As a fourth-generation wheat, corn, barley, and soybean farmer who understands the challenges facing today’s American family farmers, Mark Watne has dedicated the better part of his career to working for the North Dakota Farmers Union (NDFU). He is the union’s ninth president and uses his love of farming and the farming community, his know-how, and innovative ideas to improve and grow the organization. This includes opening their first restaurant in 2006.
With the ideal of growing the NDFU, Mark and his fellow North Dakota Farmers enlisted the help of Michael Vucurevich and Dan Simons of the successful restaurant consulting group VSAG, to develop a restaurant brand with its foundation rooted in the notion that family farming was, and remains, essential to our nation’s well being. Together, they opened the flagship Founding Farmers DC.
Mark continues to represent the more than 47,000 American family farmers in North Dakota through a flourishing partnership with Mike V and Dan for the Farmers Restaurant Group (FRG). Working passionately on NDFU’s behalf, Mark ensures that the Farmers Restaurant Group venture continue to honor both their shared way of life and directly benefit them and their families.
Though he visits DC often, Mark is a lifelong resident of North Dakota where, in addition to his many other responsibilities, he continues to run his family farm.