WASHINGTON – To support the next generation of American agriculture, National Farmers Union (NFU) today announced the eleven participants selected for its eleventh Beginning Farmer Institute (BFI) cohort. Over the course of nine months, attendees will participate in four sessions focused on technical training, mentorship, and leadership development.

Established in 2011, BFI was created to help address concerns about the rapidly aging farm population. According to the most recent Census of Agriculture, farmers older than 65 outnumber those younger than 35 by more than six to one, raising serious questions about who will be operating America’s farms in the coming decades.

“The Beginning Farmer Institute is building the next generation of leaders for Farmers Union and their communities” said NFU President Rob Larew. “It’s no secret that as farmers, we need to set the next generation of farmers up for success. I am immensely proud of our team for putting words into action and building out this program.” 

This scarcity of young and beginning farmers is not due to a lack of interest – rather, it is due to immense barriers to entry, including the difficulty of land acquisition, high upfront costs, and a shortage of educational opportunities.

During the program’s hands-on training sessions, participants will gain practical skills to overcome any hurdles they may face, including business planning, accounting, insurance, and labor management. The program will employ the Farm and Ranch Business Health Assessment, a tool used to help farmers set goals for strengthening their business.

The future of agriculture benefits from strong, vibrant, and diverse farmers and ranchers. It’s our mission to make that future possible. BFI will help us get there.

The farmers selected to participate in the 2023-2024 Beginning Farmer Institute are:

  • Anjelica Lusco (KY)
  • April Marquart (ND)
  • British Griffis (IL)
  • Hannah Alden (WI)
  • Laurel Smith (CO)
  • Lexi Linsenman (MO)
  • Mallaidh Mleziva (WI)
  • Melissa Mahon Stein (WI)
  • Romondo Woods II (MI)
  • Slade Sizemore (PA)
  • Tammy Copenhaver (MT)

NFU Foundation has continued to grow BFI through the generous support of CHS Foundation, Farm Credit, and Farmers Union Industries Foundation. More information about BFI is available here.

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