Annual chamber Agriculture Luncheon next week

Published 3:26 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2023

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The Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce Agricultural Committee announced this week that the annual Agriculture Luncheon is scheduled for noon Tuesday at Wedgewood Cove Golf Club.

The annual Agricultural Luncheon has been a tradition for over 40 years, and as part of this annual meeting, the Agriculture Committee selects and recognizes the Freeborn County Farm Family of the Year and Farm Families of years past.

To be nominated, the Farm Family must be Minnesota food producers actively involved in agricultural production with one or more agricultural enterprises or have made significant short-term progress and/or innovative contributions with their agricultural endeavors. Winners are selected based on their commitment to enhancing and supporting the fields of agriculture and production and their involvement in their communities and/or related organizations.

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This year’s event will also feature guest speaker Julie Tesch. Tesch is an experienced nonprofit executive specializing in agriculture, education and rural development. She has extensive experience in program development, fundraising, relationship building and organization management. She has served on both the American Farm Bureau Federation and National FFA management teams. She currently serves as the president and CEO of the Center for Rural Policy & Development.

At the center, Tesch is the chief relationship builder, manages a board of 19 members, oversees the overall management of the center, and is the pied piper of living in rural Minnesota.

During her time with the American Farm Bureau Foundation, she oversaw all of the foundation fundraising and educational work, serving as the main face of the organization to Farm Bureau constituencies and corporate partners. Under her leadership, fundraising income increased 14% and the foundation became highly regarded as a trusted partner in agricultural education and literacy.

Previously, Tesch served as the executive director of the National FFA Alumni Association in Indianapolis and also served as executive director of the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council (MAELC) in St. Paul. She also served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota, teaching classes on agricultural policy and international agriculture.

A native of Waldorf, she received both her master’s degree in education and her Bachelor of Science degree in applied economics from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

She was a Hubert H. Humphrey Policy Fellow in 2005-06. Tesch has also studied agriculture in both Russia and Switzerland.

Tesch started her career as an Extension educator for 4-H youth development in Minnesota. As a volunteer, she devotes much of her time to FFA and 4-H activities along with serving as a board member of the MN FFA Foundation. She is also an advocate and volunteer for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, along with a member of the RAINN Speakers Bureau to advocate for sexual assault survivors.

Tickets are limited and may be purchased at the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce, 132 N. Broadway Ave. in Albert Lea. For more information call the chamber at 507-373-3938.