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Local Young Farmers Among Those AFBF Recognized for Leadership Achievement

A group of 10 outstanding young farm and ranch leaders was honored on Saturday by the American Farm Bureau Federation as graduates of the organization’s sixth Partners in Agricultural Leadership class. The young agricultural leaders were recognized during AFBF's Joint National Leadership and Young Farmers & Ranchers Conference in Phoenix, Ariz. PAL is designed to help agricultural leaders accelerate their leadership abilities and solidify their roles as advocates for agriculture.

“Today’s young farmers and ranchers are truly impressive, and this group of PAL graduates represents the very best of the best,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “It’s a pleasure to recognize this outstanding class of young farm and ranch leaders. The young people who completed the program are equipped with the leadership skills they will need to help set the tone for American agriculture and serve their communities. The skills they acquired will help them effectively engage with the customers we serve, as well as provide needed advocacy for our organization on the many issues that touch our lives.”

Graduates of PAL Class 6 are: Rachel Bina of North Dakota; Jonathan Cavin of Virginia; Travis Gebhart of South Dakota; Megan Gravois of Louisiana; Heather Hill of Indiana; Terri Lawton of Massachusetts; Hilary Maricle of Nebraska; Jason Rodgers of South Carolina; Malissa Fritz Schentzel of Minnesota; and Misty Wall of Utah.

To be eligible for the PAL program, applicants must have previously developed leadership skills built through participating in at least one Young Farmers & Ranchers program. This includes AFBF competitive events, Discussion Meet (“Sweet 16” finalist), Achievement Award (top 10 finalist) and Excellence in Agriculture Award (top 10 finalist). Retired members of the AFBF YF&R Committee and retired chairs of state Farm Bureau YF&R Committees also are eligible to apply.

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

The PAL program is sponsored by AFBF, Monsanto and Farm Credit. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.