Keynote Speaker: Matt Birk
Matt Birk is a former football center who played college football at Harvard. He was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the sixth round of the 1998 NFL Draft. Birk is a two-time All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowl selection. He retired in 2013 after winning the Super Bowl as a member of the Baltimore Ravens.
In 2002, Birk established the HIKE Foundation, which seeks to impact the lives of at-risk children by providing interactive programs and resources needed to guide a child through the key educational transitions between elementary, middle, high school and college. The foundation launched "Ready, Set, Read!" in select Baltimore area public schools in the fall of 2010. The program works with about 100,000 Baltimore students on improving their reading skills through an incentive-based system.
Birk was named the sixth-smartest athlete by the Sporting News in 2010, and in 2011 he received the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his commitment to improving literacy among at-risk youth. He currently works for the National Football League as Director of Football Development, where he strives to grow and develop the pipeline of football people at all levels.
Throughout his football career, Birk faced his fair share of ups and downs. He had to sit out the entire 2005 season due to a hip injury, and thought his career was over long before it actually was. Though Birk says he never let football define himself, the sport taught him a lot of important life lessons, enough to fill a book titled, “All-Pro Wisdom: The 7 Choices that Lead to Greatness.”
In his motivational program, “Leading to Win,” Birk explains how star players can win games, but it’s the bottom of the roster that ultimately win championships. He goes on to deliver the message that good leadership reaches everyone and gets them fully engage in the mission.
National Issues Update
Mary Kay Thatcher
AFBF Senior Director, Congressional Relations
Having worked through seven previous farm bills, Mary Kay knows the opportunities and challenges associated with writing the next one. Get updated on the 2018 Farm Bill’s progress, AFBF priority issues and more.
Farm families deal with stressors such as commodity prices, health care, weather, etc. Thankfully, there are ways to handle stress on the farm. Gather tools and resources to help build rural resiliency.
Economic Challenges Facing Agriculture
Farm Business Management Instructor, Northland Community & Technical College
Betsy shares her struggles with crop marketing and farm management through blogging and a regional magazine column. As both an educator and farmer, she loves numbers, and will keep you entertained while covering the basics of farm management.