A new president will take the reins for North Dakota Farmers Union. Mark Watne of Jamestown was elected by the membership during the convention November 22-23, 2013. He takes over from Elwood “Woody” Barth who served NDFU since 2011.
Upon the announcement, Watne commented, “I am truly honored to be in this position. It was a long campaign and I’m looking forward to working with the membership, staff and board to make NDFU the best farm organization in the state.”
Watne is no stranger to NDFU. His background includes working at the state office as the staff executive director, agricultural strategist and development specialist for 15 years. He served on the board of directors for six years beginning in 1990 including serving as state treasurer. Watne volunteered as a board chairman for the Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives at North Dakota State University and is currently a board member for First Community Credit Union of Jamestown. He is a self-employed farmer in the Velva, N.D. area but resides in Jamestown with his wife, Michelle, and son, Nick. His other son, Eric, just graduated from the University of North Dakota and is employed at Cavendish Farms in Jamestown. Daughter Meghan is a medical student at the University of North Dakota.
Rhonda Throener of Cogswell, N.D. was also elected to the Board of Directors representing District VII, replacing Ben Vig. Bob Kuylen was re-elected as the vice president. Other board members re-elected included Terry Borstad, District I; Dennis Stromme, District III; and Wes Neiderman, District V.
A total of 688 people registered for the state convention.