Board of DirectorsA passionate group of farmers and ranchers
[read more=”READ MORE” less=”CLOSE”] Mark Watne”]Mark Watne was elected as the ninth president of North Dakota Farmers Union in November 2013. In his capacity, he serves as president of Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Company and Farmers Union Service Association, all headquartered in Jamestown. Mark has a long history of Farmers Union involvement, first as a youth and young producer farming at Velva. In 1990, he was elected to the NDFU State Board of Directors. He served for six years, and was also state treasurer. In 1996, he began a 15-year-career in Jamestown at the Farmers Union headquarters as a development specialist, agricultural strategist and staff executive director. He has led the development of the organization’s farmer-owned restaurants and other innovative ideas. Mark has been a board chairman for the Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives, located at North Dakota State University, and is currently a board member for First Community Credit Union, Jamestown. He continues to farm but resides in Jamestown with his wife, Michelle. They have three grown children – Eric, Meghan and Nick.[/read]
The North Dakota Farmers Union State Board of Directors is made up of the president, vice president and one director from each of seven districts throughout the state. Directors representing even-numbered districts are elected in even years and directors representing odd-numbered districts are elected in odd years.
[read more=”READ MORE” less=”CLOSE”]Bob Kuylen, South Heart, was elected as NDFU vice president in November 2011. He also serves as vice president of Farmers Union Insurance. Kuylen served as NDFU District 4 Director from 2004-2011. He has been active in Farmers Union at the local, county, state, and national levels, participating in legislative fly-ins to Washington, DC, and serving on the policy committees of both North Dakota and National Farmers Union. Since 2012, he has served on the Farmers Union Industries board and is currently the chairman. He and his family received the honor of NDFU Farm Family of the Year in 1999. Kuylen has been on the Stark County Board of Directors since 1997, and served as president from 2000-2013. He is the secretary of the Creative Energy Board of Directors. He has been a volunteer firefighter since 1980, serving 10 years as fire chief and was an instructor of hazardous materials for the State Fire Marshal’s Office. He was awarded an Honorary FFA membership. His leadership and concern for community is reflected in his involvement in school, church, city, and co-op activities. He and his wife Brenda have a farm and ranch operation near South Heart. The Kuylens raise cattle, wheat, oats, barley, safflower, mustard and sunflowers.[/read]
State Treasurer - District 1
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Terry Borstad of Devils Lake represents Benson, Cavalier, Grand Forks, Nelson, Pembina, Ramsey, Towner and Walsh Counties
Borstad was elected District 1 Director in December 2001. He currently serves as NDFU’s state treasurer. Borstad has been farming in Benson and Ramsey counties for more than 40 years, growing small grains and oilseeds. A portion of his acreage is devoted to seed production. He is a past president of the Ramsey County Farmers Union Board and has served on many Farmers Union committees. Borstad has been a delegate to the National Farmers Union convention and has participated in numerous Washington, DC, legislative fly-ins. He served as the chairman of the Devils Lake Farmers Union Oil Company, North Dakota Co-op Directors Association as treasurer, and Dakota Pride Cooperative, where he still is active on the board. Borstad has traveled to Japan, South Korea, China, Denmark and Germany to promote and secure markets for North Dakota commodities. He has served on the Starkweather School Board and held many offices in his local church. He holds a B.S. degree in Animal Science from NDSU. He is a former high school vo-ag instructor, FFA advisor and college instructor at Lake Region State College where he taught agribusiness. He and his wife Mary reside in Devils Lake.
District 2 Director
[read more=”READ MORE” less=”CLOSE”]Ryan Taylor of Towner represents Bottineau, McHenry, Pierce, Rolette and Ward Counties
Taylor was elected as District 2 Director in December 2018. A fourth generation rancher from Towner, N.D., Taylor runs a cow/calf, feeder and hay operation with his wife, Nikki, and their three children.[/read]
District 3 Director
[read more=”READ MORE” less=”CLOSE”]Tyler Stafslien of Makoti represents Burke, Divide, Mountrail, Renville and Williams Counties
Stafslien was elected as District 3 Director in January 2018 to fill the expired term of Dennis Stromme. He is a fourth-generation farmer, living on a farm homesteaded by his family in 1912. He farms 2,000 acres of wheat, barley, peas, lentils, flax and soybeans. Although he resides in the country, Stafslien is the mayor of Makoti. He has served on his local grain elevator cooperative board since 2005. He and his wife Shannon were local soil conservation award winners in 2015, and were NDFU’s Farmers Union Enterprise couple for 2014-15. Tyler just completed his second year on NDFU’s Policy & Action Committee. Shannon is the marketing manager at their local telephone cooperative and serves on the Ward County Farmers Union Board. The Stafsliens have one son, Owen. [/read]
District 4 Director
[read more=”READ MORE” less=”CLOSE”]Shane Sickler of Gladstone represents Adams, Billings/Golden Valley, Bowman/Slope, Dunn, Hettinger, McKenzie and Stark Counties.
Sickler was elected as District 4 Director at a special election held July 10, 2015, to fill the unexpired term of the late James Kerzman. Shane has been active in NDFU his entire life. He attended youth camps and received his Torchbearer Award in 1978. He served as president of Emerson Local for many years, and also as a NDFU Member Relations Specialist (Field Staff) for District 4 during the 1980s and 90s. Currently, he is president of Dunn County Farmers Union. Shane has been involved in all facets of the organization, including legislative fly-ins, state and National Farmers Union conventions as a delegate and insurance delegate, and as a Policy & Action Committee member. He and his wife Jana and their family received the NDFU Farm Family of the Year Award in 2006. They also received the Dunn County Soil Conservation Award in 2005. Outside of Farmers Union, Shane served on the St. Joseph’s Hospital Harvest Home Committee in Dickinson and on the church council for St. Philip’s Church, Hirschville, for many years. He has also served on Farm Credit Services’ nominating committee, and the advisory board for SWG (Southwest Grain) in southwestern North Dakota, where he currently serves as a board member/secretary. He and his family continue to farm and ranch on their fourth generation homestead north of Gladstone, where the town of Hirschville was located in the 1930s. They grow spring and winter wheat, durum, peas, canola, sunflowers, corn, flax and soybeans. They also have a BWF cow/calf operation and raised buffalo from 1996-2015. The Sicklers have three grown children, Hope, Lenci (Jaime) and Stormie. NDFU and the Farmers Union “family” have always been a special and important part of Shane’s life and he’s honored to serve as District 4 Director.[/read]
Wes Niederman Jr.
State Secretary - District 5
[read more=”READ MORE” less=”CLOSE”]Wes Niederman of Elgin represents Burleigh, Emmons, Grant, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sheridan and Sioux Counties.
Niederman was elected as District 5 Director in January 2009. He has been active in Farmers Union at the local, county, state, and national levels. He served on the Grant County Farmers Union board of directors, as a delegate at the state and national levels, and on the state and national Policy & Action Committees. He has represented members as a grassroots lobbyist and has participated on fly-ins to Washington, DC. He and his family were the recipients of the NDFU Farm Family of the Year award in 2003. He is a past member of the Elgin Farmers Union Oil Company Board of Directors, having served six years as president. Niederman is the chairman of the Watauga Stockyard Association and has been a member of his parish council. Wes, his wife Leslie, and son Matt farm and ranch in Grant County near Morristown, SD. The Niedermans raise beef cattle and grow spring wheat, winter wheat, corn, soybeans and sunflowers. They are proud to still be farming on Wes’ grandfather’s farm which was designated a ND Centennial Farm in 2012.[/read]
State Board - District 6
[read more=”READ MORE” less=”CLOSE”]Shelly Ziesch of Pettibone represents Dickey, Eddy, Foster, Kidder, LaMoure, Logan, McIntosh, Stutsman and Wells Counties.
Ziesch was elected as District 6 Director in December 2018. She was also elected a director for Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Company and Farmers Union Service Association, and also serves as president of Kidder County Farmers Union. A fourth generation rancher, Ziesch farms and ranches with her husband Robin north of Pettibone, ND in Kidder County. They raise beef cattle, corn, wheat, oats, alfalfa and soybeans.[/read]
District 7 Director
[read more=”READ MORE” less=”CLOSE”]Ronda Throener of Cogswell represents Barnes, Cass, Griggs, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele and Traill Counties.
Throener was elected as District 7 Director in November 2013. She also serves on the board of Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Company, Farmers Union Service Association, and Agraria LLC. She and her husband Kevin farm and ranch near Cogswell in Sargent County and are owners/operators of KT Cattle Co. They raise corn, soybeans and have a 999-head feedlot. They have four children: Joseph, Isaiah, Olivia and James. Ronda has been an active member of NDFU for years. She attended senior camps in high school, was selected along with Kevin as the Farmers Union Enterprise Couple for North Dakota in 2007, and advocated for family farmers and ranchers on the 2008 legislative fly-in. She served on NDFU’s Policy & Action Committee in 2012 and 2013, was a state delegate and served on the National Farmers Union Policy & Action Committee in 2012, and was selected to participate in the 2012 NFU Women’s Conference in Bailey, Colo. She grew up on a farm and ranch near Balta. She attended North Dakota State University where she earned a B.S. degree in Crop and Weed Science, graduating in 1996. Ronda currently serves on the Sargent County FSA Committee, is very involved in local 4-H, teaches Sunday School at church, helps coordinate the Progressive Ag Safety Day in her county, and is a volunteer for Common Ground ND. She is a passionate advocate for agriculture and rural North Dakota. In her free time, she enjoys gardening and yard work, and spending time with family and friends.[/read]