Shelby Rhodes attends young farmers and ranchers conference

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Shelby Rhodes

By Carol McIntire


When you talk agriculture to 22-year-old Carroll County resident Shelby Rhodes, her eyes light up and she immediately joins the conversation. 

That desire to promote Carroll County ag and learn about the industry made her an ideal candidate to attend the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference, held March 8-11 in Omaha, NE.

Rhodes applied for a scholarship to attend the event through Farm Bureau, an organization in which she is active on the county level and as a Young Ag Professional (YAP). During the YAP conference, held in Columbus in late January, Rhodes learned she was one of five YAP members from across Ohio to receive a scholarship to attend the national event. 

“I, along with the other recipients and representatives of the Ohio Young Ag Professionals Board of Directors traveled to Nebraska. Events like these, you never quite know what to expect. I’ve been fortunate to travel to a lot of Farm Bureau events since my term on the county board has started, but you can’t help but be a little nervous. I knew I wanted to promote the state of Ohio and Carroll County to the best of my ability. My story when it comes to agriculture looks a little different than most, but agriculture is my passion and getting to learn and travel to promote that is something special,” Rhodes said after returning from the conference.

As the Augusta Township resident said, her ag story is a little different than some, but her dedication to agriculture in unwavering.

She was raised by her mother, Stephanie Dinger, and joined the county 4-H program, where she showed livestock projects, incuding dairy beef feeders. She landed a job on a dairy farm and spent six years milking cows. Following high school, she continued her venture in ag and is employed by PBS Animal Heath as a U.S. Sales Representative. She also assists with responsibilities at Shamrock Vale Farms Registered Angus (McKarns Family), assists with show cattle across Ohio and Indiana, serves as director of the Carroll County Dairy Princess program and is a member of the Carroll County Farm Bureau Board of Directors where she serves as secretary.

Theme for the conference was “Growing Leaders in the Heartland” and included four days of learning about leadership, growth and how to build yourself as well as your operation. “We attended different sessions that talked about things such as the newly released Ag Census and how current issues like the farm bill are affecting people involved in agriculture,” Rhodes explained. “We listened to speakers such as Zippy Deuvall, resident of American Farm Bureau.. I’ve met Zippy a couple times and his message always brings value to his audience.”

Rhodes, who is also active in the Augusta community and the local fire department, said networking with other young agriculturists from across the United States was also another valuable and educational part of the trip.  

“If anyone knows me, I promise you they will attest to the fact that I LOVE to talk!,” she said “Getting to learn more about agriculture from new friends in California, Vermont, Louisiana, Alabama and so many more was incredible. Farm Bureau has invested in me in so many ways. This program has helped culture me, educate me, and build me into the person I strive to be. hoped to gain a strong knowledge of agriculture in different parts of the US and how it all ties together. At the conference, I hoped to grow myself in networking and leadership abilities to bring back to the state and county Farm Bureau organizations and help implement those practices to all of our members. It met and exceeded my expectation.”

She called the opportunity to represent Carroll County and all its agriculture families in the past few years “humbling.”

“Farmers are the most loyal, dedicated people to know the world of agriculture and all its hardships is something all people should hear,” she continued. “ Events like these are crucial to the advancement of agriculture. The next generation has a lot of uphill battles and events like these are preparing us to continue the legacy of American agriculture.”   

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