Anthony and Mariel Barreras receive 2018 Citizenship Award

Farm and Food

At the Barreras Family Farm, just a few miles south of Blair, Nebraska, co-owners and co-operators Lt. Col. Anthony and Mariel Barreras work hard alongside their children.

The couple’s love of farming and each other is expressed through their compassion and guidance to other beginning farmers and veteran farm families. That's why the Center for Rural Affairs has chosen Anthony and Mariel Barreras, of Blair, Nebraska, to receive its 2018 Citizenship Award. They were recognized at the Veteran Farmers Barbecue at their farm, on June 15. They were to be honored during an award ceremony on March 8 in York, but it was cancelled due to inclement weather.

The Citizenship Award is given to an individual or individuals who actively participate in the civic process for creating public policy, and who work closely with the Center for Rural Affairs to advance public policies that strengthen family farms, ranches, and rural communities.

“Together, Anthony and Mariel have supported policy priorities at the state and federal levels,” said Cora Fox, policy associate with the Center for Rural Affairs.

In March 2018, Mariel participated in a farmer fly-in to Washington, D.C., to discuss training and educational resources for veteran farmers. In Nebraska, in both 2018 and 2019, Mariel has provided testimony in favor of the Beginning Veteran Farmer Tax Credit.

Anthony is currently on active duty in the U.S. Army in addition to his role on the family farm.

“Collaboration with local leaders such as Anthony and Mariel is essential to our work at the Center for Rural Affairs,” Fox said. “They have helped us advance key priorities through their thoughtful, unwavering, and effective advocacy.”

The couple were featured speakers at the second annual Veteran Farmer Conference sponsored by the Center for Rural Affairs and Legal Aid of Nebraska. They hosted a farm tour for beginning veteran farmers in May 2018; and invited current and former active duty, guard, or reserve military to their farm for a barbecue last weekend, both Center for Rural Affairs events.

Anthony and Mariel have eight children, who also contribute to the family farm.

Read more about Anthony and Mariel on a previous blog.

Feature photo: Anthony and Mariel Barreras receive the 2018 Citizenship Award from Cora Fox, policy associate, during the Veteran Farmers Barbecue at their farm near Blair, on June 15. The couple was to be honored during an award ceremony on March 8 in York, which was cancelled due to inclement weather. | Photo by Rhea Landholm