Jacobs Farm / Del Cabo
Co-founder and owner of Jacobs Farm / Del Cabo with her husband Larry Jacobs. The company was founded with the goal to produce great tasting, healthy food in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. The Jacobs Farm brand represents certified organic product grown in northern California and features an extensive culinary herb and edible flower line. The Del Cabo label features basil, a full category of cherry tomatoes and other certified organic produce grown in the farming regions of Baja California. In 2007 Sandy and Larry were awarded the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA) prestigious 2007 Organic Farming Leadership Award for their remarkable contributions to the organic industry.
President, Bennett Valley Grape Growers
Senior Vice President – Investments with Wells Fargo Advisors, Joe began his career at Dean Witter/Morgan Stanley and spent 23 years there before moving his practice to Wells Fargo Advisors in 2010. Joe and his wife have owned and managed Judge Family Vineyard since 2000. Joe has been the President of the Bennett Valley Grape Growers Association since 2008.
Education Director, National Farmers Union
She works with the Farmers Union state education directors and volunteer leaders to provide educational and leadership building opportunities to Farmers Union youth. Maria develops educational outreach programs for members of all ages, rural residents and consumers. Miller began her career with Farmers Union at a state level, serving as director of communications and education for more than eight years in Ohio. She was editor of the state organization’s official publication and was actively involved in developing and implementing a sustainable youth program.
Plant Production, Driscoll Berries, Retired
Don served in Vietnam as an Infantry 1Lt in the US Army during combat operations from May 1969 to May 1970. From an entry position in logistics and quality control he eventually became nursery manager for the production of plants for Driscoll’s proprietary strawberry varieties, eventually including raspberry, blackberry and blueberry plant propagation. These growing systems are now the largest berry plant production operation in the world. In 2008 he retired from being nursery director and works now as an employee/consultant with a primary emphasis in monitoring farming, mentoring younger staff and assisting in the implementation of nursery efforts for Driscoll’s international operations in Mexico, Europe and Australia.
President, Niman Ranch Pork
Founder and manager of Niman Ranch Pork Company, is also the owner and operator of the Willis Free Range Pig Farm in Thornton, Iowa, where he still lives on the farm where he grew up and raises pigs on open pasture and deeply bedded pens without the use of antibiotics. Paul is a member of the committee convened by the National Academy of Sciences that worked on the project, 21st Century Systems Agriculture. Paul was also an invited participant in the Expert Meeting on Capacity Building to Implement Good Animal Welfare Practices convened in October 2008 in Rome by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. In 2003, together with Bill Niman, he was honored with the Good Neighbor Harvest Award by the Glynwood Center, an organization that works nationally and internationally to support sustainable agriculture.
Erin Hardie Hale
Research and Planning Associate, Food Solutions New England
Erin is a Research and Planning Associate with Food Solutions New England, a regional food systems learning-action network dedicated to addressing issues of food access, food security, and environmental, economic and social sustainability of agriculture in the region. Erin recently finished her PhD in agriculture and science education at UC Davis focused on coalition building and collaborative research between farmers and conservation groups in California’s Central Valley. Erin also has a master’s degree from UC Davis in International Agricultural Development with an emphasis in post-harvest handling systems for horticultural crops. She is committed to finding ways that educational programs, research institutions, and information systems can best support the health and viability of small and medium-scale farms, rural communities, and ecosystems across the nation and the world.
Agriculture Specialist, NCAT
Agriculture Specialist for the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and works part time on the ATTRA project, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. Ken and Linda Coffey and their children have run a commercial small ruminant operation for 26 years, 10 years in SE Kansas and 16 years in NW Arkansas (Maple Gorge Farm, Prairie Grove, AR). Their primary focus has been on raising meat-type wooled sheep and dairy goats were added to the operation 9 years ago. Currently they are milking 8 Alpines and marketing milk locally. Linda is a member of the American Dairy Goat Association and the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (acsrpc.org).Together with her coworker, Margo Hale, Linda has authored ATTRA publications on the subjects of dairy goats, meat goats, sheep, and internal parasite control.
Senior Vice President, Farm Credit West, Retired
Veteran Coordinator, Farm Credit West
Leonard is FVC’s newest Advisory Board Member, and has a long history of involvement with veterans and farming. He is a Marine Corps veteran and lifelong advocate for agriculture. His career spans 43 years in agricultural banking, 30 of which was spent with Farm Credit West, a farmer-owned cooperative whose mission is to provide financing to agriculture and rural America. Leonard retired on 12/31/2014 as Senior Vice President, but still works for Farm Credit West, under contract, acting as their Veteran Coordinator. He also created and continues to supervise a company-wide mentor program that teaches leadership and other business skills to young managers. His role on the FVC Advisory Board leverages his experience in the Marine Corps, his experience with agricultural financing, and his passion for agriculture in America.
Leonard is married, and the proud father of two grown children. He has an avid interest in fitness and outdoor sports, which are an important part of his daily life.
Emerging Markets Specialist, Badgerland Financial
Paul Dietmann is Emerging Markets Specialist with Badgerland Financial, a member-owned rural lending cooperative and Farm Credit System institution serving southern Wisconsin. Paul leads the coop’s beginning farmer program and its Emerging Markets Loan Program, which provides loans to farmers who are marketing their products direct to consumers. Prior to joining the staff at Badgerland, Paul spent 16 years with the State of Wisconsin; eleven years as a county agriculture agent with the University of Wisconsin-Extension and five years as director of the Wisconsin Farm Center, which is the farmers’ assistance program in the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). He served as Wisconsin’s Deputy Secretary of Agriculture in 2010. He is co-author of the book Fearless Farm Finances: Farm Financial Management Demystified.