NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, U.S. — Minnesota wheat farmer Erik Younggren was elected and installed as the National Association of Wheat Growers’ (NAWG’s) 50th president at the Association’s board of directors meeting on March 3.

Younggren farms near Hallock in northwestern Minnesota, where he produces wheat, sugar beets and soybeans in partnership with two cousins.

Prior to becoming a NAWG officer in 2009, Younggren represented the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers on the national association’s board, serving as a member of NAWG’s domestic and trade policy, operations and budget committees. He has also participated in special committees examining crop insurance policy and an upcoming renovation of the Wheat Growers Building, which is owned by the NAWG Foundation.

A fourth-generation farmer, Younggren has involved himself in leadership positions in his local community. Fifteen years ago, he started a business that pioneered broadband Internet service in rural areas. He has also served as a member of his church’s Board of Deacons; on the board of his county economic development committee; and in his local curling club, supporting the popular Northern sport.

Younggren is an alumnus of the wheat industry’s training programs, the Wheat Industry Leaders of Tomorrow (WILOT), the Wheat Organization Leaders of the Future (WOLF) program and the Syngenta Leadership at Its Best program. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance with a minor in economics from Minnesota State University at Moorhead.

“Serving the nation’s wheat growers is an honor and a privilege,” Younggren said. “I know we are going to hit the ground running this year, and I look forward to the challenge. Active participation on the national level is more important now than ever before.”

Other members of NAWG’s officer corps elected include:

  • Bing Von Bergen, Moccasin, Montana, U.S., first vice-president;
  • Paul Penner, Hillsboro, Kansas, U.S., second vice-president;
  • Brett Blankenship, Washtucna, Washington, U.S., secretary-treasurer; and
  • Wayne Hurst, Burley, Idaho, U.S., immediate past president.

NAWG’s officers typically commit to serve for five years when they are selected for the role of secretary-treasurer, though they must be reviewed and nominated by the NAWG Nominating Committee and approved by the NAWG board of directors before each year of service.

More information about all of the new officers is available at