Members of the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Committee elected Townsend Kyser as the committee’s chairperson for 2008. He will take over as chair this month, at the end of the committee’s leadership conference, and serve one year.

“I’m looking forward to a whirlwind year full of excitement,” Kyser said. “It’s an honor to play this part in conveying the story of the 2 percent of the U.S. population that feeds, clothes and fuels the world.”

Kyser resides in west central Alabama, where he works on his family’s catfish farm in Greensboro. The family catfish farm, in existence sine the late 1960s, is one of the industry’s pioneer farms. Kyser and his wife, Kelly, have a 15-month-old daughter, Laura.

As chairperson, Kyser intends to compel YF&R Committee members to become more visible in their communities. One way he intends to do this is to encourage members to actively seek opportunities to tell agriculture’s story and emphasize how critical the industry is to their specific communities.

“It’s as simple as everyone on the committee doing at least one presentation to a civic organization, like Rotary or the Lions Club,” Kyser said.

Kyser said his experience doing this was very positive — for himself, the organization and the greater community.

Linking outgoing and former YF&R Committee members with new members is also a goal of Kyser’s.

“Rookie committee members would benefit from the guidance of former members who can serve as go-to people for questions about protocol and policy,” he explained. “For former members, the relationship would provide an opportunity for them to share their knowledge of and experience with the committee.”

The YF&R program includes men and women between the ages of 18 and 35. The program’s goals are to help younger Farm Bureau members learn more about agriculture, network with other farmers and become future leaders in agriculture and Farm Bureau.