Marl class VII participants Selected

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PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Contact: Dan Hoffman, MARL Executive Director, 507-421-7167,

MARL Class VII Participants Selected

(Media Note: Class VII member profiles and contact information, organized by county, follow this release.)

Marshall, Minn. - The Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program (MARL) recently completed a state-wide search for thirty (30) participants for MARL Class VII. The process included the candidates completing an application and then interviewing for the opportunity to be in Class VII. The MARL program is a dynamic two-year leadership development experience. The mission of MARL is to develop the skills of Minnesota’s agricultural and rural leaders so they may maximize their impact and effectiveness in local, state, national and international arenas.

“We were glad to see the number and quality of applicants continue to be high,” said Sandy Ludeman, chair of the MARL Board of Directors. “The MARL board had a very difficult task selecting MARL Class VII. It is unfortunate that we don’t have more available positions, allowing us to select all of the qualified applicants. Our best alternative is designating as alternates those who are qualified but weren’t selected. Those applicants would be called upon to fill in if professional or personal issues prevent a selected applicant from participating.”

Successful applicants share two common traits, according to Dan Hoffman, MARL Executive Director. “MARL participants are currently actively involved in leadership roles in their communities and organizations and have the potential for even more success as they take on more leadership roles in the future.”

“The MARL Program experience will provide participants with new skills and broaden their views. The program helps participants improve their performance in their current leadership roles and prepares them for achieving their future goals as quickly as possible. By investing in these individuals, the MARL Program is an investment in rural Minnesota and its agriculture.”

MARL program leader, Mike Liepold, said “The program experience is enhanced by the participants themselves. We put a great deal of energy into making MARL a life-changing educational experience. Participants learn a tremendous amount from each of the MARL seminars and national and international study tours we deliver.” Liepold added, “They also learn a great deal from one another. In looking at the members of Class VII, I'm confident that these individuals will add much to the experience of their fellow classmates.”

MARL participants will travel to nine in-state seminar sites, Washington D.C. and an international destination during the next two years. Each session features a mix of leadership study, personal skill building and location-related subject matter such as communication, agriculture and Minnesota’s future, collective leadership, international culture and politics, community leadership, federal policy and our nation’s future, state legislature, natural resources and the environment, conflict management, international trade, agriculture and policy and current events. Resource personnel from the private and public sector and academia deliver the curriculum.

The MARL Program is a private/public partnership. Southwest Minnesota State University administers the program and the University of Minnesota Extension delivers the curriculum. The program is funded through participant fees, donations and funding partners. The MARL Board of Directors establishes the budget and oversees the direction of the program, operating as an affiliated board of the Southwest Minnesota State University Foundation, a private 501(c)(3) organization.

For more information on the MARL Program, visit

(Media Note: Please do not publish the participant email addresses or phone numbers. Use this information only to contact participants for more details.)

MARL Class VII Participants

Anoka County

Chelsea Russell – Blaine

Agriculture Association Management for BCWN & Associates, Shoreview; National Corn Growers Association, Minnesota Corn Growers Association and local civic and community leader –

Becker County

Andrew Gag – Detroit Lakes

Loan Officer for USDA Rural Development; City of Detroit Lakes Planning Commission Vice Chair, and local civic and community leader –

Blue Earth County

Sam Ziegler – Good Thunder
Director of Marketing Programs for Minnesota Soybean Growers Association/Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council; producer of corn and soybeans, Minnesota Farm Bureau, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, and local civic and community leader –

Chippewa County
Neil Miller – Kerkhoven
Manager of Willmar Poultry Company, producer of turkey poults, corn and soybeans; local civic and community leader –
Clay County
Andrew Martin – Moorhead
Agriculture and Rural Outreach Director for U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar; local civic and community leader –
Dodge County

Rodney Jorgenson – Kasson

Farmer and partner in Jorgenson Partnership, producer of corn and soybeans; Dodge County Corn Growers, Dodge County Soybean Growers, Al-Corn Clean Fuel, Dodge County Farm Bureau, and local civic and community leader –

Janet Kubat Willette – Claremont

Senior Staff Writer for Agri News, producer of corn and soybeans; Minnesota Farm Bureau, Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Corn Growers, and local civic and community leader –

Hennepin County

Anna Claussen – Minneapolis

Landscape Architect; Senior Program Associate for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy; local civic and community leader –

Steve McGinness – Richfield

Dairy Sales Manager – Midwest for Novus International; Dairy Business Association of Wisconsin, Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, and local civic and community leader –

Kandiyohi County

Jared Anez – Willmar

Agricultural Consultant and Agronomist for Anez Consulting; Minnesota Independent Crop Consultants Association, National Pork Board Speaker, University of Minnesota Extension Committee for Kandiyohi County, 4H, Minnesota Pork Producers Association, and local civic and community leader –

Donna Boonstra – Raymond

Interior Designer and President of Custom Interiors and Company, Director for Kandiyohi Power Cooperative, producer of corn, soybeans and buffalo; local civic and community leader –

Lincoln County

Vince Robinson – Lake Benton

Economic and Business Development Consultant for Development Services; Minnesota Association of Professional County Economic Development, and local civic and community leader –

Martin County
Dianne Bettin – Truman
Software Specialist for Easy Automation, producer of hogs, corn and soybeans; National Pork Board, Farm Bureau, Minnesota Pork Board, and local civic and community leader –
Jack Gerhardt – Fairmont
General Manager for Tri County Implement, producer of hogs, corn, soybeans and wind energy; Martin County Pork Producers, Minnesota Pork Producers, and local civic and community leader –
McLeod County

Cheryl Glaeser – Hutchinson

Program Management Officer for Southwest Initiative Foundation, producer of corn and soybeans; Economic Development Association of Minnesota, American Wind Energy Association, International Economic Development Association, and local civic and community leader –

Nicollet County

Randy Wanke – North Mankato

Communications Manager for Pioneer Hi-Bred Northern Business Unit; Minnesota Farm Bureau, Minnesota Soybean Growers, Wisconsin Soybean Growers, Minnesota Agriculture Communicators Roundtable, and local civic and community leader –

Nobles County

Jennifer Andersen-Martinez – Worthington

Human Resources Director for JBS pork processing facility; local civic and community leader –

Olmsted County

Michelle Rossman – Oronoco

Farmer and co-owner of Rossman Farms, producer of corn, beans, cattle and hogs; International Association of Food Protection, Minnesota Corn Growers, Minnesota Cattlemen’s Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Olmsted County Farm Bureau, American Farm Bureau Federation, and local civic and community leader –

Myrna Welter – Stewartville

Farmer and co-owner of Welter Farms, producer of hogs, soybeans, corn and alfalfa; Olmsted County Pork Producers, Farm Bureau, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, and local civic and community leader –

Otter Tail County
Scott Dethlefsen – Fergus Falls
Loan Officer for AgCountry Farm Credit Services; Minnesota Pork Producers, and local civic and community leader –
Greg Wagner – Fergus Falls
Economic Development Planner for West Central Initiative; local civic and community leader –
Polk County
Joan Lee – McIntosh
Owner and partner for Mark & Joan Lee Dairy, producer of organic dairy, conventional wheat and soybeans; East Polk County Farm Bureau, Minnesota Farm Bureau Promotion & Education, and local civic and community leader –
Renville County
Scott Kodet – Morton
Banker and Vice President of Ag/Commercial Lending at HomeTown Bank, producer of corn, soybeans and hogs; local civic and community leader –
Mark Maiers – Stewart

Farmer and producer of corn, soybeans, sweet corn and sweet peas; Minnesota Corn Growers, Minnesota Soybean Growers, Renville County Farm Bureau, Sibley County Farm Bureau, and local civic and community leader –

Gary Wertish – Renville
Vice President of Minnesota Farmers Union, producer of corn, soybeans, navy beans and cattle; Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Rural Finance Authority, Renville County Corn and Soybean Growers, and local civic and community leader –
Rice County

Sarah Betzold – Morristown

Marketing communications coordinator, Pioneer Hi-Bred, and producer – corn, soybeans, canning crops and seed corn; National AgriMarketing Association, Minnesota/Metro Area FFA Alumni, Midwest Dairy Association, and local civic and community leader –

Sibley County
Nelva Lilienthal – Arlington
Farmer and co-owner of Lilienthal Farms, producer of corn, soybeans, hay and beef cattle finishing operation; Corn Growers Association, Soybean Growers Association, Minnesota Cattlemen’s Association, and local civic and community leader –
Kathleen Thies – Arlington
Farmer and owner of Kathleen’s Gardens, producer of corn, soybeans, peas, sweet corn, strawberries, raspberries, winter wheat, garden vegetables and cattle; Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable Growers, Minnesota Grown, Sibley County 4H, Sibley County Corn and Soybean Growers, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, and local civic and community leader –
Swift County
Jedd Wennerberg – Kerkhoven
Banker and Vice President of Financial Services for United Farm Credit Services; Swift County Extension Committee, and local civic and community leader –
Winona County
Glen Groth – Dakota
Farmer and co-owner of Groth Family Farms, producer of dairy, corn, soybeans and alfalfa; Farm Bureau, Minnesota Corn Growers, Winona FFA Alumni, and local civic and community leader –

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