After learning about the 2019 New Century Farmer Conference from their agriculture teacher at the University of Missouri, twin brothers Donell (pictured above, far right) and Dallas (above, far left) Kleiboeker did not hesitate to apply.
“We thought it was really cool that the conference would be bringing true-blue producers together, which would allow us to hear about different parts of what they do in different parts of the nation,” Donell recalls.
The Kleiboekers are fifth-generation farmers who have raised beef cattle on Kleiboeker Clover Creek Farms in Stotts City, Mo., since 2011. They’re also pursuing degrees in agriculture business at the University of Missouri.
Even though the Kleiboekers are committed to raising cattle, both were eager to learn more about other aspects of production agriculture through the workshops and field trips offered at the New Century Farmer Conference.
“All we get around southwest Missouri are livestock and row crops,” Dallas says. “Going out and seeing the vast number of areas in production agriculture (like confinement shrimp farms and Corteva AgriScience, where its focus is on crop protection) and talking to peanut and tobacco farmers was really, really neat.”
The conference provided more than just new insights into production agriculture and ideas to integrate into their cattle operation.
For the brothers, who both served as officers in the Pierce City FFA Chapter during high school (Dallas was treasurer and chapter president; Donell was secretary, vice president and area officer), the New Century Farmer Conference, like other FFA events, was also about developing leadership skills and making connections. Both agree that expanding their networks was invaluable.
“Being around other farmers our age and hearing stories about the ways that young farmers do things on their farms was such a great experience,” Donell says.
“We appreciate being able to learn and develop our wealth of knowledge from the generations ahead of us, but to us, and a lot of producers our age, being able to discuss ideas and build networks with peers is almost the most important thing that we can be doing,” Dallas adds. “We feel like we’ve got a pretty good thing going on our farm, but we’re also open to trying new things and taking risks to benefit our farming operation. The conference helped open our minds to different ideas and different ways of thinking.”
Is production agriculture your career choice? Apply for the 2020 New Century Farmer Conference beginning Jan. 15. The deadline to apply is March 1.