MAELC is a 16-member legislative council dedicated to the improvement of Agricultural Education in Minnesota.
The state legislature, agricultural educators, and agriculture industry leaders are all represented on the council.

Paul Anderson

Representative Paul Anderson was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2008, and is representing District 12A in his eighth term. He serves as the Minority Lead on the Agriculture Finance and Policy committee. Representative Anderson also serves on the Sustainable Infrastructure Policy and Property Tax Division committees.

Representative Anderson is a farmer from Starbuck.

Contact Representative Paul Anderson

Connect to Representative Paul Anderson's Legislative Page

Patrice Bailey

Patrice Bailey was appointed to the position of Assistant Commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) in June, 2019. Bailey oversees Outreach, Agricultural Marketing and Development, Dairy and Meat Inspection, and Food and Feed Safety for the MDA.

Bailey, a native of Harlem, New York, holds a B.S. in Agricultural Education from Prairie View A&M University (Texas) and has a Master’s of Science Degree in Agricultural Education from Iowa State University.

He has served the Twin Cities in several positions focused on bridging underrepresented communities of color to various available resources and advocating for them legislatively at the Capitol. Most recently, he served as the Outreach Director for the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage.

Contact Patrice Bailey

Connect to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Website

Lindsey Brockberg

Lindsey Brockberg is an agriculture teacher at Mountain Lake High School. She is serving as the President of the Minnesota Association of Agricultural Educators (MAAE).

Lindsey originally graduated from Mountain Lake High School and enjoys teaching in her home town. She attended Ridgewater College after high school and participated in the 2+2 program, eventually transferring to a four-year institution to finish her agricultural education degree. Lindsey started teaching in Chisago Lakes, where she spent two years and then moved to Mountain Lake where she has been since 2012.

Lindsey and her husband, Ryan, have four kids, and raise bottle calves and operate a small engine repair and mower sales business.

Contact Lindsey Brockberg

Connect to MAAE Website

Brian Buhr

Brian Buhr is a professor at the University of Minnesota and serves as the Dean for the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS). Prior to this position, he was the Head of the Department of Agricultural Education and Applied Economics.

Dr. Buhr works in the areas of commodity marketing with an emphasis in livestock markets. He has worked extensively with commodity marketing groups on risk management, value added marketing and the economic impacts of policy and technology. Dr. Buhr completed his Ph.D. from the Iowa State University.

Contact Brian Buhr

Connect to AgEd Website

Connect to CFANS Website

Senator Gary Dahms

Senator Gary Dahms is serving his fifth term as State Senator for District 15 and is the Minority Lead of the Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance committee. He also serves on the Agriculture, Broadband, and Rural Development committee. Senator Dahms is appointed to MAELC as the Agriculture Committee minority-party representative.

Senator Dahms lives in Redwood Falls and is a retired insurance agent and former County Commissioner.

Contact Senator Gary Dahms

Connect to Senator Gary Dahms' Legislative Page

Pat Dingels

Pat Dingels is the current the Minnesota FFA Foundation President and serves as the FFA Foundation representative to the MAELC board.

Pat is the Executive Director of the Redwood Area Development Corporation and Redwood Area Communities Fund.

Contact Pat Dingels

Connect to Minnesota FFA Foundation Website

Nikki Flaaen

Nikki Flaaen is an agriculture, food and natural resource education instructor at Zumbrota-Mazeppa High School and is presently serving as President-Elect of the Minnesota Association of Agricultural Educators (MAAE).

Nikki graduated from Medford High School and attended the University of Wisconsin-River Falls for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Agricultural Education. She started teaching in Lake City in 2011 and moved to Zumbrota-Mazeppa in 2023.

Nikki and her husband, Chris, enjoy taking in a Minnesota Twins baseball game, spending time with family and friends, and caring for their backyard chickens and other animals.

Contact Nikki Flaaen

Connect to MAAE Website

Terry Gaalswyk

Dr. Terry Gaalswyk serves as President of Minnesota West Community & Technical College. Dr. Gaalswyk has over 20 years of service in higher education including appointments as a mathematics instructor, division chair, associate dean of instruction, dean of instruction, and executive vice president. He has served at Southeast Technical Institute, South Dakota State University, Western Iowa Tech Community College, Iowa State University, and most recently at Western Nebraska Community College. Dr. Gaalswyk believes in the mission of community & technical colleges and is committed to serving rural communities in service to this mission, our students, high schools, and industry partners.

Dr. Gaalswyk holds a BA in mathematics from Northwestern College, a masters degree in Vocational/Technical Education and a master’s degree in mathematics – both from South Dakota State University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership/Policy Studies from Iowa State University. He is equally proud of his vocational background, having worked alongside his parents building custom countertops and cabinets in family-owned business in Sibley, IA.

Contact Terry Gaalswyk

Connect to Minnesota State Colleges & Universities Website

Connect to Farm Business Management Website

Heather Gustafson

Senator Heather Gustafson was elected to the Minnesota Senate in 2022 and is representing District 36 in her first term. She serves as the Vice-Chair of the Education Finance committee. Senator Gustafson also serves on the Agriculture, Broadband, and Rural Development committee; Jobs and Economic Development committee; and the State and Local Government and Veterans committee.

Senator Gustafson lives in Vadnais Heights and is a teacher.

Contact Senator Heather Gustafson

Connect to Senator Heather Gustafson's Legislative Page

Michelle Kamenov

Michelle Kamenov, M.A. is the Career Development and Career Technical Education Supervisor at the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). Prior to coming to MDE, she was a classroom teacher, coordinator of strategic youth initiatives and project coordinator at the University of Minnesota.

Kamenov has experience leading programs and initiatives to develop youth leaders in rural and urban Minnesota communities and has a strong background in community education, youth development, service-learning and project based learning. She also has a variety of experiences leading professional development and research projects around career and college readiness, Career and Technical Education, service-learning, youth development, and partnership development.

Contact Michelle Kamenov

Connect to the Minnesota Department of Education Website

Steve Olson

Steve Olson serves as a Governor Appointee to the MAELC board, representing agribusiness. After many years in the agriculture industry, in 2019 he launched Steve Olson Consulting, LLC where he facilitates decision-making discussions and forward-focused planning with agricultural organizations. Throughout his career he has supported agricultural education professionally and personally including serving in leadership roles with the Minnesota FFA Alumni, National FFA Alumni, Minnesota FFA Ag Policy Experience, and the Minnesota Agriculture Talent & Workforce Coalition.

A Moorhead native, Steve holds B.S. degrees from the University of Minnesota in Agricultural Education and Agricultural Economics. He and his wife have two adult sons, both former FFA members and agricultural education students at Buffalo High School.

Contact Steve Olson

Chris Ovrebo

Chris Ovrebo is the IT Manager for and is a Governor Appointee to the MAELC board, representing education. Prior to working at , Chris was Director of Technology at St. Peter Public Schools. Chris was served as the principal at Medford High School, as well as the agriculture teacher at Medford for seven years before taking on that role. He worked in a two person department that was recognized as the Outstanding Secondary Program by the Minnesota Association of Agricultural Educators (MAAE) and was also a Teacher’s Turn the Key Award winner.

Before entering the teaching profession, Chris worked as a commodity broker for three years and helped coordinate the statewide Teacher Induction Program (TIP) for one year while he was in graduate school. He earned a B.S. in Agricultural Industries and Marketing, an M.Ed. in Agricultural Education, and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in PK-12 Administration from the University of Minnesota.

Contact Chris Ovrebo

Kristi Pursell

Representative Kristi Pursell was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2022 and is representing District 58A in her first term. She serves as the Vice Chair on the Agriculture Finance and Policy committee. Representative Pursell also serves on the Elections; Education Finance; and Environment and Natural Resources committees. She serves as the Education Committee representative to the MAELC board.

Representative Pursell has been a farmer in Minneapolis and in Waterford Township in Dakota County, and directed a rural clean water non-profit in Rice County before being elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Contact Representative Kristi Pursell

Connect to Representative Kristi Pursell's Legislative Page

Aric Putnam

Senator Aric Putnam was elected to the Minnesota Senate in 2020 and is representing District 14 in his second term. He serves as the Chair of the Agriculture, Broadband, and Rural Development committee. Senator Putnam also serves as Vice-Chair on the Higher Education committee, and sits on the Jobs and Economic Dvelopment committee and Taxes committee.

Senator Putnam lives in St. Cloud and is a professor.

Contact Senator Aric Putnam

Connect to Senator Aric Putnam's Legislative Page

Amy Smith

Dr. Amy Smith is an Associate Professor of Agricultural Education at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. In her current position, she teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in Agricultural Education and serves as Academic Program Leader. Amy is passionate about the preparation of high-quality school-based agriculture teachers, and conducts research related to teacher recruitment and retention. She is also an advocate for connecting with new and diverse audiences through agricultural and food systems education.

Amy earned her undergraduate degree in Agricultural Education at Oklahoma State University. After teaching school-based agricultural education for five years, she completed her Masters and doctorate at the University of Missouri.

Contact Amy Smith

Connect to UMN AgEd

Connect to CFANS Website

Brad Tabke

Representative Brad Tabke was first elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2018 and re-elected in 2022, and is representing District 54A in his second term. He serves as the Vice Chair on the Transportation Finance and Policy committee. Representative Tabke also serves on the Agriculture Finance and Policy; Commerce Finance and Policy; and Public Safety Finance and Policy committees. He serves as the Agriculture Committee representative to the MAELC board.

Representative Tabke is a consultant from Shakopee.

Contact Representative Brad Tabke

Connect to Representative Brad Tabke's Legislative Page