The National Farmers Union (NFU) Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI) reconvened in Salinas, California, on Friday, November 4, for the second of three annual programming sessions. Seventeen beginning farmers and ranchers from across the country attended the two-day, hands-on learning session hosted in partnership with the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA), the Farmer Veteran Coalition, and California FarmLink.

“It’s no easy feat to get started in the business of farming and ranching. Through BFI, beginning farmers and ranchers connect with a variety of experienced producers and industry experts, who share best practices for being successful in agriculture,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “NFU is proud to offer collaborative educational opportunities, like BFI, that help to empower the next generation of family farmers.”

The BFI programming offers hands-on technical training that emphasizes many of the challenges beginning farmers face in their careers, increasing their likelihood to be successful in their operations. The central California session featured presentations on land and capital access, grant writing, marketing, and best production practices from several local farmers and Michael O’Gorman, executive director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition.

Participants also had the opportunity to tour ALBA, Hain Ranch Organics, Pinnacle Organics Ranch, Coke Farm and JSM Organics.

The beginning farmers and ranchers participating in the 2016-17 BFI program are:
Betty J. Anderson, Wisconsin
Jaime Baker, Wisconsin
Brittany Ann Bula, Wisconsin
Layne E. Cozzolino, Wisconsin
Jimmy Dula, Colorado
Tommy Enright, Wisconsin
Caitlin Hladky, Colorado
Justin Loch, Montana
Katie Jantzen, Nebraska
Christy Ottinger, Maryland
De’Quinton Robertson, Iowa
Eric Robert Sannerud, Minnesota
Amanda Schaub, Montana
Ariana Taylor-Stanley, Washington
Josh Stolzenburg, Wisconsin
Zach Teske, Kansas
Daniel Waldvogle, Colorado

The BFI program is made possible through the generous support of CHS Foundation, Farm Credit, Farmers Union Industries Foundation, and the National Farmers Union Foundation. The final program session will be held in San Diego, California, in March 2017.

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.