December 2021

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Farmer-Led Climate Policy That Works For Farmers

RIPE Welcomes New VP, Development Director

We are thrilled to end 2021 on a high note and look toward an exciting year ahead with the addition of two key members to our leadership team.

Please join us in welcoming Martin R. Barbre as vice president of engagement and government relations and Dr. Donna Main as development director!

Martin is a lifelong farmer who lives in Kentucky and has a robust background leading national and state commodity groups through major policy accomplishments. He is the former president of the National Corn Growers Association and former USDA Risk Management Agency administrator.

In his new role, Martin will help increase farm leader and farm group engagement with RIPE as well as lead the government relations team. Learn more about Martin here.

Donna resides in Massachusetts and joins RIPE with expertise in fundraising backed by deep knowledge of ecological and social sciences. She has raised millions of dollars from foundations and government agencies in support of habitat management, environmental education and land protection. She is eager to help RIPE bring about nationwide policies and practices that marry sustainable, profitable agriculture with broad-scale environmental stewardship.

As RIPE’s development director, Donna will focus on growing the organization by expanding opportunities and relationships with foundations, and cultivating other funding opportunities and partnerships.

Learn more about the RIPE team here.

Farmer-Leader Spotlight

Eunie Biel, vice president, RIPE board of directors and steering committee member

Eunie Biel receives award from MFU president Gary Wertish

During the Minnesota Farmers Union’s 80th annual convention in November, MFU President Gary Wertish (above) presented Eunie Biel with the organization’s Service to Agriculture award. Eunie was recognized for her leadership on local, state and national levels within MFU and the greater agricultural community, including her involvement with RIPE. We at RIPE are thrilled to have Eunie and MFU on our board and steering committee! Learn more about Eunie and her commitment to RIPE below.

Industry and community involvement: Current supervisor of the Fillmore County Soil and Water Conservation District and board member of the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources and the Center for Rural Policy Development. I am also a frequent participant in National Farmers Union Legislative Fly-ins and have served several times on the NFU policy committee.

On the farm: Our family farm, Biel Dairy, consists of 220 cows and young stock and 1,400 acres of corn, soybeans and hay. Four generations of my family work on the farm.

What impact would the RIPE100 plan have on farmers? It would empower farmers and ranchers to be part of the solution; offense vs. defense.

Why did you decide to join the RIPE steering committee? RIPE is working with input from farmers and growers. The program is voluntary without regulations or penalties.

What's your favorite movie or music artist? Hands down, the Beatles. No other artists come close to their innovation and talent.

Learn more about Eunie and other farmer-leaders who guide the RIPE100 policy.

RIPE100: Building policy for all farmers

A key tenant of the RIPE100 policy is that it’s inclusive of farms of all types and sizes and that it brings a diverse group of farmers to the table. Watch as farmers and RIPE steering committee members Brandon Hunnicutt, Kara Boyd and John Boyd Jr., along with RIPE board President Curt Mether, discuss why that’s so important.

RIPE Brings Diverse Groups Together to Benefit All Farmers
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Last month, we met with House and Senate Agriculture Committee staff members of both parties to share and solicit feedback on our recent submission to USDA on how to design a climate-smart agriculture program. All of the offices were impressed with the diverse range of state ag groups involved as a promising indicator of the broad coalition we could develop. One Congressional staffer noted that we are the only ag group in D.C. engaging ag associations in this critical conversation supporting a climate policy framework.

A majority of the offices were interested in exploring the RIPE concept further and learning more about RIPE100. In short, having a broad range of ag associations and growing our network opens doors in Congress for our climate smart agriculture program.

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Farmer Engagement News

RIPE launched the Farmer Advisory Network (FAN) in mid-November! This is a group of farmers and ranchers that are committed to both improving the proposed program as well as mobilizing in support of this work. We had a great first call with some impressive leaders from around the country, and we look forward to convening an increasing number of champions in the months to come!

Are you interested in learning more about how to help advance this policy? Contact Ag Outreach Director Jamie Powers.

RIPE in the Field

Together with our steering committee members and other farmer-leaders, the RIPE outreach team looks forward to connecting with more of the ag community by attending and supporting several upcoming in-person and virtual events. If you plan on being at one of these events, please let us know so that we can connect in person!

Dec. 8-9: Prairie Grains Conference, Grand Forks, ND. North Dakota Grain Growers Association First Vice President Ed Kessel leads planning for the conference, which will be supported by RIPE Ag Outreach Director Jamie Powers as RIPE builds momentum in the north.

Dec. 15-16: Southeast Kansas Soil Health Conference, Iola, KS. RIPE steering committee member Jimmy Emmons leads planning for the conference.

Know someone in your commodity organization who would be interested in the RIPE100 policy? Forward this email!

RIPE in the News

RIPE was recently in the news for adding Minnesota Farmers Union and North Dakota Farmers Union to our steering committee! Read about it at and


Farmers Are Talking About RIPE!

During the launch of the Farmer Advisory Network, farmers shared their views on RIPE.

Stay connected with us on Facebook and Twitter — and be sure to tag us in your posts with #RIPE100 so we can reshare!