March 15, 2016/

Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives Search Identifies Top Agricultural and Rural Leaders

WASHINGTON – Farm Credit today announced the top honorees of the Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives program, a nationwide search to identify and honor 100 leaders who are changing rural communities and agriculture for the better. The top 100 honorees are being recognized for their exceptional contributions to their communities, and were announced at a National Ag Day event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

“Farm Credit has supported rural communities and agriculture for 100 years, and we understand the vision and commitment it takes to remain successful as rural America evolves and changes,” said Todd Van Hoose, president and chief executive officer of the Farm Credit Council. “The Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives honorees are inspiring examples of leaders who are creating a brighter, more vibrant future for rural America.”

The Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives program is the cornerstone of Farm Credit’s 100th anniversary of supporting rural communities and agriculture. The search took place between July and December 2015, and netted more than 1,000 nominations from all 50 states. Selected by a panel of experts on rural matters, including Farm Credit leaders and others from around the agriculture industry, the top 100 honorees represent the very best of those positively shaping what is next for rural communities and agriculture.

One such leader is Laos native Maykia Xiong, an IT professional and North Carolina poultry farmer, who helps fellow Hmong producers with limited English skills access important USDA programs. Recognized in the Mentoring and Volunteerism category, Xiong said, “Through my struggles and hardship with financial institutions, integrators and government programs, I want to make resources available to assist Hmong-American farmers in all aspects of their farming needs.”

A dedication to helping others is a strong theme across the Fresh Perspectives honorees. Marc Breslaw represents the NRECA International Foundation, a branch of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) that represents 900 consumer-owned electric cooperatives in America. These co-ops bring electricity to more than 2,500 of America’s counties, including the most rural. NRECA International does the same for communities in underdeveloped countries. Breslaw says, “We recognize the transformative impact that access to power has on people, and we’ve worked to bring electricity to rural communities in 42 nations around the world.”

Honoree Addy Battel, demonstrates that a strong commitment to making a difference can start young – in Cass City, Mich., she is already a driving force in her community. She helped start a junior high FFA chapter and a 4-H club, serving as president for both, and has been instrumental in starting a hunger relief project, a dairy education clinic, and her own maple syrup and meat businesses. Just 13 years old, Battel is a student, volunteer, mentor and advocate for agriculture, and is already focused on the future. “I believe the future of agriculture depends on our future generations, the agriculturalists like my friends and me who are still young. But we don’t need to wait to make a difference. Even if we can’t vote or drive, we are agvocates and we can educate and create a better future now.”

The Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives selection panelists evaluated nominations of individuals and groups who demonstrate influence, leadership and innovation in the following categories:

  • Agriculture Education and
  • Community Impact
  • Beginning Farmer or Rancher Achievement
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Financial Stewardship
  • Leadership (21 and up)
  • Mentoring and Volunteerism
  • Rural Policy Influence
  • Rural and Urban Connection
  • Sustainability and Natural Resources
  • Youth Leadership (under 21)

“It was truly inspiring to learn more about individuals and organizations dedicated to making a meaningful difference every day,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, President and CEO, National 4-H Council, Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives selection panelist, and moderator of the Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives honoree panel. “After reviewing the nominations of so many exceptional leaders, I am proud to say the future of rural communities and agriculture is remarkably bright.”

The top 10 honorees — one from each nomination category — will receive a $10,000 award to help further their contributions to thriving rural communities and agriculture, and be recognized in Washington, D.C. at a special Farm Credit 100 event in June.

A complete list of Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives honorees is included below. To learn more about the Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives honorees, visit

About Farm Credit
Farm Credit supports rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services, today and tomorrow. Farm Credit has been fulfilling its mission of helping rural America grow and thrive for a century by providing farmers with the capital they need to make their businesses successful and by financing vital infrastructure and communication services. For more information about Farm Credit please visit

Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives Honorees

Joshua Eilers, Austin, TX
Beginning Farmer or Rancher
Grand Prize Honoree

Trevor Hoff, New Windsor, MD
Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Grand Prize Honoree

Christine Fesko, Skaneateles, NY
Agriculture Education and Community Impact
Grand Prize Honoree

Effie Kokrine FFA, Fairbanks, AK
Youth Leadership (under 21)
Grand Prize Honoree

California FarmLink, Santa Cruz, CA
Financial Stewardship
Grand Prize Honoree

Penny Lauritzen, Lanark, IL
Mentoring and Volunteerism
Grand Prize Honoree

Barry Flinchbaugh, Manhattan, KS
Rural Policy Influence
Grand Prize Honoree

Kelly Mosley, Green Cove Springs, FL
Rural and Urban Connection
Grand Prize Honoree

James Harrison, Lincoln, MA
Sustainability and Natural Resources
Grand Prize Honoree

Russell Redding, Harrisburg, PA
Leadership (21 and up)
Grand Prize Honoree

Aaron Alejandro, Austin, TX

Matt Meals, Newville, PA

Art Barnaby, Manhattan, KS

Melissa Mellinger, Strasburg, PA

Addy Battel, Cass City, MI

Jay and Colleen Meyer, Stevensville, MT

Scott Biggs, Oklahoma City, OK

Adam Montri, Bath, MI

Kenny Bounds, Laurel, DE

NC Choices – Women Working in the Meat Business Program, Raleigh, NC

Caleb Brannon, Puryear, TN

Joe Newton, Yuma, CO

Erin Brenneman, Washington, IA

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) International Foundation, Arlington, VA

Dr. A. Blake Brown, Boone, NC

Michael O’Gorman, Davis, CA

Alex Bryan, Lansing, MI

Odessa Oldham, Lander, WY

Emily Buck, Gallatin, TN

Carly Olufs, Petaluma, CA

Troy Buck, Alpine, AR

Fernand “Chip” Paillex, Pittstown, NJ

Henry Byma, Wantage, NJ

Vernon Peterson, Kingsburg, CA

Levi Cahan, Whitehall, NY

Paulette Pyle, Albany, OR

Aislynn Campbell, Corpus Christi, TX

Red Hills Small Farm Alliance, Tallahassee, FL

CHS, Inver Grove Heights, MN

Dale-Ila Riggs, Stephentown, NY

Kurtis Charling, Oakland, NE

Nancy Robbins, Sackets Harbor, NY

Jacob Chisholm, Gary, MN

Russell and Marilyn Rosenboom, Clifton, IL

Travis Choat, Terry, MT

Anthony Schultz and Katrina Becker, Athens, WI

Erick Coolidge, Wellsboro, PA

Scott Farms, Lucama, NC

Charles Currie, Raynham, MA

Seneca FFA Chapter, Louisville, KY

Wayne Davis, Brandon, FL

Neil Shore, Boonville, NC

Jerry Doan, McKenzie, ND

Katherine Sims, Newport, VT

James “Jimmy” Dodson, Robstown, TX

Riley Slivka, Winifred, MT

Robert Easter, Mahomet, IL

Carley Snider, Moscow, OH

Robert Elliott, Louisburg, NC

David Specht, Basin City, WA

Michael James Faison, Hopewell, VA

Joshua Steward, Harrington, WA

Farm Alliance of Baltimore, Baltimore, MD

Kurt Stiefvater, Salem, SD

Farm to Family, Mansfield, OH

Scott Stone, Centralia, MO

Lon Frahm, Colby, KS

Jessica Tekippe, Fort Atkinson, IA

Alyssa Garner and Kirsten Kapraun, Maroa, IL

Mark Thompson, Fresno, CA

Courtney Gerstenecker, Carlyle, IL

Joe Tomandl III, Medford, WI

Bernard Geschke, Papillion, NE

Valley Small Business Development Corporation, Fresno, CA

Frank Gifford, Mount Olivet, KY

Steve Verett, Lubbock, TX

Beckie Gurley, Sparks, MD

Senator Elder Vogel, Jr., Rochester, PA

Pakou Hang, St. Paul, MN

Rick Waitley, Meridian, ID

Hattie Henderson, New Florence, PA

T. Leland Walker, Red Oak, OK

Jim Hyland, Kingston, NY

William Walker, Olin, NC

Zachary Ilbery, Checotah, OK

Women Changing the Face of Agriculture Planning Committee, Lanark, IL

Ann Karlen, Philadelphia, PA

Stephanie “Stevie” Whalen, Kunia, HI

Diane and Roger King, Holmen, WI

Scott Williams, Oregon, IL

Kiera Leddy, Stockholm, SD

Terry Woodbury, Leoti, KS

Lilac Hedge Farm, LLC, Berlin, MA

Maykia Xiong, Carthage, NC

Bill Lipinski, Enfield, CT

Justin Zahradka, Lawton, ND

John Lombardi, Jr., Waterford, CT

Amanda Zaluckyj, Coloma, MI

Angela Mason, Glencoe, IL

Jessica Ziehm, Greenwich, NY


Margaret Fogarty

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