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Minnesotan brings home National Farmers Union award

Minnesota Minute: Awards from national conventions and scholarship alert from Minnesota Pork.

April 26, 2024

4 Min Read
Rob Larew and Tim Velde
BRINGING IT HOME: National Farmers Union President Rob Larew (right) presents the Bruce Miller Award to Tim Velde during the NFU annual convention. Courtesy of Minnesota Farmers Union

Tim Velde received the Bruce Miller Award during the 122nd anniversary convention of the National Farmers Union held in March in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The award, named for a former Minnesota Farmers Union staff member, recognizes people who “display a passion for family farming and rural America, while promoting the work of Farmers Union.”

Velde, a Yellow Medicine County farmer, won the award for his longtime work as a county leader, for supporting rural electric cooperatives and for being an advocate for legislation.

“I want to thank MFU for nominating me for this award,” Velde says. “By speaking up for and advocating for farmers and rural Minnesota, I hope I can make a positive difference in the lives of people. With the challenges facing us today and into the future, anything we can do together to move the needle in our favor is what MFU and our co-ops have always done and will continue to do. Working together, we can all make a difference.”

Velde is the president of the Yellow Medicine County Farmers Union, a post he’s held for several years. He’s also represented Minnesota as a delegate at the NFU convention. He serves on the board of Minnesota Valley Cooperative Light and Power, the Minnesota Rural Electric Association and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Last year, Velde championed a piece of legislation that extended the definition of who qualified for a farm driver’s license. The legislation was signed into law. He’s also testified on Right to Repair legislation, establishing a grain indemnity fund and expanding the use of biofuels. He serves on the Farm Service Agency state committee, working to ensure that federal farm bill programs support family farmers. He represents the Minnesota Farmers Union on the boards of the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center and Center for Rural Policy and Development. Velde is also a lay minister.

“Tim’s actions exemplify the three core principles of Farmers Union: legislation, cooperation and education,” says MFU President Gary Wertish. “Tim is a longtime leader in our organization who others look to for sage advice. He has hosted legislators on his farm and opened his books to them to share how their actions impact farmers. He was a featured speaker on a cooperative month webinar. Tim is a great role model for others, and I thank him for his many hours of service to MFU and his community.”

Robertses drive away with achievement award

Dan and Megan Roberts of Blue Earth County finished as the first-place winner in the American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award competition, held during the organization’s convention in January in Salt Lake City.

The Robertses received $35,000 toward a new vehicle from sponsor Ford, and they selected a 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E.

“It has been an honor to represent the state of Minnesota, Blue Earth County and the Minnesota Farm Bureau,” Dan Roberts says. “We are so thankful for the support given to us and hope our story can inspire others to participate in Farm Bureau competitions in the future.”

Megan Roberts adds, “We are very excited to experience our new vehicle, and thank you to Madelia Ford for assisting us throughout this process!”

The achievement award highlights a contestant’s efforts in production farming and leadership achievement. Contestants are evaluated on a combination of their farming operation growth and financial progress of the operation, Farm Bureau leadership, as well as leadership outside of Farm Bureau.

Minnesota Pork Board Scholarship offered

The Minnesota Pork Board is awarding up to five $1,000 scholarships to qualified individuals. Applications are open now until May 15 and can be found on Minnesota Pork’s website.

Young people encouraged to apply must attend two- or four-year institutions and pursue careers in agricultural business, agricultural communications, agricultural education, agricultural engineering, agronomy, animal science, animal physiology, environmental sciences, nutrition, livestock reproduction, large animal veterinary medicine and other related fields. Qualified applicants must have an emphasis in the pork industry.

Applicant qualifications:

  • must be a Minnesota resident

  • must be pursuing an undergraduate degree at a two- or four-year institution studying the above-named areas of interest

  • must be entering the freshman, sophomore, junior or senior year of college

Individuals can only receive one Minnesota Pork scholarship during his or her postsecondary tenure.

Qualified applicants must submit:

  • completed scholarship application form

  • letter indicating his or her intentions for future involvement in pork production or the agricultural industry

  • 750-word-or-less essay on a current or future pork industry challenge and his or her proposed solutions for the issue

  • two letters of recommendatio

  • professional resume

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