Farm Business Management (FBM) Instructor (Retired)
Minnesota West Community and Technical College
Over a 30-year career in farm business management (FBM), Cliff Vrieze has assisted more than 175 farm owners to establish successful family businesses. His program, which increased annual profit per farm by $9,000 on average, has been expanded and replicated across the region. With his reputation as a leader in FBM firmly cemented, Vrieze went on to contribute significantly to the CTE field at large. As president of the Minnesota Association of Agricultural Educators (MAAE), Vrieze invested the organization in scholarship and teacher mentor programs as well as new positions for a professional development coordinator and executive director/lobbyist. As president and treasurer for Minnesota Association of Career and Technical Education (MnACTE), he coalesced affiliate organizations underneath MnACTE to strengthen the association’s voice for all CTE. His staunch advocacy on behalf of CTE has resulted in increased funding for postsecondary FBM programs in Minnesota by $1 million biennially and the establishment of a permanent local levy authority for secondary CTE.
After retirement, Vrieze continued to champion opportunities for students through his work with various scholarship and grant committees. As a Governor’s appointee on the Minnesota Agriculture Education Leadership Council (MAELC), he oversaw the distribution of over $2 million in grants and scholarships to CTE programs and students. Vrieze has been recognized many times over; his honors include honorary Minnesota and American FFA degrees, induction into the Minnesota FFA Hall of Fame, and his selection as the 2004 ACTE Teacher of the Year. “I can think of few people that are more deserving of this honor than Cliff,” says NAAE Executive Director Jay Jackman. “His dedication to our profession is unlimited.”