KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Agriculture Future of America is pleased to welcome four new directors to its board and two new employees to the team.

“AFA’s newest directors represent the variety of stakeholders we serve,” said Mark Stewart, AFA president and CEO. “Some represent companies that are longtime AFA partners and others represent organizations that are more recent partners. All are essential in our mission to build bridges for young leaders to foster engagement and innovation in food and agriculture.”

New directors include Teddy Bekele, Land O’Lakes, Inc.; Abe Hughes, Trimble Inc.; Shelly Phalen, Smithfield Foods; and Joel Mathiowetz, Mathiowetz Family Farms. AFA’s board meets three times annually to provide strategic and fiduciary oversight and guidance for the organization.

“We are pleased to welcome the new directors to our board,” Stewart said. “We are excited for the leadership and perspective they will add to our organization.”

Recently retiring from the board are Kevin Eye, Land O’Lakes, Inc., and Pete Goetzman, Archer Daniels Midland Company. Both leaders have volunteered many hours, providing essential leadership and insight to the organization.

“The time and talent Pete and Kevin invested in AFA has made a significant difference to our organization,” Stewart said. “As AFA has grown and matured, their insight and direction has helped us make pivotal decisions. I am personally thankful for their service.”

The AFA board members are recognized leaders from food and agricultural corporations, educational institutions, associations, trade media and production agriculture. In total, the bylaws of the organization allow for 18 seated directors, which are divided into three classes, as well as lifetime directors and a representative from the AFA Alliance, AFA’s young professional group.

In addition to these board changes, AFA has also hired two new program managers. Betsy Smith serves as the manager of AFA’s scholarship program and Emily Schuckenbrock will manage program design and execution for AFA’s collegiate programs. Both are recent graduates of the University of Missouri-Columbia and alumni of AFA’s collegiate leader development.

AFA Board of Directors

Camille Abrams, CHS Inc.

Jay Akridge, Purdue University

Travis Becton, John Deere

Teddy Bekele, Land O’Lakes Inc.

Daren Coppock, Agricultural Retailers Association

Rolando Flores, New Mexico State University

Abe Hughes, Trimble Inc.

Scott Kay, BASF

Ruth Kimmelshue, Cargill Inc.

Joel Mathiowetz, Mathiowetz Family Farms

David Nothmann, Valent U.S.A. LLC

Rodney Patterson, Farm Credit

Shelly Phalen, Smithfield Foods

Steve Reno, Corteva Agrisciences, DowDuPont

Gwyn Schramm, Bayer

Mark Stewart, Agriculture Future of America

Amanda Spoo, U.S. Wheat Associates, AFA Alliance

Wes Uhlmeyer, AFA alumnus

Megan Weidner, Bunge North America

Lifetime Members

Sandy Kemper, C2FO

J. Mariner Kemper, UMB Financial Corporation

L. Joshua Sosland, Sosland Publishing Company

Russell Weathers, Agriculture Future of America

About AFA

AFA builds bridges for young leaders to foster engagement and innovation in food and agriculture. With program participation increasing 30% in the last five years, AFA leader development programs have impacted 19,000 college leaders and young professionals from more than 200 colleges and universities throughout 43 states since its inception in 1996. AFA has awarded more than $9 million in academic and leader development scholarships. For more information about AFA, visit www.agfuture.org or contact Megan Karlin at megan.karlin@agfuture.org.

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