The American Farm Bureau Federation has selected a group of 10 young agricultural leaders, including one from Tennessee and another from Virginia, to participate in the fifth class of the Partners in Agricultural Leadership honors program.

Selected to participate in the 2009 program are:

Allen Bonthuis, Michigan; Rose Bradshaw, Virginia; Tiffany Briggs, New Hampshire; Chris Chinn, Missouri; Heath Eisele, New York; Renae Gebhart, South Dakota; Garrick Hall, Utah; Ana Kennedy, Arizona; Ben Moore, Tennessee; and Stacy Thoeny, Minnesota.

“We’re pleased to announce the members of the fifth PAL class and we look forward to the contributions they will make as individuals and collectively to strengthen American agriculture and tell the farmer’s story,” said American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman, a producer from Texas.

The PAL program provides young farmers and ranchers with the opportunity to hone their leadership skills after they have served as AFBF Young Farmer & Rancher Committee members/officers or participated in competitive YF&R events.

“Another benefit of this program is that it often serves as a bridge between YF&R and other agricultural leadership roles,” Stallman said.

Farm Bureau’s PAL program is carried out with support from the Monsanto Company, the Farm Credit Foundation and AFBF. It is designed to strengthen participants’ leadership skills and put their abilities to work for the benefit of agriculture.

By participating in PAL, the young leaders will enrich their skills in problem solving, persuasion and consensus building. At the same time, they will be deepening their knowledge of specific agricultural and public policy issues.

Upon completion of the PAL program, participants will be fully equipped to represent agriculture in the media, on speaking circuits or in legislative activities. PAL graduates serve as “advocates for agriculture,” telling the farmer’s story and promoting awareness on issues important to those in the farm-to-consumer food chain.

State Farm Bureaus nominate applicants for the PAL program. Applicants must be “Sweet 16” finalists in the national YF&R Discussion Meet; top 10 finalists in the YF&R Achievement Award or Excellence in Agriculture Award competitions; former members of the AFBF YF&R committee or former state YF&R committee chairs.

Visit http://www.fb.org/index.php?fuseaction=young.pal for more information on the PAL program.