Electing a new president hasn’t happened very often in recent Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) history.
The state organization has only elected three presidents over the last 44 years – Merlyn Lokensgard, Nicollet County (11 years); Al Christopherson, Kandiyohi County (17 years); and Kevin Paap, Blue Earth County (16 years).
So with President Paap announcing he will not seek re-election in November 2021, electing a new president is significant for Minnesota’s largest farm organization.
The election is Nov. 19, 2021, during the MFBF annual meeting, said Karin Schaefer, MFBF executive director.
“The candidates will be elected by the voting delegates from each county or regional Farm Bureau,” she said. “At this time, we are planning and preparing to meet in person for this meeting.”
Any voting member in good standing with their county Farm Bureau and actively engaged in farming can run for a position on the MFBF Board of Directors, including president and vice president.
There is no filing deadline.
Candidates will be nominated on the Voting Delegate floor on Nov. 19.
So far, two candidates, current Vice President Dan Glessing, and District 7 Director Shayne Isane, are running for president.
On the executive board of MFBF, Schaefer, as executive director, serves as secretary, and Dave Johnson, director of operations, serves as treasurer. Both of these are MFBF salaried employees.
The remaining members of the executive board and board of directors are volunteers, but they receive a per diem.
If the current vice president is elected president, the vacant vice president position would open up to a candidate to fill the remainder of the term (1 year).
Vice president candidates will be nominated on the Voting Delegate floor on Nov. 19.
District 3 Director Carolyn Olson, and District 2 Director Bob Roelofs are both running for vice president, should the position be vacated.
Minnesota has not ever had a female vice president or president.
“The vice president will be up for re-election in 2022, regardless of who holds the position,” Schaefer said.
Again, any voting member in good standing with their county Farm Bureau and who is actively engaged in farming is eligible to run for the vice president position. If either the president or vice president position becomes filled by a current district director, that district has to caucus and nominate a new district director to serve in that capacity to fill the current term.
Schaefer said candidates each have their own reasons for running for office, but most important is the ability to make an impact for the industry they are so passionate about.
“This new leader will set the tone for the organization and represent our nearly 30,000 members advocating for Minnesota agriculture and the policy positions set by our grassroots organization,” she said.
If a Farm Bureau member is interested and would like to announce their candidacy, the MFBF office can provide updated contact information for each county Farm Bureau president.
“We have been fortunate to have fabulous leadership under President Kevin Paap for the past 16 years,” Schaefer said. “This is a significant change for any organization and we encourage county Farm Bureaus to vet each candidate. This type of opportunity doesn’t come along all the time.”