Over 200 Farm Bureau members from across the state attended the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) LEAP Conference, January 31-February 1 in Bemidji at the Sanford Center. The state committees recognized leaders during this conference.

Promotion & Education Awards

The MFBF Promotion & Education (P&E) Committee presented two awards at this year’s conference.

“These awards recognize those who work tirelessly to engage with consumers and share their farm story and agriculture’s story so consumers can gain a better understanding of what we do on our farms to produce food, fiber and renewable fuel,” said Peter Bakken, MFBF P&E Committee chair. “Bruce and Steve’s investment in Promotion & Education strengthen our relationships with consumers and Farm Bureau’s name as a trusted source about agriculture.”

The Golden Apple Award is presented to someone who has gone above and beyond to work with Agriculture in the Classroom programs and worked to educate others around the clock about farming and ranching. This year’s recipient was Steve Kruse of Chisago County who always answers our call to assist with agriculture in the classroom programs and recruits others to help.

“I love agriculture, and I love kids,” said Kruse. “It is always fun to get others involved in sharing agriculture with others so they can see our passion for what we do.”

The Advocate of the Year Award is presented to someone who advocates our profession of farming and ranching. This year’s recipient is Bruce Tiffany of Redwood County. He is dedicated to sharing the story of agriculture with others hosting others on his farm.

Young Farmers & Ranchers Awards

The MFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Committee presented two awards at this year’s conference.

“These awards recognize those who go above and beyond to help continue to build our Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) leadership programs,” said Rachel Connell, MFBF YF&R chair. “The Gundersons and Fran’s investment in YF&Rs strengthen not only the program, but also Farm Bureau as a whole.”

The Golden Pitchfork Award was presented to someone who is not afraid of hard work and heavy lifting. This year’s recipients of the Golden Pitchfork Award went to Mike and Connie Gunderson of Mahnomen County. They were recognized for their willingness to always support the YF&R program. Both served on the MFBF YF&R Committee, and Mike served as chair of the committee and also on the MFBF board of directors.

“We are extremely honored and humbled to be recognized by the YF&R Committee. It is an excellent program which continues to build strong leaders for agriculture and our rural communities,” said the Gundersons.

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. This year’s recipient was Fran Miron. Fran always works to promote the YF&R program at the county and state level, as well as, advocated and worked closely with young farmers.

"Mary Ann and I are honored by the recognition. The Young Farmers and Ranchers represent the critical leadership we need in agriculture and give us the confidence of a promising future,” said Fran.