Beginning Farmer Institute holds first session

National Farmers Union’s Beginning Farmer Institute convened recently in Washington, D.C., for the first of three learning sessions that will take place during the next year. Nineteen beginning farmers, representing demographical, geographical and production diversity in agriculture, traveled to the nation’s capital for the two-day session.

“Aging demographics in agriculture is one of our nation’s great challenges, and it underscores the importance of our BFI program,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “BFI builds on Farmers Union’s commitment to developing leaders in the next generation of family agriculture and celebrating the diversity in agriculture production today.”

The first session’s agenda focused on advocacy, marketing and farm credit. Participants also toured local D.C. Greens’ K Street Farm in Washington, D.C., to learn about food access and insecurity.

NFU’s BFI program also 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 2018-19 BFI program are as follows: Deanne Boyer, Pennsylvania; Rachel Brann, Minnesota; Leslie Caccamese, California; Jill Chi, Minnesota; Konnor Dehmlow, Colorado; Danielle Endvick, Wisconsin; Jesse Endvick, Wisconsin; Kat Johnson, Virginia; Amanda Martin, North Dakota; Tyler Neubauer, North Dakota; Christina Pegg, Hawaii; Sarah Rachor, Montana; Elliott Salazar, Colorado; Rebecca Sheahan, Delaware; Sara Stenuf, New York; Dion Stepanski, Michigan; Molly Stepanski, Michigan; Olivia Terry, Colorado; and Jeffrey Werner, Alaska.

The BFI program is made possible 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 2018.