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Iowa Farmers Union welcomes new president, vice president

AMES — Iowa Farmers Union members gathered recently at the ISU Memorial Union in Ames for their 98th Annual State Convention, with the theme Growing a New Generation of Family Farm Advocates.

During the convention, IFU members elected a new state president. Whitney Davis of Des Moines will serve a two-year term as the new president of IFU. Out-going state president Chris Petersen of Clear Lake will remain on the IFU Board of Directors as a northeast district representative.

“I am so excited by the opportunities and challenges faced by our organization,” Davis said. “We have such committed and experienced advocates who have accomplished so much for Iowa’s farm families over the years, and we also are welcoming a new generation of young family farmers who bring fresh energy and ideas to our work.”

Davis, who works at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in Des Moines, grew up on her family’s farm in rural Marshall County and currently owns farmland in Marshall and Jasper Counties. 

“The face of family farm agriculture is changing and becoming more diverse. We need to find a way to meet that change, while continuing to build on IFU’s strong history of grassroots advocacy. I look forward to building partnerships within our organization and with other farm and rural advocacy groups that will help IFU to grow and succeed in the coming years.”

The convention elected a new state vice president as well, Thomas Burkhead of Des Moines. Burkhead works as a grower/operator for Grade A Gardens, a 10-acre organic-certified produce farm in Johnston, and also works and manages his family’s century farm near Rockwell City.

Other board members elected by the convention include Dr. Cornelia Flora of Ames, Jerry Peckumn of Jefferson, Mary Krier of Ollie, Jerry Rosman of Harlan and Sally Gran of Nevada, who will serve as the Young & Beginning Farmer Representative on the IFU Board of Directors.

Since 1915, Iowa Farmers Union members have worked together to strengthen the independent family farm through education, legislation and cooperation and to provide Iowans with sustainable production, safe food, a clean environment and healthy communities.