National Farmers Union

NFU Beginning Farmer Institute Studies Cooperatives


Source: National Farmers Union

Washington -- National Farmers Union (NFU) Beginning Farmer Institute (BFI) participants are in Minneapolis this week to take a closer look at the value of cooperative businesses, tour a family dairy farm, and consider legal issues and bookkeeping requirements that are critical to success.

“As diverse as production agriculture can be, farmers and ranchers all share similar challenges,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “The answers can come from others who have unique experiences and points of view. This is why the Beginning Farmer Institute is so important. The participants not only learn from experienced speakers, they learn from each other.'

The agenda of activities is packed, from meeting with an attorney whose background is rich with generational farm issues, to quizzing a former USDA expert who will review bookkeeping and tax record requirements. William Nelson, president of the CHS Foundation, will highlight how cooperative businesses can be a great asset for beginning farmers.

For the first time, the BFI participants will tour a farm that belongs to one of the group. Eric Hoese's family dairy farm located is just outside of the Twin Cities. The farm visit is one of several tours planned. The group will also hear how Minnesota Farmers Union has turned its program 'Minnesota Cooks' into a popular event that represents the best homegrown foods from around the state.

BFI participants include Shannan Tenze of Colorado; Maggie Mills and Janean Romines of Maryland; Eric Hoese, Carsten Thomas, Brent Krohn and Bryce Krohn, of Minnesota; Paul Kanning of Montana; Josh Norby, James Hansen and Loretta Hansen of North Dakota; and Jennifer Gibson of Wisconsin.

The selected individuals from across the nation range from cattle ranchers and grain farmers to those growing for farmers markets to urban farmers. The institute is a yearlong program and is sponsored in part by Farm Credit, CHS Foundation, FUI Foundation and the NFU Foundation. BFI participants attended their first meeting earlier this year in Washington, D.C., where they focused on financial, marketing, public speaking and planning skills.

More information can be found at  

Contact: Melisa Augusto, 202-31-43191

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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