Ten outstanding young farm and ranch leaders have been honored by the American Farm Bureau Federation as graduates of the organization’s eighth Partners in Advocacy Leadership class. The young agricultural leaders were recognized during AFBF’s Advocacy Conference this week. PAL provides advanced training to the organization’s rising stars, with the goal of developing powerful advocates for agriculture and cultivating leaders who can help Farm Bureau advance its policy goals. 

One of those leaders was Jennifer Bergin, who not only serves on the Montana Farm Bureau Board of Directors and is president of Musselshell County Farm Bureau, but is on the American Farm Bureau Promotion & Education Committee. 

“The PAL program made me comfortable with leadership roles and advocacy knowledge,” said Bergin. “It made me a much better speaker and I now have confidence.  I’m a ranch wife. My PAL training made me realize most people never have an opportunity to visit with people like me. Now I can talk about my role on our ranch to elected officials, the media and others, telling my story and making an impact.” 

Bergin believes the best part of PAL was working with others in the class. “We all came from different backgrounds in agriculture. I feel more well-rounded when talking about ag issues, and I have nine other resources to use for information. I strongly recommend other farmers or ranchers who are eligible, apply for PAL. It’s a huge time commitment, but it’s worth every second.” 

“I am proud of the work that PAL graduates put into this program,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said. “They understand that farmers and ranchers need to keep telling our stories if we want to be at the heart of shaping policies that affect our farms and our nation’s food security.” 

Graduates of PAL Class 8 are: Jeremy Barron, Indiana; Jennifer Bergin, Montana; Emily Buck, Ohio; Cameron Edwards, Kentucky; Brian Marshall, Missouri; Chris Pollack, Wisconsin; Terisha Driggs McKeighen, Arizona; Derek Sawyer, Kansas; and Julie White, Mississippi. 

PAL training involves four learning modules designed to develop specific leadership skills while exploring components of leadership and its theories and philosophies. The modules build on one another over the two years of the program and include intense, in-person, hands-on training. 

The PAL program is sponsored by AFBF, Farm Credit and Monsanto Company.

 AFBF is accepting online nominations from state Farm Bureaus for the organization’s next PAL class through March 3. To be eligible for the PAL program, applicants must be between the ages of 30 and 45, with demonstrated leadership skills. Learn more at http://www.fb.org/programs/pal-partners-in-agricultural-leadership .