- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—Farm Credit has kicked off a nationwide search to identify and honor 100 leaders who are changing the future of rural communities and agriculture for the better.

“We’re encouraging anyone who has made important contributions to the agriculture industry to apply; whether you’re a producer, or a teacher, or even a chef highlighting locally grown food,” said Sandy Wieber, MidAtlantic Farm Credit’s senior vice president of marketing.

According to Wieber, Farm Credit is an agricultural lending cooperative owned by its member¿borrowers. It provides farm loans for land, equipment, livestock and production; crop insurance; and rural home mortgages. The cooperative is celebrating its 100th anniversary by recognizing innovative ag leaders.

Wieber said Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives honorees will have the opportunity to share their stories, inspire with their vision and demonstrate their leadership through promotional opportunities. Ten distinguished Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives honorees — one from each nomination category — will receive a $10,000 cash prize to help further their contributions to thriving rural communities and agriculture. These 10 honorees and a guest also will be invited to Washington, D.C., to participate in a special Farm Credit recognition event in 2016.

“Those selected to win the Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives search will be able to showcase their passion and talent for agriculture on the national stage,” said Wieber. “Being on the national committee that organized this search makes me very excited for those chosen to be given this rare opportunity.”

Wieber said anyone can nominate a deserving individual for the Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives honor. Farmers and ranchers, as well as individuals who represent other agribusinesses, cooperatives, academic institutions, government agencies, community and non-government organizations, are encouraged to apply.

“We work closely with many talented and committed individuals across our (MidAtlantic Farm Credit) five-state territory, and we encourage each of them to apply for the Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives search,” said Wieber.

Nomination categories include: Mentoring and Volunteerism, Rural and Urban Connection, Agriculture Education and Community Impact, Beginning Farmer or Rancher Achievement, Sustainability and Natural Resource, Financial Stewardship, Leadership (21 and up), Rural Policy Influence, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Youth Leadership (under 21).

“For example, the rural and urban connection category would encompass people who are doing community projects, chefs or people who participate in farmers’ markets in a more urban location,” Wieber said.

Wieber said a panel of experts on rural matters, including Farm Credit leaders and representatives from around the agriculture industry, will evaluate and select the top 100 honorees. Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives honorees will be announced in March 2016.

Nominations for the Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives search will be accepted until Dec. 18.

[email protected]

410-857-7873

twitter.com/MichelElben

Nomination information and additional details about Farm Credit’s centennial celebration are available at mafc.com/fc100.php.

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