talked with experts and compared ambitions and situations with their peers. Personal development assignments reveal strengths and areas for skill-building; team problem-solving exercises provide strategies for working with others.
Overall, New Century Farmer provides a focused, constructive and realistic perspective on what these future farmers will face as farm business operators. Farm Credit is deeply committed to the future of agriculture, and we believe in the efficacy and value of FFA and the New Century Farmer program.