Secretary's Advisory Committee Members Selected (BF&R)

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden Thursday announced the appointment of 20 members to serve on the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers during a trip to the University of Delaware. The Committee will provide guidance to the Secretary on expanding opportunities that will help beginning farmers and ranchers succeed in agriculture.

"The next generation of America's farmers and ranchers are more diverse than ever before, have new market opportunities and continue to bring innovative ideas to the agriculture industry," Deputy Secretary Harden said. "The Secretary and I look forward to working closely with this Advisory Committee to continue supporting the promise of agriculture's future. At the same time, we need passage of a new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill to invest in support and assistance for new farmers in the years to come."

The following individuals have been asked to serve on the committee through September 2015:

  • Chris Beyerhelm, deputy administrator for Farm Loan Programs with the Farm Service Agency from Washington, D.C.
  • Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, Local Food Systems and Small Farms educator, University of Illinois Extension
  • Dr. Duncan M. Chembezi, professor and Extension economist from Alabama A&M University in Madison
  • Michelle Conner, owner/farm manager of Evandale Farm and Beginning Farmer program coordinator from Pittsfield, N.H.
  • Marcus Creasy, cow/calf producer and immediate past president of the Arkansas Cattlemen's Association in Arkansas
  • Kole James Fitzpatrick, regional technical assistance specialist with Intertribal Agriculture Council and operator of a small cow/calf ranch from Montana
  • Marty Gerencer, principal/owner of Morse Marketing Connections in Michigan
  • Timothy M. Gossman, farm loan officer/senior vice president, Root River State Bank from Minnesota
  • Christopher Holman, farmer/owner operator of Nami Moon Farms from Custer, Wis.
  • Adrienne Farrar HouĂ«l, president and CEO of Greater Bridgeport Community Enterprises, Inc., from Connecticut
  • Dr. Anna J. Jones-Crabtree, beginning farmer and owner/operator of Vilicus Farms in Montana
  • Yani Rose Keo, executive director/co-founder of the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services and president/founder of Cambodian Gardens Inc., from Texas
  • Gary Matteson, VP of young, beginning, small farmer programs for the Farm Credit Council from Washington, D.C.
  • 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 of Hartland from Minnesota
  • Jose Antonio Serrano, general manager of Alba Organics from California
  • Dr. Garry Stephenson, professor/coordinator of Small Farms Program from Oregon State University
  • Dr. Jennifer Elaine Taylor, coordinator of Small Farm Programs from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University in Tallahassee
  • Windy Mae Van Dam, dairy rancher/former operator of 2 B Dairy and director, Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory Board from California

The committee will provide public and industry perspectives on USDA strategies, policies, and programs to broadly capture the many issues relevant to beginning farmers and ranchers including but not limited to opportunities in local food systems, generational transfers, training and credit. The committee's upcoming meeting will be announced in the Federal Register prior to the meeting and will include the meeting date, details and topics for discussion. Information is also available on the committee's website.


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