September 16, 2015

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
[email protected]

WASHINGTON (September 16, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson welcomed the 11 new participants in NFU’s Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI) to Washington, D.C., noting that the diverse group of students ranged from operations of a half-acre to more than 1800 acres, and include grain, livestock and urban farmers.

“Aging demographics in agriculture is one of our nation’s great challenges, and underscores the importance of programs like BFI,” said Johnson. “This program concentrates on building confidence in beginning farmers and farm couples, and additionally encourages them to learn, and apply leadership abilities to become actively involved in community organizations.”

This is the Institute’s fifth year. BFI participants for the class of 2015/2016 include Kasey Bitz of North Dakota; Kyle Carr, Jacob Fagan and Laura Ginsburg of Montana; Miranda Combs of Kentucky; Theresa Geiger of Colorado; Jean Lam of Oklahoma; Dana Rushovich of Maryland; Joshua Schultz of Michigan; and Lisa Shirek and Any Wallner of Wisconsin.

“BFI underscores our ongoing commitment to growing leaders in the next generation of family agriculture,” said Johnson. “Institute participants will meet several times over the next year to learn about risk management, financial planning, farmer-owned cooperatives and farm management tools.”

During this first session, BFI participants will learn about Farmers Union, public speaking, advocacy, and other agenda items that they develop themselves. The second session in 2015 will be held in Salinas, California.

Johnson noted the Institute’s unique format has increased the level of interest in participating and that NFU was looking for ways to expand the program in the future. “The participants determine the institute’s agenda based on what they have identified as important to their operations,” said Johnson. “NFU is excited to have such a diverse group setting the agenda and learning from one another and from experts from different fields in agriculture.”

The program is sponsored in part by CHS Foundation, Farm Credit, and FUI Foundation.

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.


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