Bruce Hamnes

x2012 Production Agriculture

Wheat farmer Bruce Hamnes is a true farmer-citizen of the world. As a producer, he is at home on the tractor in Stephen, Minn., and wherever he is talking to other producer leaders or politicians—be it Washington, D.C., Thailand or Spain.

In 1994, Hamnes gave the keynote address to the first Annual Regional Scab Forum in Moorhead, Minn. The forum brought together researchers, growers and industry people to address the devastating disease, which had decimated wheat and barley fields throughout the state. Farmers burned their fields because there was no grain in the heads. Hamnes was one of those farmers.

Motivated in part by his heartfelt address to the forum, researchers from the Dakotas, Minnesota and Canada embarked on a path that would eventually save farmers and the region’s wheat production as well as inaugurate an annual global forum. In 1995, Hamnes was instrumental in obtaining $5 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and $800,000 from the Minnesota Legislature for scab research. That work continues today.

Born in Warren, Minn., Hamnes earned his bachelor’s degree in agriculture from North Dakota State University in 1961. After serving two years in the United States Army, Hamnes joined the family farm and continued the tradition of producing high-quality wheat and barley. In addition, he owned and operated the well known and respected Stephen Seedhouse for more than 35 years. 

Concurrently with farming, Hamnes has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to public service and leadership. In the early 1980s, after serving on many local and county boards, Hamnes approached University of Minnesota Extension with an idea for a leadership program. It became the highly successful Red River Valley Emerging Leadership program. In addition, Hamnes has served in numerous capacities for state and national wheat organizations, the University of Minnesota, and the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, to name just a few