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Renville County farmers win MFBF Achievement Award

By Janet Kubat Willette

Date Modified: 12/12/2013 12:56 PM

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FRANKLIN, Minn. — Renville County farmers Joe and April Sullivan won the Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award.

The award was presented at the Minnesota Farm Bureau annual meeting on Nov. 23. Achievement Award winners are selected based upon their efforts in agriculture through farm management and leadership achievements as well as effective use of capital in their farming operation.

State winners advance to national competition at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting in San Antonio, Jan. 11-15. They also receive a recognition plaque, $500 from MFBF and a trip to the MFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference in Fargo in January.

Joe said the 14-page application he and April filled out looks at their leadership activities and the progress of their farm.

He started farming in 2000 when he was 20 years old. He now is 32. In those 12 years, he added canning crops and land to his operation. He raises corn, soybeans, sweet corn and peas.

Joe is the Renville County Farm Bureau president and he and April are active in the county corn and soybean growers associations as well as being involved with 4-H and FFA.

He didn't grow up in a Farm Bureau family, instead he got involved after he was invited to go to a Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Conference in Fergus Falls. The conference ignited his interest in the organization.

The nice thing about the Young Farmers and Ranchers program is the opportunity to network with people in the same age group who are likely dealing with the same issues you are, Sullivan said. Participation in the program helped him build a network of people he can call upon to bounce ideas off of.

Sullivan didn't expect to win this year; rather he applied to learn about the process. Instead, he and April have until Dec. 10 to refine their application and submit it for judging for the national meeting. If they make it to the top 10, they will be interviewed in San Antonio.

His brother and sister-in-law, Patrick and Jolynn, won the state award in 2011.