By Julie Tomascik
Editor, Texas Farm Bureau
A strong Texas demands high leadership standards.
And the voice of agriculture—today and tomorrow—needs young folks with passion, drive and diligence.
That’s where Texas Farm Bureau’s (TFB) Youth Leadership Conference (YLC) comes into play.
For more than 50 years, the program has equipped students with leadership skills and economic knowledge, as well as boosted their confidence with goal-setting activities.
“Our future depends on our youth,” Mia Balko, director of Youth and Urban Outreach for TFB, said. “We have to start cultivating leaders at a young age. YLC is a great avenue for high school students to learn more about themselves and develop leadership skills.”
The weeklong conference, which is set for June 11-15 at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, is for students entering their junior or senior year of high school as of August 2018.
“The program inspires students with the notion that our free enterprise economic system that our founders put in place is still the best system in the world,” Balko said. “The Constitution is key to our freedom, and it should be understood.”
Patriotism, responsibility and strong economics built the country,” Balko noted. YLC expands on those concepts.
The in-depth look at free enterprise, constitutional government, goal setting and leadership helps students travel the road of excellence.
“We want to provide them with the skills needed to make the future better and to be the strongest leaders they can,” Balko said.
To hone those skills, students will work in teams to develop a business plan and present their ideas to the entire conference.
Students will also hear from motivational speakers and participate in breakout sessions on professionalism, public speaking and money management.
“At YLC, the schedule is intense, but students still find time to have fun,” Balko said. “They establish lifelong friendships with other high school students from across the state.”
Students are encouraged to apply online at
Applications are due May 4.
If selected, county Farm Bureaus will cover conference expenses, charter bus transportation and registration for sending students to YLC.
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.
For more information on the conference, visit