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St. Paul woman named one of America's best young farmers


Brenda Kirsch Frketich of St. Paul has been chosen as one of America’s Best Young Farmers and Ranchers by Progressive Farmer magazine.

Frketich, who grows grass seed and hazelnuts on her family’s 1,000-acre farm, Kirsch Family Farms, was one of six young producers chosen by the magazine. She will be featured in the magazine’s February issue.

To be eligible, nominees have to be age 40 or younger, manage at least 500 acres and be active in their community.

In addition to taking over operations on the family farm, Frketich is active with the local fire district, volunteers with the Oregon Farm Bureau (OFB) and advocates for farming on her blog, www.nuttygrass.com. She impressed the judges with her experience modernizing her third-generation farm by adding high-tech irrigation equipment to reduce operating costs and increase its efficiency in using water, according to an OFB press release.

Frketich studied business at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. After graduating, she returned to the family farm.

Last January, her father, Paul Kirsch, decided to turn everything over to his daughter. He’s available for consultation, but otherwise Brenda, 30, makes the farm decisions.

“Brenda Frketich is an outstanding example of a young person who came back to the farm to continue the proud tradition of family agriculture in Oregon,” said OFB President Barry Bushue. “Brenda is dedicated to making her … farm prosper and thrive, now and for the next generation. Farm Bureau also benefits from her intelligence, ingenuity and enthusiasm. She cares as much about the vitality of Oregon agriculture as a whole as she does her rural community in St. Paul.”