We asked the youngest members of the Montana delegation at the American Farm Bureau convention to write a guest post for us (maybe with just a little help from Mom) sharing their experience from the American Farm Bureau Convention in Orlando this January.  Thanks to Ainsley and Kamdyn McFarland for sharing this with us!

What We Learned During a Week Away from School

The great news we got for Christmas—a trip to Orlando to attend the Farm Bureau Convention with Mom and Dad!  The bad news—a week’s worth of school work to make up.

What did we learn while we were gone?  First, we learned we had to find someone to do chores and feed and water our cattle before we left.  Then we were off to the airport!  Dad told us when we got on the biggest plane from Minneapolis to Orlando that we would be treated like sheep for the rest of the trip.  Boy was he right!  I (Ainsley) was ready to go home many times during the trip.  There were too many people for me, it was way to warm and my allergies were horrible because there are so many plants I’ve never seen before.

AFBF Convention—Not Your Average Farm Bureau Event

We learned that the convention is huge, 6,000 people at one meeting.  Way bigger than any other Farm Bureau event we have been to.  We had to ride a bus from the hotel to the meetings because the place is so big!  We tagged along to meetings with Mom and Dad.  It was interesting to attend the food safety workshop and they talked about food allergies.  Since I (Kamdyn) have a food allergy I paid attention to this class because they talked about important things, like cross contamination.

We went to the trade show and wandered around to all of the booths.  We learned about other group’s activities that were on display and looked at ideas that might be fun for our Farm Bureau to try.  We spent a lot of time at the Florida Farm Bureau booth, where we learned that they raise over 300 different crops in Florida. They had lots of Florida fruits and vegetables on display and samples for us to try.   Did you know that Florida oranges are used mostly for juice and California oranges are for eating?  And the avocados are bigger than what we get in Montana, they are the same size as a grapefruit.  They had us try a kumquat and they are very strange little fruits, like baby oranges that you eat the peel and all.

We spent lots of time looking at the CASE IH tractors with our dad.  I (Kamdyn) even got to do a TV interview with Lane Nordlund from Northern Ag Network.   We got to attend the Foundation Night Out and watch the acapella group Home Free. Those guys can sing and make noises that sound like they have a band.  We have seen them on TV before so that was really cool.  One important thing we did learn was that Farm Bureau is one big family that all care about the same thing!

Alligators & Oranges

The last thing we did during the convention was to get on a bus and tour the biggest ranch in the United States.  It is called the Deseret Ranch.  They have 44,000 cows on 300,000 acres.  We got to drive around the ranch looking at cattle and pastures and even got to go pick oranges out of the orange grove on the ranch.  They cooked us steak (surprise) and swamp cabbage while we were there. And the best surprise was getting to meet Fluffy, a 4-foot alligator that we got to hold!

We ended our trip by visiting Disneyworld and Universal Studios and stood in line forever.  Going to the park was fun, but very expensive.  Dad said it would cost the price of 2 steers to go to the parks and he was right!  And did you know there are as many people in Disneyworld in a day as there is in Billings, MT?  We were ready to go home and get some rest.

We got another surprise when we got home because one of our cows had calved early.  We are happy to be home and back to our regular schedule and school!

 --Ainsley and Kamdyn McFarland