Area high school students will develop leadership skills and learn about the


Constitution as Brown County Farm Bureau invites them to apply for the annual Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Youth Leadership Conference (YLC).


Students who attend YLC engage in patriotism, free enterprise and leadership opportunities, Jule Richmond, Brown County Farm Bureau president, said.


"We encourage our youth to take advantage of these opportunities to learn how our U.S. Constitution works and to engage with other students across Texas," Richmond said. "It's a great chance to develop strong leadership skills."


YLC is set for June 8-12 at Tarleton State University in Stephenville.


Students entering their junior or senior year of high school as of August 2020 are eligible to attend.


Students will participate in breakout sessions on professionalism, public speaking, goal-setting advice and money management. They will also hear from career professionals regarding the basics of the free enterprise system and government.


"At YLC, our youth will establish lifelong friendships with other high school students from across Texas," Richmond said. "Each year, Brown County Farm Bureau sponsors student(s) to attend YLC, because we believe in the future of our community and our state. We believe in helping our students better themselves with activities that help build character, confidence and more."


If selected, Brown County Farm Bureau can assist with conference expenses, charter bus transportation and registration. A student does not have to be a Farm Bureau member to attend, Richmond noted.


Students who are Farm Bureau members and participate in YLC are eligible to apply for a college scholarship and able to participate in the Free Enterprise Speech contest the following fall.


Applications are due May 4.


Additional details and registration forms can be found online at


https: texasfarmbureau.org/youth/youth-opportunities.


Impact of COVID-19 on Texas agriculture


The sweeping impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic is being felt in


every industry across the nation right now, including agriculture.


Uncertain market futures and trade disruptions add to an already difficult year for Texas farmers and ranchers. But Americans do not have to fear a decrease in the safety and security of the U.S. food supply.


"We're still doing what we always do-farming and ranching," Jule Richmond, Brown County Farm Bureau president, said. "Times like these remind us of the importance of ensuring our nation's food security, which we are working on right now by continuing to farm and ranch."


Agriculture was named a critical industry amid the coronavirus outbreak. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued the declaration on Thursday, March 19.


The announcement allows those in the food and agriculture supply chain to continue operating to meet the demand across the nation. The declaration covers farmers, food processors and producers, distributors and retailers.


"Farm Bureau has been following this issue closely and watching for shutdowns at meat packing plants, dairies, ethanol plants and the like," Richmond said. "We've also asked for livestock haulers and other trucks carrying food to receive emergency waivers for hours of service, so those folks can get food and supplies where it's needed as quickly as possible."


Current markets are volatile-including commodity markets. Futures pricing for live cattle, corn, cotton, soybeans and wheat have all taken a dive in recent weeks.


"Commodity prices are pretty low right now, and our fruit and vegetable growers are concerned other countries may try to manipulate fresh produce prices by dumping products on the market," Richmond said.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies should assist farmers and ranchers by taking measures to maintain stable and fair markets during this time, Richmond noted.


Despite all the mounting pressures, though, Richmond feels certain American agriculture will pull through during this challenging time.


"We won't ever stop producing the food and fiber that feeds and clothes our families and our neighbors around the country," Richmond said. "We're in the field every day, making sure our crops and animals are cared for. America is the land of plenty, and we're working hard to keep it that way."