Spring is a time of visioning and growth for farmer leaders across the country, and this season has been especially ripe with hope, anticipation, and hard work for our coalition. Our farm bill campaigns are in full swing, calling for federal policy that will better serve our farmers and community members.
In this spirit of progress, we are very excited to announce that our coalition has two brilliant new leaders ready to guide us toward our bold and strategic goals for the future.
With overwhelming support and enthusiasm, the Young Farmers Board of Directors and staff announce Michelle A. T. Hughes and Katherine Un as the new Co-Executive Directors of the National Young Farmers Coalition!
Katherine (they/she) and Michelle (she/her) are already accomplished leaders and innovators on the Young Farmers team, and share lived experience as working farmers, and a dedication to advancing a brighter and more just future for young and BIPOC growers. Both Michelle and Katherine served on our Leadership Team through our strategic planning process, stewarded our racial equity transformation, strengthened our organizational and legislative partnerships, and built our coalition into the forward-facing, equitable, and powerful movement for the future of agriculture that it is today. Read more about Katherine and Michelle.
Representing our membership and fighting for structural change requires creativity, dedication, and passion. And we know that the responsibility of leadership at mission-based organizations is too often shouldered by one person, despite the breadth of skills required. We have found shared leadership models to be more effective, impactful, and respectful of leaders’ well-being.
“I am thrilled to welcome Michelle Hughes and Katherine Un as our new Co-Executive Directors of the National Young Farmers Coalition,” said Board President Roberto Meza. “Their leadership, dedication, and visionary approach have already proven invaluable to our organization. Together, we are even stronger, and ready to take on the upcoming farm bill. With their expertise and our collective passion, we are poised to amplify our impact at this pivotal moment. I am filled with optimism and confidence, knowing that their strategic vision and unwavering commitment will propel us forward as we champion transformative changes for young farmers nationwide.”
Katherine and Michelle were both instrumental in shaping our 2021-2026 Strategic Plan and are ready to hit the ground running as we continue our campaign for a 2023 Farm Bill that serves the next generation of young and BIPOC farmers.
“I look forward to seeing Michelle and Katherine bring to life the strategic plan they helped shape and ensure an equitable future for young and BIPOC farmers,” said Board Executive Search Committee Chair Gina Nagel.
We are so grateful for all of your feedback, conversation, and guidance in our search process over the past several months. Your participation in this process has been invaluable, and we hope that you are as excited as we are for this next chapter of our organization!
At this moment of growth and transition, we would also like to acknowledge the tremendous leadership of Salima Jones-Daley, who as Interim Executive Director has led our coalition forward with intention, compassion, and agility over the past year, as well as Sophie Ackoff and Martin Lemos, our former Co-Executive Directors, who were instrumental in building our organization up to be as powerful, steady, and impactful as it will be through this transition.
Again, thank you for your participation in this process, and for your ongoing dedication to moving Young Farmers’ mission forward. Now is the moment for all of us to recommit to building a 2023 Farm Bill that answers to the Young Farmers Agenda and addresses the most critical challenges young and BIPOC farmers are up against: land access, climate change, racial inequity, access to capital, and farmer mental health and well-being.