MFU members Brann, Chi selected for NFU Beginning Farmer Institute
July 18, 2018
National Farmers Union (NFU) recently announced 20 beginning farmers and ranchers from across the United States to take part in the 2018-19 Beginning Farmer Institute (BFI) program. The Institute empowers America’s next generation of farmers by providing mentorship, technical training and leadership development to its participants.
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) will be represented in the program by Rachel Brann, a flower farmer in Milaca, Minn.; and Jill Chi, a beef farmer in Annandale, Minn.
“I am pleased that Rachel and Jill will be part of the next BFI class,” said MFU President Gary Wertish. “As an organization, we’re striving to help the next generation of farmers grow and shape the future of agriculture. BFI is a major part of that work and makes Farmers Union stronger.”
Brann farms at Pluck Flower Farm and is an MFU member for Mille Lacs County.
“I was motivated to apply to BFI for a lot of reasons,” Brann said. “It’s a great opportunity to connect with other beginning farmers across the country, who I can learn from and be inspired and supported by as I continue to grow my farm. The program will also push me to strengthen my leadership skills and help me become a better advocate, for the benefit of my farm and my community. I’m really honored to be accepted into the program and am looking forward to learning and growing in BFI.”
Chi farms at Bevara Farms and is an MFU member for Stearns County.
“I believe BFI will be an invaluable learning opportunity,” Chi said. “I would be nowhere today without the assistance of knowledgeable farmers who have helped me navigate the trials of farming. I am thrilled at the prospect of learning more from new and established farmers around the country. I admire NFU’s commitment to practical farming education, farm business education and farm policy education. I know the program will provide me and my new cohorts with a well-rounded curriculum and vital knowledge that I can share with my community.”
Through sessions in Washington, D.C., California, and Washington state, the program’s hands-on training will emphasize the challenges beginning farmers face in their careers, such as business planning, access to capital, land acquisition, marketing and more.
Agriculture diversity continues to be a focus of the BFI program. Participants in the 2018-19 class come from operations ranging from 2-acre farms to large grain operations. Additionally, women and veterans have been some of the most active participants in the program’s history, representing more than 60 percent of the 96 beginning farmers who have completed the program and 14 of the 20 participants announced for this year.
The 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. More information about BFI is available at https://nfu.org/education/beginning-farmer-institute/.
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