Elite Leadership Academy

The Elite Leadership Academy is designed to provide more specific and intensive skills training to Farm Bureau members who have exhibited notably high leadership potential through their involvement in Farm Bureau, community, and agriculture endeavors.
Members of the Elite Leadership Academy class will go through six intensive training sessions. Each session includes a networking dinner, principal and application studies, intensive case studies and think tank–type discussion with an educator to teach students how to see issues from all sides. The Elite Leadership Academy aims to provide class members with the tools necessary to be powerful advocates for the agricultural industry, develop stronger critical thinking skills and improve their communication skills to be proactive in addressing issues. 

Members of the 2016 Colorado Farm Bureau Elite Leadership Academy:

Brent Boydston - Vice President, Public Policy

Erin Nissen, Mosca, Colo.

Agriculture has always been a passion for Erin and she was very excited to be able to return to the family farm after college and become the 4th generation to farm Nissen Farms near Mosca, CO. She graduated from Texas Tech University in May of 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics.

Erin, farming alongside her father Lyle, raises conventional and organic fresh market potatoes, malting barley for Coors and multi-species cover crops for incorporation and feeding to their 140 head of cattle. Erin helps with all aspects of the operation while focusing on management, record and bookkeeping, food safety, cattle genetics and herd improvement.

Helping and being involved in her community are also important to Erin. She currently serves as the Vice President of the Alamosa County Farm Bureau, Sheep Superintendent for the San Luis Valley Fair, member of the Colorado Seed Potato Act Advisory Committee and Secretary/Treasurer for the SLV Cattleman’s Association.

Erin is excited to be a part of the Elite Leadership Academy. She feels that it is a great opportunity for her to make new connections, develop skills that will help her become a better advocate for agriculture and bring together her knowledge to better serve the agriculture community.

Ashley Breitnauer - Associate Director, Policy Communications

Noelle Corman, Otis, Colo. 

Noelle Corman is from Otis, Colorado where she and her husband farm and have a small cow herd.  Noelle attended Northeastern Junior College and Colorado State University.  In 2009, she obtained a double Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture Business and Animal Science from CSU.  Noelle and her husband Derek returned home from school to farm with his family in Washington County.  

Along with raising cattle, corn, wheat and millet, Noelle and Derek have three boys (ages 5, 3 and 20 months).  Being a Mom is her biggest joy that keeps her on her toes at all times!  The Cormans’ are actively involved in both their church and community.  Noelle serves as the church Secretary, Young Families Coordinator and Sunday School teacher.

Noelle has been active in her county Farm Bureau, holding various positions on the board (currently as Secretary), and especially enjoys the education activities they put on.  Being chosen for the Elite Leadership Academy is an honor for Noelle and she hopes to improve her leadership qualities as well as learn to become a stronger advocate for agriculture

Nicholas Colglazier - Director of Public Policy, State Affairs

Dallas Vaughn, Stratton, Colo. 

Dallas grew up in Iliff, CO where he came up through the 4-H/FFA ranks serving as a State FFA Officer.  He developed his love of agriculture through these organizations and working for various farmers.  Dallas pursued his Animal Science degree first at Northeastern Jr. College and then Oklahoma State University where he combined it with Ag Business. He was drawn back to Colorado State University to do some masters work by the girl that would become his wife.  Dallas and Kelli now live in Stratton, CO where they and their two daughters Kelsie (6) and Makenzie (4) are involved with her family’s cow/calf operation and operate their own heifer development operation.  

Dallas has spent his entire career in Ag Sales/Mgt.  He began by managing the feed division for Brighton Feed & Saddlery and moved onto Cargill where he was a commercial grain buyer and then was relocated to Burlington, CO to buy farmer direct grain. In an effort to get back to animal agriculture, he pursued an opportunity to work in Cargill’s Animal Nutrition division as a Beef Consultant.  In July 2015 the opportunity to get off the road came to be and Dallas is now the Assistant Manager/Sales for Flagler Aerial Spraying.

Dallas is active as President of Kit Carson County Farm Bureau, as well as sitting on the Kit Carson Cattleman’s Board and serving as Treasurer of his church.  Dallas has a unique perspective on agriculture viewing it from various segments of Ag Business that allows him to educate both producers and consumers alike on many topics.  He believes that we must start playing offense when it comes to telling the story of agriculture instead of combating the negative that is put out by the radical activists.


Richard Connell - Director of Member Services, Safety & Health Regional Manager – Dist. 9 & 10

Jason Vermillion, Matheson, Colo. 


Jade Markus, Ordway, Colo. 

I am Jade Markus, I live 16 miles north of Ordway, CO with my wife Stacey and 11 month old daughter Laramie.  Stacey and I are the fourth generation on the farm and ranch raising the fifth generation to be part of agriculture.  We operate a farm and ranch with my parents Rick and Kay Markus, and brother Garrett Markus.   On our farm and ranch we raise forage crops (sorghum and oats) for silage and hay, grain (milo and wheat), and run a cow / calf program.  The past few years we have leased pasture due to selling most of the cows during the drought.  We calve heifers for farmers and ranchers in the area as well.  I am a crop insurance adjuster for RCIS insurance, and have taken this opportunity to learn about different farming operations and to see what may work with our farming operation. This was taken as a need to earn income and has turned into a great learning experience.  I have a farm and ranch management degree from Otero Junior College. For hobbies I like to weld and build projects, team rope, work with horses, and hunt and fish.  What excites me about the ELA class is that I get to refine my leadership skills and become a better leader for the areas that I am in now and for what will come forth in the future.