Young Farmers and Ranchers Attend Statewide Leadership Conference

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MANHATTAN – Farmers and ranchers from across Kansas gathered in Manhattan Feb. 7-9 for the annual Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) leaders conference. More than 575 attended the three-day Kansas Farm Bureau conference designed to maximize efficiency on family farming operations.

The conference provided young ag producers between the ages of 18-35 with agricultural education, motivational speakers and opportunities to connect with industry resources and network with peers.

Attendees heard from Jay Hill, a farmer and agriculture advocate from West Texas and Southern New Mexico; Jim Morris, a major league baseball player whose story was portrayed in the movie, The Rookie; Dr. Roger Marshall, Kansas’s 1st congressional district’s representative; and Rich Felts, Kansas Farm Bureau president.

State committee members from each of the 10 Kansas Farm Bureau districts planned and hosted the conference. The conference included workshops, speakers, tours and competitions. The YF&R state committee played an integral part in making this year’s conference a success.

Winners of the conference competitions included:

  • Collegiate Discussion Meet – Max Harmon, Kansas State University
  • YF&R Discussion Meet – Scott Thellman, Douglas County
  • Ag Quiz Bowl – Colt Sutterby, Eli Ohlde, Isaac Brunkow and Andy Mink, Kansas State University
  • Excellence in Agriculture – Jackie Mundt, Pratt County
  • YF&R of the Year – John Buttenhoff, Lincoln County

Young farmers and ranchers from 82 counties participated in this year’s event.

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.