This week I am featuring Sharon Pattee on my blog. Sharon lives on a small farm in Fountain, Colorado and she is the current Executive Director of the Colorado Young Farmers Educational Association. Sharon started in this role in August of this year. She joined the organization with six years of experience in nonprofit work for another agriculture related organization. I am so happy Sharon agreed to speak about Colorado Young Farmers Educational Association. It’s great programs and organizations like CYFEA that can help young people get involved and help them pursue a career in agriculture.
During the interview Sharon kindly shared the mission of the Colorado Young Farmers Educational Association. She stated:
“The mission statement for the CO Young Farmers Educational Association is: to provide support and resources for its local Chapter membership to develop and strengthen their agricultural education, leadership and advocacy. The CYFEA will provide opportunities for members to grow, personally and professionally, beyond their local chapters and communities.”
I think this is a great mission and I cannot be more happy to write about a great organization.
If you have read any of my blogs you know I love to have people share their ideas on what they think the biggest challenge is for young people wanting to get their start in agriculture. Sharon made and excellent point in her interview. She said, “Nowadays, the biggest obstacle for beginning farmers is usually the acquisition of land. However, there a many programs that exists to assist in this regard.” I think she makes a key point with this statement and I know many young people are struggling with this exact situation. I also, I love how Sharon suggested a solution for this problem. She says that she encourages first time farmers to look into the different programs available to help with purchasing land. I agree with her and would recommend the same to a young farmer or rancher.
Sharon also suggested getting involved in agriculture any way that you can. I talk about this frequently and encourage joining a 4-H club, FFA chapter or other agriculture related organization. Sharon states, “Certainly a way to gain experience is to get into a job on a farm, or with an agriculturally connected business.” A great way to gain this experience is to join the CYFEA. Sharon said that anybody can become involved with CYFEA. Joining can not only lead you to great industry connections but you can gain agriculture related knowledge. Usually, members become involved with one of the statewide chapters. If you want to learn more about the organization and the various chapter locations across the state follow this link to the CYFEA website. As always, I have owe Sharon a huge thank you for allowing me to interview her and feature her and CYFEA on my blog.