2017 FUSION Conference

February 10-13, 2017 | Pittsburgh, PA

Credit: Danny Navarro | CC BY-SA 2.0 

Mark Your Calendar

Mark your calendars now for the AFBF 2017 FUSION Conference. The FUSION (Farmers United: Skills, Inspiration, Outreach and Networking) Conference! There will be great speakers, breakout sessions and evening events to bring together volunteer leaders from the Promotion & Education, Women's Leadership and Young Farmers & Ranchers programs.

Conference Highlights

FUSION provides value for people of all ages with a variety of different activities including:

  • Local tours in Pennsylvania and Ohio
  • Collegiate Discussion Meet
  • Hands on Learning Sessions
  • Evening Entertainment

Breakout sessions with emphasis in:

  • Advocacy
  • Business
  • Collegiate and professional development
  • Communication
  • Education
  • Leadership
  • Rural Development and Entrepreneurship
  • Technology
  • And so much more!

Grand Finale Event: Heinz Field

The Monday Grand Finale event will be held at Heinz Field! The stadium brings in millions of fans throughout the year to wave “terrible towels” and cheer on the six-time Super Bowl Champions, the Pittsburgh Steelers.  

Keynote Speakers

Chris Koch
Inspirational Speaker


Chris was born in Lethbridge, Alberta and raised in the small farming and ranching community of Nanton, Alberta. It was clearly established early on in his life that he would not be raised with pity or sympathy. His family could have treated his disability like a total tragedy but instead chose to take it all in stride and make the best of the situation. After all, he still had a good head on his shoulders… and with that, anything is possible.

He absolutely loves sharing his story and spreading his message of, “If I Can…”

His life has been a fun ride with a lot of laughs and he makes sure that his presentation reflects that. He has not let limitations or obstacles in his life stand in the way of achieving his goals and dreams and he encourages others to do the same. Furthermore, he is constantly setting new goals for himself and he thinks it's important for everyone to always be challenging themselves as well. Simply put, if he can do the things he has done so far in my life, what is stopping anyone else from doing the same?

Rocky Bleier
Former Pittsburgh Steelers player and Vietnam veteran


Rocky Bleier, a former Pittsburgh Steelers player and veteran will be the keynote speaker on Sunday February 12The hard lessons Rocky Bleier learned early in life helped him to overcome adversity and reach his goals both on and off the football field…a message that is both timely and relevant in today’s business environment.

Rocky Bleier played football at the University of Notre Dame. With a National Championship under his belt and captain of the team his senior year he was a good but not necessarily a gifted athlete. He was not picked in the NFL draft until the later rounds, and somehow made the Pittsburgh Steelers team. Toward the end of his rookie season, he was drafted again, this time by the United States Army and sent to Viet Nam like thousands of other young men. When his platoon ran into an ambush, he suffered severe rifle and grenade wounds that damaged his legs and feet.

Doctors were certain that Rocky Bleier could never play football again, but Rocky had a positive attitude. Believing in himself, he overcame his injuries through a relentless therapy program, he rejoined the Steelers and went on to star in the NFL. After 12 seasons and 4 Super Bowls, he retired from football and today applies his experiences and attitudes toward meeting challenges and achieving goals in today’s business.

Dr. Charles Petty
Work / Life Balance Humorist


Dr. Petty was reared on a cotton, rice and soybean farm in Arkansas and was educated in Mississippi, Arkansas and Texas for 22 consecutive years, which means he is either well educated or a little slow!  Both of his grandfathers and his father were farmers. Charles is married and has two, grown children, six grandchildren and a grand dog. Charles worked for large corporations in Texas and

North Carolina, on the North Carolina governor’s senior staff, and since 1985, about all he does is “eat and speak.” 

Dr. Petty is a work/life balance humorist, speaking to the agri-industry, businesses, trade associations, Chambers of Commerce, volunteer and civic organizations, as well as to teachers and educators.

Demand for his humor and insight is national and international.  He has spoken to over 3600 different clients in 50 states and 15 foreign countries, and has been inducted into the National Speakers Hall of Fame.

For More Information

Contact: fusion@fb.org

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