National Farmers Union’s (NFU) Beginning Farmer Institute (BFI) convened this weekend in Washington, D.C., for the first of three learning sessions that will take place during the next year. Seventeen beginning farmers, representing demographical, geographical and production diversity in agriculture, attended the two-day session.
“A large part of the Beginning Farmer Institute’s success is the collaborative learning experience the program provides. The beginning farmers and ranchers not only learn from Farmers Union and industry experts, but they learn a lot from each other by asking questions and sharing their individual experiences,” said Roger Johnson, president of NFU. “NFU is proud to offer this program that supports beginning farmers and celebrates the diversity in agriculture production today.”
The first session’s agenda was developed by the input of the beginning farmers and focused on advocacy, conservation, and farm credit. In addition, attendees toured local Arcadia Farm in Alexandria, Va., and the USDA Farmers Market in Washington, D.C., to learn about sustainable farming practices and business management.
NFU’s BFI provides beginning farmers and ranchers with hands-on technical training that emphasizes many of the challenges beginning farmers may face in their careers, enabling them to be successful in their operations and in this industry. The beginning farmers and ranchers participating in the 2016-17 BFI program are:
- Betty J. Anderson, Wisconsin
- Jaime Baker, Wisconsin
- Brittany Ann Bula, Wisconsin
- Layne E. Cozzolino, Wisconsin
- Jimmy Dula, Colorado
- Tommy Enright, Wisconsin
- Caitlin Hladky, Colorado
- Justin Loch, Montana
- Katie Jantzen, Nebraska
- Christy Ottinger, Maryland
- De’Quinton Robertson, Iowa
- Eric Robert Sannerud, Minnesota
- Amanda Schaub, Montana
- Ariana Taylor-Stanley, Washington
- Josh Stolzenburg, Wisconsin
- Zach Teske, Kansas
- Daniel Waldvogle, Colorado
The BFI program is made possible through the generous support of CHS Foundation, Farm Credit and Farmers Union Industries Foundation. The next program session will be held in Northern California in early November 2016.
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.