Brainerd resident Fallon Ryan was among nine people selected by the Minnesota Farmers Union to start this month a year of leadership growth and rural advocacy.

“MFU has a legacy of creating strong leaders in rural Minnesota,” MFU President Gary Wertish stated in a news release.

Last year, the grassroots farm organization started the New Leader Academy to offer individuals a place to gain skills for creating and sustaining vibrant communities, as well as how to address local issues and understand various levels of government.

“I am hopeful that these people can continue that legacy and make a difference in agriculture and rural communities with what they learn from the New Leader Academy,” Wertish said.

The second class will meet for the first time at the 78th annual MFU Convention later this month at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Minneapolis Northeast.

The other selected for New Leader Academy Class Two are Rachel Sannerud of Milaca, Melany Thomas of Felton, Jaime Malone of Wadena, Mary Paul of Clear Lake, Josie Trople of Northfield, Anneliese Walker of Princeton, Jode Freyholtz-London of Eagle Bend and Randel Hanson of Duluth.

The group will then meet on selected weekends, in rural and urban areas, to experience the diversity of Minnesota and attend the MFU Lobby Day Drive-In during the state Legislative session and the National Farmers Union Legislative Fly-In in Washington, D.C. in September.