Young Leaders encouraged to ‘be involved, be engaged’

By Ashley Rice

Illinois Farm Bureau Vice President Brian Duncan encouraged attendees of the Young Leader Conference to “take chances, make mistakes and get messy.”

“Take chances and go outside your comfort zone and grow professionally, grow in leadership, grow as a human being,” Duncan said. “I know you’re busy, but take the trip, go to the conference, attend the seminar, serve as the committee chair.”

Duncan recalled life-long friendships he formed with Farm Bureau members just from sitting beside people he didn’t know at events.

With new opportunities and experiences may come mistakes, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. “If you make mistakes learn from them, use them as growth opportunities,” Duncan noted.

Young Leaders were also encouraged to challenge their own beliefs by listening to and reading differing perspectives.

“Change your perspective, allow Farm Bureau to help you turn things upside down from how you normally view them,” Duncan advised.

Duncan shared his experience visiting an environmental organization in Washington, D.C., with Farm Bureau members. During this meeting, Farm Bureau members were challenged to be respectful, listen and ask questions. From this, the Farm Bureau members learned something important.

“The people that disagree with us are smart. They’re motivated, they know how to communicate, they know how to tell their story,” he said.

Overall, the Young Leaders were encouraged to say “yes.” “The trajectory of my life is incredibly different than it would have been if I would have said no,” Duncan reflected. “Say yes, be involved, be engaged.”

This story was provided by