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Three-panel graphic showing farmers depicted by people of varying ethnicities who are not traditionally represented in agriculture.

History and Purpose

The Emerging Farmers' Working Group was created in the 2020 Legislative Session.

The purpose of the working group is:

"To advise the commissioner and legislature regarding the development and implementation of programs and initiatives that support emerging farmers in this state, the commissioner must periodically convene a working group consisting, to the extent possible, of persons who are, and organizations that represent, farmers or aspiring farmers who are women, veterans, persons with disabilities, American Indian or Alaskan Natives, members of a community of color, young, and urban, and any other emerging farmers as determined by the commissioner. No later than January 15 each year, the commissioner must update the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative committees and divisions with jurisdiction over agriculture regarding the working group's activities and recommendations.”


  • Ngozi Akubuike, Ramsey County
  • Marcus Carpenter, Hennepin County
  • Nikki Crowe, St. Louis County
  • Alexandra Diemer, Hennepin County
  • Gigi DiGiacomo, Hennepin County
  • Catherine Fleming, Hennepin County
  • Cindy Hale, St. Louis County
  • Kiersten Hansen, Brown County
  • Kelsey Love Zaavedra, Chisago County
  • Rev. Dr. Maren McDonell, PhD, Carver County
  • Caliton Ntahompagaze, Clay County
  • Ian Oundo, Anoka County
  • Lisa Schutz, Olmstead County
  • Taran Skwira, Morrison County
  • Relyndis Tegomoh, Ramsey County
  • Friendly Vang-Johnson, Hennepin County
  • Celeste VerHelst, Hennepin County
  • Jane Windsperger, Kanabec County

Facilitator: Michael Birchard,


Schedule (All virtual meetings through Microsoft Teams)

ALL meetings will begin at 1 p.m. and adjourn at 3 p.m.

Year 5

  • October 11, 2024