"A lack of trust is your biggest expense, regardless of the role you're in," said Horsager.

"Farmers, parents, mechanics, coaches, insurance agents... doesn't matter; a level of trust is the greatest advantage you can have in life. If you don't think trust affects the bottom line, just ask Tiger Woods."



During the Feb. 23 morning session, YFLC attendees met with Federation President Jimmy Parnell and his wife, Robin. The informal meet-and-greet session offered participants a chance to get to know the Parnell family, as well as receive answers to questions relating to the future of the organization and Alfa Insurance.

For attendees who were also OYFF contestants, meeting with the Parnells was especially encouraging.



"I've been involved in the organization since I was a young farmer, so when I tell you the future president of this company could be in this room with us today, I mean it," said Parnell, who was honored as the OYFF winner in 1999 alongside Robin and their children, James Robert and Anna Grace.

"The friendships you make as a Young Farmer are friendships that last a lifetime, and I encourage each of you to get out of your comfort zone and spend some time meeting your fellow farmers."



Federation Young Farmers Division Director Jennifer Himburg echoed Parnell's advice, noting the benefits of the event.

 "The Young Farmers Leadership Conference provides a great opportunity for young farmers across Alabama to connect with each other and build relationships that will span generations in the years to come," said Himburg. "Communication is key to strengthening the Young Farmers program and the state's largest farm organization, and this event offers farmers several chances to collaborate with other members who share the same lifestyle."



Additional seminars held Saturday included an agricultural issues update, provided by David Cole and Mitt Walker of the Federation's Governmental and Agricultural Programs Department, and a county chairmen training session, hosted by the 2013 State Young Farmers Committee.

During the agricultural issues session, Cole offered updates pertinent to state legislative matters including irrigation, career tech programs and law enforcement consolidation, while Walker offered information on the 2008 farm bill extension and other federal issues.

Both encouraged attendees to get involved with FarmPAC, the Federation's political action committee.



"With less than 2 percent of the population being farmers, it's especially crucial to become proactive and engage your congressional representatives," added Walker.

"In terms of sports, let's just say that agriculture is on the defensive side of the ballgame. We have to do everything we can to elect leaders who understand and support agriculture's role, and joining FarmPAC is a way to help us achieve that mission."



The closing banquet featured dinner and a live auction, which raised $3,305. Proceeds from the event, auctioneered by Clint McElmoyl of DeKalb County, benefit the Federation's Agriculture Foundation.