Meet the Contributors
Dario Arezzo is a Senior Tax Consultant at Farm Credit East, ACA where he specializes in tax consulting, research, planning and compliance for both individuals and businesses within the agricultural community. Dario plays a significant role in the internal training for Farm Credit East’s tax staff as well as assists Farm Credit’s Knowledge Exchange department on matters of federal and state taxation.
Dario has a quarterly column titled Arezzo on Agriculture published in the prominent national tax publication State Tax Notes. Dario also authored the Cornell Income Tax School’s New York State tax manual. In addition to lecturing for Farm Credit East, Dario has spoken at New York FarmNet, New York’s Society of Enrolled Agents and the Cornell Income Tax School. Dario holds a B.S. from Cornell University, J.D. from Albany Law School and a LL.M from New York University.
Joe Baldwin manages the financial services department of Farm Credit East’s Geneva, NY office. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Bucknell University, a Master’s degree in business administration from UMASS, and a Master’s degree in taxation from Northeastern University.
In addition to his involvement with Farm Credit East’s internal training program, Joe has lectured through the Cornell Income Tax School, the Farm Financial Standards Council and the NY Society of Enrolled Agents.
Angela Barsuglia is a Tax Associate in the Bridgeton, NJ branch of Farm Credit East and specializes in farm accounting, taxes and payroll. Angela joined the Farm Credit East team in 2011 as a Credit Analyst/Farm Accounting Representative and after three years, transitioned fully into the financial and accounting services end of the business.
Angela has a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Rowan University and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Wilmington University. Angela and her husband, Brian, reside in southern NJ near the family vegetable farm.
Stephanie Beck is a Tax Associate in the Cortland New York branch of Farm Credit East. She specializes in farm accounting, taxes, and payroll. Stephanie enjoys working with clients both on the farm and in the office, helping them with a variety of different financial services. She joined Farm Credit in 2014 after graduating from Cornell University.
Stephanie grew up on a farm in northern New Jersey and began her career at Farm Credit working in both of the New Jersey offices. She has a strong background in the equine and dairy industry and now resides with her husband on his family’s dairy farm in Central NY.
Jan Bitter is the Branch Manager of Farm Credit East's Cortland, NY branch office which serves eight counties in Central New York. She has a BS in ag economics from Cornell University and an MBA from Syracuse University. Jan started her career with Farm Credit in 1982. She says that the experience of lending to farms in the turbulent times of the 1980’s has proven to be valuable when working through the volatile markets of the last few years.
Jan is the president of the Farm Financial Standards Council, treasurer of the New York Agricultural Land Trust and on the steering committee for the Northeast Dairy Challenge. She and her family live in Skaneateles, NY.
Ted Black is a Mortgage Specialist with the Country Living Program with a territory that includes five counties in Central New York. Country Living is a business unit of Farm Credit East based out of Cooperstown, NY, and consists of a loan origination team focusing on lifestyle farmer and rural home lending. He began his career with the Country Living Program in 2014.
Ted grew up on a small dairy farm in upstate New York. He received a BS in Business Management and Marketing from Keuka College. Ted and his family reside in Oneida, NY.
John Caltabiano provides senior management oversight and coaching for the Bedford, NH, Dayville, Conn., Enfield, Conn., Middleboro, MA and Riverhead, NY offices. In his position he is responsible for a portfolio of over $1B in loans and $4.5M in financial services to farmers, commercial fisherman, forest products producers, agribusinesses and rural home owners in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island. John is a member of the Senior Management Team, Credit and Human Resources Committees, Technology and Cyber Teams and he serves on the CoBank, ACB Retirement Trust Committee.
John has over 30 years of banking and financial services experience. He began his career as a loan officer with Southern New England Farm Credit in 1983. In 1991, he joined the Farm Credit Banks of Springfield (MA), where he held various credit, training, and management positions. A native of Central New York, John holds a BS degree in Agricultural Economics and Plant Science from Cornell University and earned his MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. He is also a graduate of LEAD New York, the Empire State Food and Agricultural Leadership Institute, having served as President of its Board. Additionally, John is a past Director of the Northeast Agricultural Education Foundation. John lives in Wilbraham, MA with his wife Molly and their four children.
Patrick Coates is a Mortgage Specialist with the Country Living Program. He serves a territory that includes five counties in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes region of New York. Patrick started his career with Farm Credit East in 2012 in the Career Development Program, transitioning to a Credit Representative role in Hornell, NY in early 2015. Prior to joining the Country Living team in January 2016, Patrick worked in the Consumer Lending Division at NBT Bank.
Patrick received his B.S. in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University. He and his wife reside in Horseheads, NY.
Janyce Conner is a Payroll Specialist in our Claverack, NY branch office. In addition to payroll, she assists with farm records and taxes.
Janyce joined Farm Credit East in 2014 while she was still a full-time student. She graduated with a B.S. in Business Management and Economics from SUNY Empire State College. In her free time, Janyce enjoys spending her time with her husband and son.
Tom Cosgrove is Farm Credit East’s Vice President for Public Affairs and Knowledge Exchange. Before this position, Cosgrove worked in Farm Credit East’s Commercial Lending group, which manages a portfolio of loans in agriculture, food processing and marketing, forestry and fishing. Many of these loans are purchased from or sold to other farm credit institutions and commercial banks. In this role, Cosgrove also worked with Farm Credit East’s branch offices on business development, focusing on vertically integrated food and agricultural businesses and special projects related to local foods and food hubs.
Prior to joining Farm Credit East in 2007, Cosgrove worked for CoBank for nine years, in its agribusiness, communications and energy, and capital markets divisions. From 1991 to 1996, Cosgrove worked for Senator Patrick Leahy as a staff member for the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, where he worked on the 1996 Farm Bill, focusing on dairy issues. Cosgrove grew up on his family's dairy farm in Clinton, NY, graduating from Cornell University with a B.S. in Communications from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and received an MBA from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC.
Daryn Deveau is the Director of Information Security in the Enfield, Conn. branch office. Daryn has worked with Farm Credit East since 2004 starting as an appraiser in Auburn, Maine. In 2015, he took his current position in Enfield. Prior to joining the Farm Credit team, Daryn was a forester for a large timber management firm managing a GIS database for 800,000 acres of timberland.
Keith Dickinson is a Business Consultant with Farm Credit East, ACA, based in the Bridgeton, New Jersey branch office. His ‘regular’ territory includes all of New Jersey and the lower Hudson Valley region of New York, and works in other areas as needed to serve client needs. Keith works with farmers and other agricultural business owners to assist them with the planning and management of their businesses. Specific areas of focus for Keith’s consulting practice include business planning, profitability analysis, estate and farm succession planning, and business entity selection and management. Prior to his employment with Farm Credit East, Keith worked as an Agricultural Business Management Educator with Penn State Extension, and as a Farm Business Management Extension Agent with Virginia Cooperative Extension. Keith holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences and a Master’s Degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics, both from Virginia Tech. Keith is a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional, and has completed the Financial Planning Certificate program at Florida State University. Keith lives on the family grain and vegetable farm where he was raised in Stow Creek Township in Cumberland County, New Jersey. His wife, Yvonne and he have three young children; a three year old and newborn twins.
Lindsay Eckman started her career with Farm Credit East in January 2008 as a Financial Services Field Specialist in the Mayville, NY branch. She is now a Farm Business Advisor and does everything from records to payroll to taxes. Lindsay is involved her community through the Cornell Cooperative Extension as a member of the Agricultural Programming Committee and is also the chair for the Chautauqua County Farmer Neighbor Dinner Committee.
She lives with her husband, Mike, and their two kids Kendall and Austin.
Mike Fleming is a Senior Relationship Manager for CoBank and Farm Credit Leasing in the Northeast. He works with six Farm Credit Associations and several agriculture Cooperatives on leasing equipment, vehicles and facilities. Having started his career with agriculture leasing, Mike has also worked for Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase prior to coming to CoBank in 2012. He currently serves on the CoBank Dairy Center of Excellence Committee.
A native of southern New York, Mike holds a BS in Agriculture and Applied Economics from Cornell University. He lives in Southbury, Conn. with his wife and family.
Jeremy Forrett, Vice President/Assistant Manager of Crop Growers, LLP, headquartered in Homer, New York. Crop Growers, LLP is a crop insurance agency, owned by Farm Credit East, Yankee Farm Credit and AgChoice.
Crop Growers, LLP has created over 2,200 risk management plans with Northeast farmers. It is a leading provider of multi-peril crop insurance, revenue plan coverage, Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy and the whole farm revenue plan. The risk management plans that Crop Growers developed over the past 15 years have resulted in indemnity payments that exceed $275 million dollars back to Northeast farmers.
Jeremy began his crop insurance career at Crop Growers in 1997. He is a graduate of the Cornell LEAD New York Program, Class VIII. Jeremy, his wife Melissa and two children, Bailey and Emily, and reside in Cazenovia, New York.
Jean Gallagher is the Director of Recruiting and Training based in Enfield, CT. Jean’s experience with Farm Credit began as a Farm Credit Fellow with Cornell University and as a summer intern in 2008. After Jean graduated from Cornell in 2009, she started with Farm Credit East in the Career Development Program, transitioning to a Credit Representative role in Riverhead, NY for two years and then a Loan Officer role in Greenwich, NY for four years. Since Jean moved to the Human Resources team in 2015, she is responsible for managing our recruiting strategy and our employee training programs in addition to overseeing special projects.
During her time with Farm Credit East, Jean earned her Master’s in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University and MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. She is a current member of LEAD NY, Class 17.
Charles F. Gfeller is a Partner with the law firm of Seiger Gfeller Laurie LLP and is resident in the Firm’s West Hartford, CT office. His practice includes significant involvement with the insurance industry. As part of this, Charles has drafted and interpreted insurance policies, and he has worked with insurance brokers and insurers (both domestic and London-based) to develop, implement, and manage industry-specific insurance programs.
Charles’ firm has a full-service insurance practice, representing insurers in all aspects of their business. The Firm has offices in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. For more information about Charles or the Firm, please visit www.sgllawgroup.com.
Harrison grew up in Suffield, Conn. on a 75-cow dairy; a farm that has been in his family since 1647. He attended college at the University of Connecticut where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and Master’s in Ag Education. He then went on to direct the Suffield Regional Agriculture Center for 37 years before retiring.
Harrison has served as the superintendent of the Star Program for more than 30 years. He and his wife, Carol, have three children who have transformed their once dairy farm into a certified organic CSA operation.
Rick is a Farm Business Consultant in our Dayville, Conn. office. He holds a BS in Animal Science from the University of Connecticut.
Rick has 30 years experience in ag lending, farm appraisal and farm business consulting. For over 20 years, Rick has held sessions to train those interested in labor management, records keeping, budgeting, business planning, financial and feasibility analysis, succession planning, business benchmarking and more. He has also spent over 16 years consulting with individual clients on a similar range of topics.Rick owned an operated a dairy farm for over 30 years, which then converted to diversified agricultural retail including turkeys, chicken, pork, beef, misc. cash crops and agri-tourism.
Jason Hoagland is a Senior Loan Officer/ Assistant Branch Manager in the Enfield branch office. He has a B.S. in Resource Economics and MBA from the University of Connecticut. Jason was the 2013 Farm Credit East Outstanding Citizenship Award Winner and a 2010 Hartford Business Journal 40 under forty recipient.Jason resides in Windsor, CT with his wife, Allison and two children, Timothy and Brianna.
Robert Horne is currently a Vice President of Farm Credit East in Auburn, Maine. Rob has been a Farm Credit employee for over 22 years, after many years as a commercial lender at Fleet Bank (now Bank of America), Maine Savings Bank and the Farmers Home Administration (now FSA). He grew up on a 50 cow dairy in Winslow, Maine and is a graduate of the University of Maine with a B.S. in Agricultural Economics.
Rob’s territory in Maine has many small, beginning and part-time farmers, and he also provides financing for many fishing related businesses. He has served on various State of Maine councils relating to the fishing industry and currently serves on the Working Waterfront Review Panel for the Maine Department of Marine Fisheries. Rob also serves on many charitable boards and committees and is the former president of the Portland Ronald McDonald House. He is a past recipient of the Farm Credit East Outstanding Citizenship Award.
Rob resides in Gorham, Maine with his wife of 36 years. Their only son is happily married and resides in Bangor, Maine.
Carolyn Huff has 16 years of experience with Farm Credit East. She started as a loan officer and transitioned to financial services and now leads Farm Credit East’s financial services helping clients with everything from setting up accounting software to consulting on complex tax situations. She has a degree from the University of Connecticut in Agriculture and Resource Economics. She lives in Pomfret, CT with her husband and son where they raise beef cattle and hay.
Heather Hunt is Farm Credit East’s Knowledge Exchange and Communications Specialist. She assists in the research and development of reports and presentations to illustrate financial, economic and general agricultural information. She serves as the content manager for FarmCreditEast.com, coordinates Farm Credit East’s webinar series and also manages the cooperative’s blog and social media platforms. Since 2017, Heather has increased her involvement in video production to support employee, customer and industry engagement.
Heather grew up on her family’s Registered Holstein farm in central Massachusetts with her two older siblings, Jessica and James; the farm’s sixth generation. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and is a graduate of YDLI Class 10.
As a Tax Consultant and Enrolled Agent for Farm Credit East's Riverhead, NY office, Jamie has more than 14 years of agricultural accounting and tax expertise. She originates from a Virginia dairy farm and earned her degree in agribusiness from Delaware Valley College of Science and Agriculture. She also holds an M.B.A in accounting from Hofstra University.
Eric Kingsley is a partner in Innovative Natural Resource Solutions LLC (INRS), a natural resource industries consulting firm with offices in New Hampshire and Maine. Since joining INRS in 2000, he has worked with dozens of parties on the development of new forest industries, and often works to deploy or create unique financial tools to support the industry.
Wesley L. Kline is an Associate Professor of Agriculture and Resource Management at Rutgers University. He received his bachelor's degree in Human Relations from Salem College and went on to graduate from Cornell University with a M.S. in Vegetable Crops and later, Ph.D. in Vegetable Crops.
Part of Wesley's research includes microbial food safety on the farm as it relates to pathogens in soil, water and post-harvest handling. He collaborates with 300 growers and agribusiness personnel to carry out applied research and demonstrations that directly affect the growers’ livelihood. Has been recognized for many honors including Distinguished Service to Agriculture in New Jersey, recognition from the National Association of Country Agricultural Agents and multiple awards for his development and service as a professor, consultant, researcher and leader.
As an economist focusing on the dairy industry for CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division, Ben Laine produces insightful research on current and future risks and opportunities in the industry as well as long-range outlooks, providing a resource both to the bank internally and to customers of the bank.
Before coming to CoBank, Laine developed and managed hedging and risk management programs for dairy Agri-Mark and Cabot Cheese. After establishing these programs, he went on to develop innovative risk management programs and price forecasts for the cooperative’s member farms.
Laine has presented market outlooks at industry conferences, at co-op meetings, to large national retail dairy buyers across the country, for newspapers and on radio programs. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in resource economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
John Lehr has been with Farm Credit for over 27 years and has brought a strong financial background to his consulting position at Farm Credit East.
Throughout his time at Farm Credit, he has worked with many dairy, equine, timber, equipment dealer and farm related businesses. His experience includes expansion planning, budgeting, financial and production management, tax planning, entity selection, farm transfers and exit strategy planning.
Steve has a lifelong tie to the New Jersey agricultural community having grown up on a 70-cow dairy in northwest New Jersey. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from Rutgers University and is a 1999 graduate of the New Jersey Agricultural Leadership Development Program.
During Steve’s tenure with Farm Credit East, his responsibilities have included loan officer, business consultant and now, branch manager. He also serves as a trustee on the New Jersey Agricultural Society Board and chairs the committee for New Jersey Agricultural Leadership Development Program.
In addition, Gregg is the director of Farm Credit East’s Winery Benchmarks, a comprehensive program of farm and retail data analysis and financial reporting. The Winery Benchmarks also includes a customized seminar and consulting visit for owners of vineyards and wineries. A University of Maine graduate with a degree in animal science, Gregg pursues ongoing professional development in his fields of expertise. Gregg and his wife, Juanita, have four children.
Jenny Montalbano is Vice President and Branch Manager of Farm Credit East’s Mayville, NY office. She oversees a team of 12 specialists serving the credit and financial services needs of farms and ag-related businesses in the Mayville area.
Jenny has a lifelong tie to agriculture having grown up on a vegetable farm in northern Ohio. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture from The Ohio State University, a Masters Degree in Business Administration from The Pennsylvania State University and is a graduate of LeadNY.
Jenny has worked for Farm Credit East for over 16 years, first as loan officer, then certified general appraiser on Long Island, prior to moving to Western NY. She lives in Westfield, NY with her husband and two children.
Dr. Desmond O’Rourke is a native of Northern Ireland. He has undergraduate degrees in Classics from Queens University, Belfast, and in Commerce from University College, Dublin and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of California, Davis. He served on the Agricultural Economics faculty of Washington State University from 1970 to 2000 and headed their international marketing program from 1985 to 2000 when he moved to the private sector to set up his own consulting company, Belrose, Inc., world fruit market analysts. That company publishes annual reviews and special studies of global fruit markets.
Dr. O’Rourke is the author of over 200 publications and a frequent invited speaker and consultant around the world on various aspects of food marketing and international trade. He and his wife have three grown children and four grandchildren.
Rick is the senior appraiser in the Greenwich, NY Farm Credit office, where he has been for the past 25 years. During that time, he has taught appraisal at SUNY Cobleskill, served as a judicial hearing officer, served on the county planning board and is ranked 3.0 with the United States Tennis Association. Prior to that, he owned Catskill Appraisals, a real estate brokerage / forestry consulting / real estate appraisal company.
He is a graduate of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse and holds dual certifications as a Certified Forester and an Accredited Rural Appraiser. Rick lives outside Albany with his wife and family.
Erin Pirro has been helping farmers, large and small, make their businesses run better since 2001. As a Certified Agricultural Consultant for Farm Credit East with a background in agricultural economics, Erin's focus has been on benchmarking and profitability improvement because sustainability means economics, too!
Her work is centered on successfully coaching ag business clients to analyze their businesses from many angles in order to pinpoint methods to improve their management and profitability. Erin also works with farm families on succession and strategic business planning. In addition, she leads Farm Credit East’s Agricultural Retail Benchmarks, which is a comprehensive program of data analysis, comparison to industry standards and development of an action plan to take advantage of identified opportunities. Participants include owners and managers of farm stands and markets, garden centers, nurseries, agritourism operations, wineries and other ag retail businesses who network with like-minded, progressive business owners in the program.
At home, Erin's small family farm raises and markets sheep and wool products in southern New England.
Craig Pollock is the Branch Office Manager and Assistant Regional Manager based in the Sangerfield, NY office of Farm Credit East, ACA. He was a former member of the Board of Directors of the Northeast Cooperative Council and currently serves as President of Farm Credit East Cares. He holds a BS degree in Agriculture and a MS degree in Agricultural Economics, both from The Ohio State University. Craig has 31 years of experience with Farm Credit and enjoys being a strong proponent of Northeast agriculture.
Emili Ponte is a Loan Officer in Farm Credit East’s Claverack, NY office. Her experience in the diverse agricultural make-up of the Hudson Valley region has broadened her knowledge in all different agricultural industries such as dairy, cash crop, diversified crops and agricultural retail and knowledge and experience with all life stages of business from start-up to multi-generational farms. This knowledge helps her to work with farmers to create credit strategies that help businesses meet both short-term and long-term goals.
Emili is from Rhode Island where she grew up on fishing boats and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Business from SUNY Cobleskill.
Dave Pugh, Sr. Vice President, developed and oversees the Country Living program in all of Farm Credit East’s seven states. Country Living is a loan origination team focusing on lifestyle farmer and rural home lending. Dave started with Farm Credit in 1986 as a loan officer in the Cortland, NY office where he was promoted branch manager in 1992. In 1994, he moved to Cobleskill, NY to form what is now the Cobleskill branch and served as its branch manager. In 2005, Dave started the Country Living program and has served as its Director since inception.
Dave grew up on a small dairy farm in central New York. He graduated from SUNY Morrisville with an AAS in Animal Science and from Cornell University with a BS in Agricultural Economics. He is also a graduate of LEAD New York, class VIII and Farm Credit’s Management Development and Leadership Development Programs. Dave is married to his wife, Jody, and they have two grown children.
Now retired from Farm Credit East, Jim served as Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer. In this role, he provided executive leadership for all branch credit and financial services operations. He chaired the Association Credit Committee which acts on large and complex credit decisions, and also served on its Human Resource, Risk and Asset-Liability committees.
Jim started with Farm Credit in 1975 after earning a BS from the University of Massachusetts and MS from Iowa State University, both in Agricultural Economics. He served a wide variety of positions over his career, including new business development, business research, financial services, marketing, business planning and communications prior. He was initially employed by the former Farm Credit Banks of Springfield and in 1995 began working for Farm Credit East and its predecessor association. Jim serves as a Cooperator of Eastern States Exposition of West Springfield, MA as well as being active in the community of the small town in which he lives.
Jacob Raleigh started his career with Farm Credit East, ACA in 2013 and presently serves as a Credit Representative in the Dayville, CT office. He graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural and Resource Economics in 2013.
Jacob currently works with members throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island working to improve their businesses and make sure they have a viable source of working capital. He also serves as the coordinator for the association's FFA initiative which aims to strengthen relationships with both local FFA chapters and students.
Dr. Bradley Rickard
Brad Rickard is the Ruth and William Morgan Associate Professor of Applied Economics and Management. His teaching and research focus on the economic implications of policies, innovation, and industry-led initiatives in food and beverage markets. Results from his research have been highlighted by various media outlets including Buffalo News, The Economist, Freakonomics.com, National Public Radio, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Wine Spectator.
Professor Rickard's research program examines issues at the intersection of agricultural markets, food policy, and international trade. His research has assessed how markets for specialty crops respond to changes in nutrition and health information, food labeling practices, promotional efforts, agricultural policy reform, trade liberalization, and the introduction of new technologies. Current work is studying the economics of food waste and the effects of policy initiatives that might be used to mitigate food waste.
David Rifenburgh is a Farm Business Advisor in the Claverack, NY office of Farm Credit East. He specializes in suppling tax and business advisement as well as tax compliance services to clients. He is a Certified Financial Planner and has over 20 years of agricultural lending experience. David is a native of the Hudson Valley and holds a degree in Business Economics from SUNY Oneonta.
Emily Robertson is a Loan Officer in the Geneva New York branch of Farm Credit East. She manages a diverse credit portfolio, which includes dairy, wineries and vineyards, cash crop, and greenhouse operations. Emily began her career in 2007 after graduating from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science.
Emily grew up on a dairy farm in Delaware County, New York. She has a strong background in the dairy industry and agriculture has always been a passion of hers. She is currently the president of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Cayuga County.
Ethan Robertson is a Business Consultant for Farm Credit East based in Auburn, ME branch office. Ethan’s practice involves a variety of businesses including dairy, timber, potato and processing operations throughout Maine. Prior to joining Farm Credit east in 2014, Ethan was part owner in two insurance agencies- with an emphasis on agricultural risks.
Jill Robinson is Vice President and Manager of the Farm Credit East Financial Services Team in Greenwich, New York. Jill was raised on a dairy farm in upstate New York and graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Agricultural Economics. She began her career in Pine Plains, New York, 30 years ago learning tax and farm accounting from the local branch that started financial services in Farm Credit. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent and Tax Consultant and works with families on generational transfers and negotiating the increasing complex farm tax world. Jill is also a Farm Credit instructor, teaching and mentoring the next generation of Farm Credit Tax Specialists. She lives in Greenwich with her husband and two sons, 10 miles from the farm started by her ancestor 250 years ago.
Now retired, Bob served as Executive Vice President and Corporate Secretary of Farm Credit East. He directed the ACA’s business planning process and had responsibility for public policy, marketing and communications and Farm Credit East’s Knowledge Exchange program. He also served as staff resource for the Board Governance Committee.
Prior to Farm Credit East, Bob served as Vice President for Governmental Relations for CoBank and was responsible for CoBank's Washington, DC ofﬁce. Prior to CoBank, Bob worked as a Deputy Commissioner in the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets and Assistant Secretary to the Governor of New York. Before joining the Department of Agriculture and Markets, Bob worked for New York Farm Bureau. He is a graduate of Cornell University and LEAD NY.
Samantha Stoddard joined the Bedford, NH, branch of Farm Credit East in 2005, and is now a Loan Officer and a member of the FarmStart Investment Committee. Within these roles, she looks at how farmers can improve their businesses through expansion, consolidation or continuation of current methods.
Samantha grew up on a Registered Holstein farm in northern NH and attended nearby Dartmouth College, earning a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies. She volunteers for her hometown country fair every summer and is working to reduce her golf handicap.
Sarah Sweeney is a New York State Certified General Real Estate Appraiser based in Batavia, NY. In 2008, she joined the Farm Credit Fellow program through Cornell University and began her career with Farm Credit East in 2009. Since that time, Sarah has appraised all types of agricultural properties in western New York including; dairies, apple orchards, apple storage and packing facilities, cropland, grain storage, nurseries, greenhouses, rural commercial properties, rural residences and many more.
Sarah has been a member of the farm community her whole life growing up on her family’s farm in Monroe County, NY which has been in operation since 1812. They have diversified over the years with a grain farm, agritourism operation and a heifer boarding facility. She now lives on a small farm in Pavilion, NY with her husband and kids.
Mike Van Amburgh
Mike Van Amburgh is a Professor in the Department of Animal Science at Cornell University where he has a dual appointment in teaching and research. His undergraduate degree is from The Ohio State University and his Ph.D. is from Cornell University.
He teaches multiple courses and leads the Cornell Dairy Fellows Program, an experiential learning program focused on engaging students in both regional and global aspects of the dairy industry, primarily related to integrating business, biology and decision making. Mike advises approximately 50 undergraduate students and is the advisor for the Cornell University Dairy Science Club. In addition, Mike also leads the development of the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System, a nutrition evaluation and formulation model used worldwide and through that effort is focused on enhancing the efficiency of nutrient use by ruminants to improve the environmental impact of animal food production. He has authored and co-authored over 80 journal articles and many conference proceedings and is the recipient of several awards including the American Dairy Science Associate Foundation Scholar Award, the Land O’Lakes Teaching and Mentoring Award from ADSA, the AFIA Award for Research, the CALS Professor of Merit Award and the CALS Distinguished Advisor Award.
Mike's wife Elisa is a cheesemaker for her own business. Together, they have two daughters.
Larry Van De Valk
Larry Van De Valk is Executive Director of the Empire State Food and Agricultural Leadership Institute, or LEAD New York, a two-year leadership development program for adult professionals in the food, agricultural and natural resource industries. Van De Valk is also a Senior Extension Associate in the Community and Regional Development Institute (CaRDI), part of the Department of Development Sociology at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University.
Larry earned a PhD in Adult and Extension Education, MA in Teaching and BS in Agricultural & Biological Engineering, all from Cornell, as well as an AAS in Forestry from Paul Smiths College. He has published several articles in refereed journals, and his research interests are in the areas of leadership development theory, program evaluation, and the social capital building effect of leadership development initiatives. Larry is the recipient of the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service and the International Association of Programs for Agricultural Leaders Outstanding Leadership Program Director Award.
Harold van Es
Harold van Es is a Professor and former Chair of the Section of Soil and Crop Sciences at Cornell University. He received degrees from the University of Amsterdam, Iowa State University and North Carolina State University. He works on approaches to precision nitrogen management (Adapt-N), soil health, and space-time statistics. He was the 2016 President of the Soil Science Society of America, and is a Fellow of the SSSA and the American Society of Agronomy.
Since 2011, Gretchen has been the coordinator for the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) and supports the PSA team by organizing the development process of the PSA's curriculum materials and training programs, facilitating national collaboration between Land Grant institutions and educators, produce trade associations, grower organizations, and regulatory officials, and by providing technical assistance to produce growers and the produce industry at large. Gretchen is also an active member of the National Good Agricultural Practices Program team and assists in workshop development, delivery, and outreach efforts for on-farm food safety to fruit and vegetable farmers in New York as well as in the Northeast in association with the Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety (NECAFS).
Previously, Gretchen assisted in developing educational materials and outreach efforts to help guide Colorado produce growers in the implementation of farm food safety programs in preparation for buyer driven third party audits. Beyond produce safety, Gretchen has a diverse background in food science and food systems, including trouble-shooting supply chain distribution food quality and safety issues, food product development and sensory science, and food microbiology.
Gretchen received her Master of Science degree in the Interdisciplinary Food Science/Food Safety Program at Colorado State University and her Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science from Pennsylvania State University.
Paul Webster started with Farm Credit East in 1993 as an intern in the Geneseo, New York office and then began his career the following year as a Credit Representative in Geneseo. In 1995, Paul moved to Warsaw, New York and then to Batavia, New York in 2003 as part of office consolidations. Today, Paul is still involved with credit and holds the position of Portfolio Manager in the Batavia office. He obtained his BS from Cornell University in 1994.
Paul's hobbies include woodworking, building, traveling and he is also a Cub Scout leader. His wife, Rachel, is an elementary teacher and they have two children.
Patrick Westhoff is the director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri–Columbia and a professor in the MU department of agricultural and applied economics. He has degrees from the University of Iowa and the University of Texas, and a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Iowa State University.
He served in the Peace Corps in Guatemala, and was an economist with the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry before joining MU in 1996.
Kirk Williams is a native of the paradise island of Jamaica. He is a graduate of Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Jamaica. In 2000, he moved to the United States and started a career in public accounting. He’s been with Farm Credit since 2007. Kirk specializes in providing options and solutions that help business owners navigate the complex tax system and accomplish their business and personal goals.
Kirk and his lovely wife, Rochelle, are the proud parents of two awesome boys, Daniel Joseph and David Jesse.
Ryan Willits is a Training Associate based in Enfield, CT. Ryan began as an intern with Farm Credit East in 2015 and now works to design and further develop Farm Credit East's many internal training programs.
Outside of training and development, he works to strengthen Farm Credit East's relationship with youth agricultural program, such as the National FFA organization. Ryan holds a Bachelors in Agricultural Education.
A native of southern France, Dr. Winter joined the Agricultural Business Management team at SUNY Cobleskill in 2014. She received a Masters degree in Agribusiness from Illinois State University and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Arizona State. Her teaching interests include food systems, marketing, small business development and entrepreneurship. Dr. Winter is faculty advisor for the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA), a student organization that competes nationally each year in marketing plan competitions.
Jessica Ziehm, Executive Director of the New York Animal Agriculture Coalition (NYAAC) has been a lifelong advocate for agriculture. She specializes in creative and effective public relations to enhance the public’s understanding of and appreciation for animal agriculture and modern farm practices in New York State through preemptive programs and advocacy work. Her enthusiasm for the dairy industry is contagious, and she has received many awards in her lifetime for her work in agricultural promotion, education and leadership.
Jessica and her husband, Stuart, have two children.
Bill Zweigbaum is Vice President and Business Consultant at Farm Credit East. He provides services to Farm Credit East’s client-members by helping families meet their personal goals. This is accomplished through a combination of applying analytic skills, family facilitation and knowledge of production practices, taxation and human resource management to their situations. His consulting practice focuses on business diversification, farm transfers, expansion and profit-maximizing strategies. Bill spends a significant portion of his time overseeing Farm Credit East's Success Strategies Dairy Benchmarks program. He serves as the Northeast U.S. representative to the International Farm Comparison Network.
He is a Certified Agricultural Consultant with the American Society of Agricultural Consultants and is the past-president of the organization. Prior to working for Farm Credit East, Bill was an Associate Extension Educator at the University of New Hampshire. His experience also includes 19 years of production agriculture, managing both a dairy farm and an apple orchard with a retail farm stand.