OAK BROOK, Ill. — Farm Foundation, an accelerator of practical solutions for agriculture, has announced its 2022 Young Farmer Accelerator Program cohort. This annual program seeks to actively engage farmers from 21 to 40 years old in a year-long series of interactive learning and networking experiences, focused on gaining a deeper understanding of a wide variety of agriculture, agribusiness, and government issues. The program also hopes to help young farmers build a strong, enduring network of peers and agribusiness and government contacts.
Young Farmers engage in a variety of activities, including developing working relationships with peers and a senior agribusiness/farmer mentor, attending Farm Foundation Round Table meetings to network and learn from industry leaders, and other unique opportunities for personal and professional development.
“This group of Young Farmers is very diverse in terms of type and scale of operation as well as geography, which will afford them an unparalleled opportunity to share ideas and learn from peers they may not have otherwise met,” says Jenna Wicks, Farm Foundation program manager. “This collaboration and exposure to leaders in the broader industry is an exciting opportunity for all involved.”
The 2022 Young Farmers are:
Brady Brown, Owner/Operator, B&B Brown Farms LLC
Brady Brown is a fourth-generation crop farmer from Michigan, raising 800 acres of corn, soybeans, and sugar beets. He serves on the Michigan Sugar Grower District Board as a director, is past president and board member of his county Farm Bureau, and served on the Michigan Farm Bureau Young Farmer Board.
Michelle Carr, Farm Manager, JO-AR-CA Farms
Michelle Carr is originally from central Illinois where she now helps run her family’s farming operation, JO-AR-CA Farms. In addition to farming, she has worked in the crop insurance industry for twelve years, and currently serves on the Macon County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and the Macon County Farm Bureau Young Leader Committee.
Alicia del Aguila, Owner, Aloha Redland LLC
Alicia del Aguila owns Aloha Redland Farm with her spouse. The women-owned holistic farm implements organic practices, permaculture practices, and regenerative practices to feed the local community. The farm grows seasonal produce and provides CSA membership to 65 members.
Steve Kaufman, Partner, Kaufman Joint Venture
Steve Kaufman returned to his family’s Idaho farm full-time in 2014 as his uncles and father were ready to retire. Prior to this he worked at Northwest Farm Credit Services. He and his brother are now 50/50 partners in Kaufman Joint Venture, farming 6,500 dryland crop acres. Primary crops are winter wheat, spring wheat, peas, garbanzo beans, and canola.
Roberto Ortez, Agricultural Supervisor, Florida Crystals Corporation
Roberto Ortez is a South Florida farmer, working as an agricultural supervisor at Florida Crystals Corporation, one of the state’s leading producers of sugarcane and rice. He is also currently enrolled as a full-time online student at the University of Florida where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in environmental management in agriculture and natural resources.
Zoe Schultz, Farmer, Schultz Farm; Regional Outreach Coordinator, Kansas Corn
Zoe Schultz is actively involved in her family’s fourth-generation row crop farm in Kansas, where they raise corn, soybeans, sorghum, wheat, and sunflowers. In her role with Kansas Corn Growers Association, she focuses on representing other Kansas farmers and industry partners through efforts in advocacy, education, agronomic research, and policy.
Leevi Stump, Manager of Livestock Production and Operations, Greenacres Foundation
Leevi Stump is the manager of livestock production and operations at Greenacres Foundation located in Ohio, where he has worked since 2017. The livestock production team uses humane and low-stress handling techniques to raise grass-fed and finished beef and lamb, woodland raised pork, and pastured poultry that includes laying hens, turkeys, and broilers.
Learn more about the Young Farmers and the Young Farmer Accelerator Program at https://www.farmfoundation.org/programs-overview/young-farmer-accelerator-program.
— Farm Foundation