The Global Farmer Network® (GFN®) is proud to recognize German farmer Marcus Holtkoetter as the 2023 recipient of the GFN Kleckner Global Farm Leader award. Holtkoetter will be formally recognized on Tuesday, October 24th on the Borlaug Dialogue Main Stage at the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa.
As the 10th generation to live on the family’s farm, Holtkoetter received his education in agriculture from the University of Osnabrück and returned to manage a herd of 3,000 feeder pigs. In addition to livestock, he oversees 400 acres of winter wheat, winter barley, corn, and canola.
Holtkoetter has a passion for ensuring farmers’ voices are heard and that everyone has an opportunity to be educated on the agriculture industry. He shares, “When I became a farmer 25 years ago, I didn’t realize the importance of becoming a voice for ag as well—but that’s what the economics and politics of agriculture require today.”
Marcus has hosted consumers, farmers, and politicians on his farm, and frequently shares what he is doing on the farm with the public through social media, and at various events. “We’ve got to tell our stories—and when we tell them with honesty and authority, we’ll win hearts and minds and defend our freedom to make our own farm choices to better feed the world.”
Marcus continues to find himself connecting on his passion for farming with others, and has developed a number of programs. Holtkoetter is a co-founder of Frag den Landwirt (Ask the Farmer) and AgChat Germany. These two programs facilitate communication so that the farmers’ perspectives may be heard. Holtkoetter is also a co-founder of the World AgVocate Meeting, connecting agvocates across Europe and North America.
The GFN Kleckner Global Farm Leader Award recognizes individuals who exemplify strong leadership, vision, and resolve in advancing the rights of all farmers to choose the technology and tools that will improve the quality, quantity, and availability of agricultural products around the world.
The 2023 GFN Kleckner Global Farm Leader award is sponsored by Dr. Robert Fraley, 2013 World Food Prize Laureate, and Hugh Grant.
“When I found out I was this year’s Kleckner award winner, I was speechless. I never imagined I would be selected, and I am incredibly honored,” says Marcus.
He adds, “The award is heartening because it provides me with new opportunities to tell my story as well as the stories of other farmers. The better people understand who farmers are and what we do, the better positioned we’ll be to grow the food that the world needs.”
“Marcus brings a unique skill set, a unique geographic perspective, and certainly a unique outlook on the world to the organization, and anyone he interacts with. He is an inspiration to all of us at the network and exemplifies all of the qualities we look for in Kleckner award winners,” says GFN Board Chairman Reg Clause.
Since 2007, this award has been given out annually, in honor of the late Dean Kleckner, Chairman Emeritus of the organization. Previous award recipients can be found on the Global Farmer Network website.