I'm Amie Osborn. I'm a commercial and ag lender here at First Farmers and I'm at the Converse branch.
And I'm Kent Burton, also a commercial and ag lender at First Farmers. I work out of the Logansport branch.
We sat down with Amie Osborn and Kent Burton to talk about their recent experience at the Farm Bureau Discussion Meet.
Farm Bureau is an organization that has two different parts, both the insurance and the Incorporated side. This discussion meet was part of The Incorporated side. What incorporated does is it focuses on furthering
agriculture whether that's through policy, regulations, but also programs and so there's different
levels. This was at the state level that we competed and it's also through the Young Farmers and Ag
Professionals Program, which is another part of Farm Bureau, which focuses on bringing in those that
are less than 40 years old, to further agriculture in different parts of the industry.
A Discussion Meet is a contest put on by the Young Farmers and Ag Professionals Group. It is meant to
simulate a committee meeting, and it takes a topic that is prevalent in today's ag environment and
discusses ways that Farm Bureau and we as Farm Bureau members and members of the ag
community can help to make a change or make an improvement and to help further all of agriculture.
What topics are covered during the Discussion Meet?
Of the five different topics for the discussion meet we each kinda had our favorites and ones that really sparked our
interest. For me, it was the cell-based protein. And the question about... We've got this new technology coming of lab-grown meats and things like
the Impossible Whopper. Are they going to displace our traditional food chain or... Or are they going to
just add to that. And as an ag producer, that's a big concern for us and a lot of our customers.
Consumer tasting preferences drive the market and whatever the consumers ask for is what needs to
be produced. There was several other questions and some that maybe were a little more closer to home. And
Amy, I know you had one hit close to home for you.
Yeah, absolutely, the Sweet 16 round. When we were down in French Lick, spoke about mental health and opioid crisis. All of these topics were
impactful on not only our community level, but state and national. But the opioid crisis and mental
health issue is something that we see in our local communities. And it's something that I am
passionate about and that we and First Farmers believe that we need to support our communities and this
was one opportunity to have a discussion and have ideas of how do... how does Farm Bureau impact that, whether that's through policy or whether that's through programs to go help and work together with
community members, I think it's important for us not as Farm Bureau members, but as the ag culture community to recognize issues that are going on around us, and to have an impact and start
those discussions, and that's what it's allowed us to do.
And I think you were also involved with that through ALP, the Ag Leadership Program as part of the Mental Health Symposium.
So did you want to touch on that just a little bit?
Yeah, definitely, I think it was September, there was a ALP, which is part of the Ag
Institute's Leadership program. It's a two-year program. They're accepting applications now if you're
interested. But one of our groups put on the Health Symposium which was called "Healing the
Heartland, and it really brought in different experts to help train and start conversations around
mental health in our areas, and how individuals like Kent and I can be trained and have those
conversations comfortably, but recognize some signs that are really impactful for people around
us, whether that's family friends, even clients, and it's important that we recognize there are
opportunities for those that may not be producers, but also in the ag professional industry to take a
step and an initiative to help further our rural communities and agriculture.
I think that's one of those things that we do really well as an Ag industry is we all work together.
The First Farmers Bank and Trust, the Farm Bureau, the Ag Institute, everybody seems to work together
really well, and all the commodity groups get together. And when we've got a goal in mind, we are
working hard to get something accomplished.
There's a lot of collaboration going on, and that's one of the cool parts about this discussion, is it
brings together people - it brings together all walks of life that are interested in agriculture.
In the final four, we had two people, Rachel and Logan as well, and both are involved in agriculture
in very different aspects, whether that's selling seed production. And also Rachel was a coroner - is a
corner. And so you bring in different walks of life that are interested in agriculture, coming together
with different ideas, different backgrounds, different perspectives and it can start snowballing into
something that is actually impactful for our communities. And we can take things that they brought and bring them back to our county Farm Bureaus
and have that.
With the challenges and opportunities ahead, what is the role of Farm Bureau, FFBT, and all of Indiana agriculture?
I think we at First Farmers are always looking to help our customers grow and evolve their operations, whether that's bringing back the next generation or whether that's expanding on the current
land base, or doing something else to add a different enterprise. We're always looking to grow with
you and be part of that expansion and growth in the prosperous future.
I think there's a recognition too that 2019 was a rough year. And we're excited about 2020, we're
excited about the future of agriculture. There are struggles, the markets are not what we want them to be, right? But ultimately, we as an organization at First
Farmers believe that there is greater opportunity for agriculture and that's why we are involved in - and we are encouraged to be involved in things like Farm Bureau
and the Discussion Meet to further those conversations. Whether that has a direct impact or not on our clients, it's important for us to be
involved in the impact of the industry as a whole.
Amie is heading to the Austin finals later this month.
Yeah, absolutely. I'm very excited. I'm very humbled and honored. This is one of my first times that
I'm representing Indiana. Mot being from the state, sometimes you wonder, "Am I a resident? Am I
considered a Hoosier? Well, now this was an opportunity for, for me to represent Indiana in the
national side, so at AFBF. So we'll be travelling on the 17th. That's coming up pretty quick.
And so we're doing quite a bit of collaboration with different people, whether that's talking to Kent,
getting his information, because I only got to work with Kent on two different Discussion Meet topics, so
he has so much information that I'm taking and I'm working with many different people throughout
to gather that information and prepare. I'm excited for the opportunity to bring back ideas, potentially
through that. We're getting people from all over the country to get together with different
perspectives, experiences, ideas that we might not have here in Indiana, we have that opportunity to
bring them back to State Farm Bureau, or even to our county Farm Bereaus and say, "Hey, I've heard
somebody in such and such state do this," and that's a great opportunity for us to build our networks
and also to expand and improve our local communities.
First Farmers Bank a& Trust - 135
(Laughing) I was listening to you do a great job and I just forgot that I was supposed to speak.
Oh it's good, I didn't throw it to you either.