The Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) recognized four leaders from across the state for their contributions to the organization and agriculture at its annual Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Promotion (LEAP) Conference, held Jan. 27-28 in Hinckley. 

The P&E Committee presented the Advocate of the Year Award to Paula Mohr of Anoka County and the Golden Apple Award to Tiffany Kobbermann of Pope County.

The Advocate of the Year Award is presented to someone who works tirelessly to advocate for farmers and ranchers. An agriculture advocate to her core, Mohr devoted her career to telling stories that were of interest to Minnesota farmers and ranchers. Outside of her professional life, she continually promotes agriculture through her involvement in organizations such as MARL and Farm Bureau. She recently retired after serving 18 years as editor of The Farmer magazine.

The Golden Apple Award is presented to someone who has gone above and beyond to work with Agriculture in the Classroom programs and educate others about farming and ranching. Kobbermann is passionate about Ag in the Classroom programs on every level, whether it is her work in her classroom or telling the story of agriculture through Farm Bureau. She was recently recognized by Minnesota Ag in the Classroom and National Ag in the Classroom as an outstanding educator.

The YF&R committee presented its Golden Pitchfork Award to Kent Thiesse of Blue Earth County, while the Outstanding Friend of YF&R went to Robin Kinney of Hennepin County.

The Golden Pitchfork Award is presented to someone who is not afraid of hard work and heavy lifting. Thiesse has excelled in helping young farmers and ranchers succeed over his throughout 40-year career. Over the past few years, he has taken the time to assist with the Farm Bureau Achievement Award contest at the state and national level, helping competitors showcase their opportunities and accomplishments.

The Outstanding Friend of YF&R is presented to someone who has gone above the call of duty to assist and lead YF&R into the future. Kinney has worked hard at promoting the YF&R program at the county, state, and national levels. She enjoys working closely with young farmers and is a constant advocate, always sharing the value of Farm Bureau and the Young Farmers & Ranchers program. Kinney has served Farm Bureau through many roles and has encouraged many leaders from the Young Farmers & Ranchers program into further leadership roles both within and outside of the organization.

The annual LEAP Conference is designed to provide leadership and advocacy training for all MFBF members and is hosted by the P&E and YF&R Committees. Over 240 members attended the conference this year to take part in workshops, special sessions, and networking with fellow members from around the state.