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Beginning Farmers and Advocates Appointed to USDA Advisory Committee

November 21, 2013


USDA today announced the long-awaited list of farmers, advocates, technical service provides and bankers who were chosen to serve on the Advisory Committee for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers.  This well-established though recently dormant advisory committee serves an important role in providing a direct link between the beginning farmer community, lenders, and USDA, and helps to inform federal programs and policies that expand opportunities for new farmers to build a career in agriculture.   Specific expertise and areas of focus for the committee include farm transition, generational farm transfers, new farmer training, access to land and credit, and emerging opportunities for new farmers within local and regional food systems.

USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden announced these new appointments at an event in Delaware today, and stressed the need for USDA to continue to support new farmers and grow the next generation. “The Secretary and I look forward to working closely with this Advisory Committee to continue supporting the promise of agriculture’s future.”

Harden also cited the impasse over a new farm bill as a challenge to providing new farmers with the resources they need, like beginning farmer training and technical assistance provided through the now stranded Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.  Harden called on Congress to pass “a new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill to invest in support and assistance for new farmers in the years to come.”

NSAC looks forward to working with all members on the Advisory Committee to improve USDA programs and outreach to beginning farmers, and wants to especially congratulate four new advisory committee members that NSAC member groups helped recruit.  A special congrats goes to:

Anna Jones-Crabtree (Helena, Montana) – a beginning farmer herself, Jones-Crabtree will bring valuable insight to the committee on the specific challenges and barriers that new farmers face when building their farming operation from the ground up.  She runs Vilicus Farms, along with her partner Doug Crabtree, and together they manage 1,280 acres of diversified organic grains, oilseeds and legumes.  Their farm strives to serve as a model of stewardship with a future vision of increasing the supply of organic food and helping to develop and nurture organic farmers in the region.

Kole James Fitzpatrick (Browning, Montana) – Fitzpatrick works with the Intertribal Agriculture Council and provides technical assistance to beginning tribal producers in the region who are interested in adopting sustainable agriculture practices on their farms and ranches.  He also operates a small cow/calf ranch, and will bring a wealth of knowledge to the committee on the specific needs of tribal farmers.

Timothy Gossman (Chatfield, Minnesota) – Gossman will bring his thirty years of experience in the lending industry to inform the advisory committee discussions around how USDA can increase access to credit for beginning farmers.  He currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Root River State Bank in southeastern Minnesota and is a member of the Land Stewardship Project, an NSAC member group.

Jose Antonio Serrano (Salinas, California) In his role as the General Manager of an organic farm in central California, Serrano will bring expertise and first-hand knowledge of the training needs and business skills required for aspiring farmers to build a successful organic farming operation.  He works for the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) — an NSAC member group based in California that provides educational and business opportunities for farm workers and other aspiring farmers to grow and sell crops grown on two organic incubator farms on California’s Central Coast.

Other individuals who were also asked to serve on the committee through September 2015 include:

  • Chris Beyerhelm, Deputy Administrator for Farm Loan Programs with the Farm Service Agency from Washington, DC
  • Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, Local Food Systems and Small Farms Educator, University of Illinois Extension
  • Duncan M. Chembezi, Professor and Extension Economist from Alabama A&M University in Madison, Alabama
  • Michelle Conner, Owner/Farm Manager of Evandale Farm, LLC, and Beginning Farmer Program Coordinator from Pittsfield, New Hampshire
  • Marcus Creasy, Cow/Calf Producer & Immediate Past President of the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association in Arkansas
  • Marty Gerencer, Principal/Owner of Morse Marketing Connections, LLC in Michigan
  • Christopher Holman, Farmer/Owner Operator of Nami Moon Farms from Custer, Wisconsin
  • Adrienne Farrar Houël, President and CEO of Greater Bridgeport Community Enterprises, Inc., from Connecticut
  • Yani Rose Keo, Executive Director/Co-Founder of the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services from Texas
  • Gary Matteson, VP of Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Programs for the Farm Credit Council from Washington, DC
  • Maria Miller, Director of Education, National Farmers Union in Colorado
  • Julie D. Neill, Owner/Operator of Neill & Sons Dairy, a grazing dairy in Missouri
  • Peter Scheffert, Farm Loan Officer with Farmers State Bank from Minnesota
  • Garry Stephenson, Professor/Coordinator of Small Farms Program from Oregon State University
  • Jennifer Elaine Taylor, Coordinator of Small Farm Programs from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Florida
  • Windy Mae Van Dam, Dairy Rancher/Former Operator of 2 B Dairy and Director, Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory Board from California

The committee’s next meeting will be announced in the Federal Register prior to the meeting and will include the meeting date, details and topics for discussion. Information will also be available on the committee’s website at: http://www.outreach.usda.gov/committees/ACBFR.htm.


Categories: Beginning and Minority Farmers


One Response to “Beginning Farmers and Advocates Appointed to USDA Advisory Committee”

  1. […] it’s not yet updated with the new members yet. You can see a list of new members on NSAC’s blog here and read more about the […]

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