September 10, 2019

Contact: Hannah Packman, 202-554-1600
[email protected]

WASHINGTON–National Farmers Union’s (NFU) ninth Beginning Farmer Institute (BFI) cohort in Washington, D.C., this week for the first of three learning sessions that will take place during the next year. Twelve beginning farmers and ranchers from a wide variety of demographic, geographic, and agricultural backgrounds, traveled to the nation’s capital for the three-day session.

“The rapidly aging farm population poses a serious challenge to the future of American agriculture,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “BFI addresses that challenge head-on by providing the next generation of family agriculture with the tools and knowledge they will need to run successful operations.”

During this and two subsequent sessions, participants will gain hands-on technical training in the topics covered by the Farm Business Toolbox. Gary Matteson, Farm Credit’s Vice President of Beginning Farmer Programs and Outreach, provided an in-depth overview of business planning and farm credit. Future sessions will feature seminars on business formation, accounting, taxation, labor and contractors, and insurance, led by farmers and other industry experts.

Following their time in the classroom, this year’s BFI class will take part in NFU’s Fall Legislative Fly-In, speaking directly with members of Congress about the issues that are of greatest importance to today’s beginning farmers and ranchers.

“Farmers of all ages and experience levels face some difficulties, but those who are just getting started encounter some unique obstacles, from burdensome student loan debt to difficulties accessing land and credit,” said Johnson. “It’s important that legislators are hearing about those obstacles so that they can work towards policy solutions that make it possible for all aspiring farmers to make a career in agriculture.”

The beginning farmers and ranchers participating in the 2019-20 BFI program are:

  • Rose Bisanz, Michigan
  • Josefina Lara Chavez, California
  • Tucker Dehmlow, Ohio
  • Carissa Elmstrand, Minnesota
  • Jennifer Ghigiarelli, Colorado
  • Miriam Goertzen-Regier, Kansas
  • Ryan Goertzen-Regier, Kansas
  • Tanner Hunt, Washington
  • Sara Beth Johnson, Arkansas
  • Akello Karamoko, Michigan
  • Kyle Minyard, Oklahoma
  • Joseph Ploeckelman, Wisconsin

NFU Foundation has continued to grow the BFI program through the generous support of CHS Foundation, Farm Aid, Farm Credit and Farmers Union Industries Foundation. The next program session will be held in Salinas, California, in early November.


Pictures from BFI’s first session will be available soon on NFU’s Flickr page.

About NFU
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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