Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Summer Conference

Recently, ProStaffer Ben Fleenor attended the Tennessee Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Summer Conference. Here’s his update on how it went!

“The 2019 Tennessee Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Summer conference was a great event. This year was the 75th anniversary for the YF&R program and the turnout was great! This was the last year my wife Lorie and I were eligible to compete for the TN Young Farmer of the Year Achievement Award as we are both aging out of the program this year. We were the State Environmental Stewardship winners last year and this year we were able to win the achievement awards for our County and also for our District which ranks us among the top ten young farmers in the state. We were honored to receive those awards one last time and it always feels great to be recognized for the good practices we try to implement in our farming operations.

The Shooting Skills Workshop was extremely well received. I met at the Middle Tennessee Research Facility last Thursday afternoon to get a look at the layout of where we would be holding the shooting workshop. Kevin Thompson(director of the facility) took me to a large soy bean field we would be shooting across. After determining the safest direction of fire and looking at backdrops and ranging distances, we placed some targets at 480yd and 635yds. These distances ended up working out really well as they were challenging for some shooters but not so hard that they didn’t get hits. I took two .223 JP rifles, one with a Midas TAC and one with a Cronus BTR, and had a station setup to shoot those at the 480yd targets. I had another station with a 6.5CM and .308 JP rifles setup to shoot at the 635yd targets. The 6.5CM has a Cronus BTR and the .308 has an Ares ETR. This particular range didn’t allow for 1000yd distances.

On Friday, Lorie and I arrived at the Research Farm a little before noon to finish setup for the workshop. I had to use 4 folding tables to shoot from to get the rifles high enough over the soy beans to see the targets and then Farm Bureau provided pop-up tents to provide shade for the event and also coolers with water and Gatorade. I also had another table setup with all the prizes, product catalogs, and coupons. Around 1:30 the first group arrived to shoot. Farm Bureau had asked me to limit participants to three shots for time restraints. I decided, to help make it fun, that we could raffle the prizes to the people who participated in the workshop. I gave each participant a raffle ticket for shooting and then told them they would receive an additional ticket for each time they hit the targets. This ended up working out great.

Lorie ran one station with the .223 rifles and I ran the station with the large platform rifles. Everything went really smooth and we were able to get 32 shooters through in two hours. All but two of the shooters made hits on the targets and a lot of them went 2/3 or 3/3. The feedback we received afterward was amazing! That was the farthest most of them had ever shot and the smiling faces as they finished shooting was priceless. I took probably 20 catalogs and didn’t return with any. I also answered a ton of questions about your rifle scopes and optics throughout the remainder of the conference. It was really cool!

Farm Bureau had asked me if they could use your binoculars in a giveaway on Saturday morning. They did a raffle and Clint Workman was the winner. Clint was extremely happy to win them as he is an avid hunter and says he will put them to good use. Clint was also the State YF&R achievement award runner-up last year where he won a free 250hr lease on a Kubota tractor of his choosing.

I was approached by the President of Tennessee Farm Bureau(Jeff Aiken) afterward and he personally thanked me for my involvement with the shooting skills workshop and for bringing sponsors on board. All in all, I think this was very well received. We were able to introduce over 30 new shooters to the joys of long range shooting, and I think we were able to introduce even more people than that to your brand.”

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