Minnesota FSA state committee members named

ST. PAUL – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) congratulates the five individuals named to Minnesota’s USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) state committee.

Those named to the FSA state committee:

Eunice Biel, chairwoman, a dairy and crop farmer from Harmony in Fillmore County;

Tim Velde, a farmer from Granite Falls in Yellow Medicine County;

Hannah Bernhardt, a beginning farmer and young farmer advocate from Finlayson in Pine County;

Kurt Blomgren, a grain and livestock farmer from Butterfield in Watonwan County, and

Lisa Brunner, of Mahnomen in Mahnomen County, is a citizen of the White Earth Ojibwe Nation and is recognized as a leading local, state, national and international policy expert on the topic of violence against Native American and Alaska Native women.

“I offer my congratulations to all the state committee members,” said MFU President Gary Wertish, “but I’m particularly excited to see three Farmers Union leaders on the list. Both Eunie and Hannah were honored as outstanding members at our state convention last fall and Tim is a longtime leader in MFU and the Minnesota Valley Cooperative Light and Power Association.”

Biel and her family operate a 220-cow dairy near Harmony. Three generations of her family work on the farm. Biel is Fillmore County Farmers Union president and vice president of the Rural Investment to Protect our Environment board of directors. She is a Fillmore County Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor and a board member of the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources and Center for Rural Policy Development.

Bernhardt operates Medicine Creek Farm near Finlayson with her husband and son. They raise grass-fed beef and lamb, and pastured pork for direct markets. They also raise livestock guardian dogs and have a Farm Stay agritourism rental. She is the Pine County Farmers Union vice president.

Velde raises corn and soybeans and participates in several Farm Service Agency programs, including the Conservation Reserve Program. He is vice president of the Yellow Medicine County Farmers Union and a former county president. Velde is a rural electric cooperative director and was a delegate to the 120th annual National Farmers Union Convention.

“The FSA state committee members play an integral role in the continuity of operations, equitable and inclusive program administration and ensure the overall integrity of services to the nation’s agricultural producers,” said Marcus Graham, FSA Deputy Administrator for Field Operations.  “These individuals have proven themselves to be leaders, early adopters and key influencers in the agriculture industry.”

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack appoints members of the FSA state committee. Each FSA state committee has three to five members. Committee members are responsible for the oversight of farm programs and county committee operations, resolving program delivery appeals from the agriculture community, maintaining cooperative relations with industry stakeholders, keeping producers informed about FSA programs and operating in a manner consistent with USDA equal opportunity and civil rights policies.

Learn more about the Minnesota Farm Service Agency here.

About Minnesota Farmers Union

Minnesota Farmers Union works to protect and enhance the economic interests and quality of life of family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. MFU is a nonprofit membership-based organization. Membership is open to everyone. Learn more and join at www.mfu.org and follow MFU on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Minnesota Farmers Union—Standing for Agriculture, Working for Farmers (www.mfu.org).