Rewarding the Next Generation of Ag

Established in 2021, the Farmers on the Rise program was created to honor outstanding beginning farmers (three to ten years of experience) within the diverse agricultural community who excel in their field.



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2023 Farmers on the Rise Award Winners

Meet the 2023 Farmers on the Rise Award Winners!

Farm Credit awarded a total of $100,000 to beginning farmers in our territory. The following agriculturalists received this year's honor:

  • Ian Antons, Winchester, VA
  • Bradley and Kacie Bachman, Jonestown, PA
  • Megan Bogle, Downingtown, PA
  • Jarrod and Becky Burall, Mt. Airy, MD
  • Tyler and Katie Fraser, New Bethlehem, PA
  • Jennifer and Richard Hartlieb Jr., Robesonia, PA
  • Julie Henninger, Gardners, PA
  • Duy Pham, Princess Anne, MD
  • Henry Spies V, Preston, MD
  • Eric and Elizabeth Ziegler, Lebanon, PA


  • Applicants must be at least 18 years of age or older
  • Applicants must be a beginning farmer with at least three years of experience, but no more than 10 years of farming experience.
  • In order to be eligible, you must reside within Horizon Farm Credit's territory.
  • The applicant can apply as an individual or with a business partner.
  • Current and non-Farm Credit customers are eligible to apply. You do not need to be a Farm Credit customer to apply.

How will applications be judged?

An independent panel of qualified judges will review all of the written applications and select the top 20 finalists moving onto phase two of the judging process.

Each application in phase one will be evaluated based on the following criteria to achieve a score out of 200 possible points:

Phase 1 Rubric
Agriculture and Growth60 points
Financial Character40 points
Leadership and Community Involvement40 points
Environmental Stewardship40 points
Spelling and Grammar20 points
Total200 points


The applicants selected as the top 20 finalists will receive an invitation to participate in an in-person interview with judges to answer questions and give further context to their application.

All interviews and an award reception will be held in person exclusively on December 7, 2023 in Gettysburg, PA. Interviews will be no longer than 30 minutes in length and are intended for the applicant to provide additional clarification regarding their application and for the judging committee to ask questions.

During the interview process, only the named applicant(s) are permitted into the interview room. No guests will be granted access to the interview. No access to audio visual/PowerPoint/Prezi will be supported during the interview process. 

Each application in phase two will be evaluated based on the following interview selection criteria:

Phase 2 Rubric
Introduction20 points
Ability to explain application and answer interview questions60 points
Professional appearance, overall tone, eye contact, mannerisms, and gestures20 points
Total100 points



How do I know if I'm eligible to apply for the Farmers on the Rise Award?

All applicants must be at least 18 years of age or older, and must have at least three years of experience, but no more than 10 years of farming experience. Applicants must also live in Horizon Farm Credit's territory - click here to check your eligibility. 

Do I need to be a Horizon Farm Credit customer to apply?

No, you do not need to be a Farm Credit customer to apply.

Can I apply as a single applicant? Can I apply as a co-applicant?

Yes, you can apply as a single applicant or you can apply with a business partner. The application should only reflect those efforts of the named applicants.

Are the award funds taxable?

Yes, the award money is taxable. Please consult your tax advisor for more information.

Who can write me a Letter of Recommendation?

Letters of recommendation should be written on behalf of an applicant by someone who can share perspective on why you are a farmer on the rise. Family members, Farm Credit staff, or Farm Credit directors are not eligible to write letters of recommendation.

Who should be included in my application photo?

You should attach a professional photo of yourself and co-applicant, if applicable.

What should be included in my essay responses?

All essays should help tell the applicants story and support why they are a Farmer on the Rise! All essays should be written in paragraph form.

Who will judge and evaluate my application?

An independent panel of qualified judges will review all applications in both Phase 1 and 2 of the review process.

Is there anyone who is not eligible to apply?

Officers, Directors, and employees of the Sponsor, Horizon Farm Credit, and their subsidiaries, affiliates, their agents, press/media representatives, and the immediate family members of these entities are not eligible to apply. "Family" is defined here as an individual and spouse and anyone having the following relationship to either: parents, spouse, son, daughter, sibling, stepparent, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, grandparent, grandson, granddaughter, and the spouse of the foregoing and/or those living in the same household of each, whether or not related, are not eligible to apply.

Applicants will only be eligible for one grant award during a 12-month period of time. 2023 JumpStart Grant winners are not eligible to apply this year, but will become eligible in 2024. Past Farmers on the Rise $10,000 winners are not eligible to apply. 


If you have additional questions, please contact Farmers on the Rise Program Administrator, Johanna Rohrer at or 888.339.3334.