After about five years of being in the west and south, the 45th National Young Farmers Association Institute "Show Me the Heartland" will be held in Kansas City on Dec. 7-10.
"Last year it was in California, and the year before that Alabama," said Jeff Bergman, co-chairman for the event and a local member of Santa Fe Agri-Leaders. "This is the first time in about five years it has come back to central United States."
Bergman and a committee of eight Missouri Young Farmers/Young Farmer Wives Association have been working on planning the event for about two years.
"It is a national event hosted by Missouri Young Farmers," he said. "I got involved through the state organization."
The last time it was held in Missouri was in 1994, when Springfield hosted the event.
This year, Bergman said they hope to have about 400 people from as far away as California, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Georgia, Indiana and other states attend.
"We would just like for people to come, have a good time and enjoy themselves," he said. "It will be good tours, good food and good socialization."
The event, headquartered at the Holiday Inn Kansas City SE Waterpark Hotel, will kick off on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 1 p.m. with a NYFEA board meeting, followed at 4 p.m. by a delegate meeting.
The "Taste of the Heartland" food extravaganza will kick off the first evening at the hotel, as guests are arriving.
"Different people have different booths, and you will be able to go around and taste different foods (made in the area)," he said. "That kind of kicks us off Wednesday evening. That is when people will start coming in, because we'll start leaving for tours bright and early."
On the first day of tours, Thursday, Dec. 8, a bus will take participants north towards several stops including Shatto Dairy near St. Joseph, the Pony Express Museum and Lifeline Foods, a value-added grain processor.
They will also tour Loose Creek Wind Farm, near King City.
"They have 100-plus turbines. We are going to be able to walk up close to a turbine and see all that," Bergman said.
On Friday, Dec. 9, the tour buses will again leave at 8 a.m. to head "up Highway 50." Stops will include the Bayer Corporation research, development and production facilities; Show Me Energy; Weigand Angus Farm near Warrensburg; and Boulevard Brewing Company. Bergman said he has heard participants are most excited about Whiteman Air Force Base, near Knob Noster.
On Thursday, Dec. 8, the evening dinner will include a state flag ceremony, NYFEA officer introductions and entertainment.
"Ralph Durham is our entertainment. He does a lot of live animal calls -- without props," said Bergman, adding they have had him at MYF events.
After tours on Friday, Dec. 9, Bergman said attendees will be served dinner at the American Royal Complex, where they will also be touring the museum.
Then shuttles will be available to take visitors to see the Plaza Lights, Crown Center and the Power and Light District from 6:30 until midnight.
On Saturday, NYFEA will host the Young Leaders Ag Events.
"They bring college students in and they do some leadership classes and different things," he said, adding it will be a free afternoon for attendees to see some other things in KC.
Saturday night will be the final banquet, sponsored by John Deere. Entertainment will include Becky Blackerby of Paris and a recognition of Master Farmer's, the Ag Communicator Award and outgoing NYFEA officers.
Bergman said they did not have a summer tour or Missouri Young Farmer's state convention this year, in hopes they would get more in-state people to attend the national event.
"We would sure like to get the Missouri people to come. That adds so much to a tour, when you have more local in-state people on the tour," he said.
Although it is called "young farmers," anyone is welcome to attend the event, no matter their age.
"You do not have to be a member," emphasized Bergman. "Anybody can come to this event-- young, old, anyone in ag business or an ag professional."
Bergman, who has been to about five national events, said it is a great way to learn new things to help your own farm.
"I think it is a great way to be able to see your operation and what you can expand on," he said. "If you can grow your operation, you can grow your community."
Early Registration --by Nov. 6 -- is $250 per person, which includes registration, tours and nine meals. Rooms at the hotel are an extra $89 per night. After Nov. 6, the registration fee is $275 per person.
If someone cannot come for the whole event, they can come for a day or two, as daily participant registration is also available for $125 per person.
Payments can be sent to NYFEA, P.O. Box 20326, Montgomery, AL 36210 or by calling 334-213-3276.
Contact Marcia Gorrell at