Board of Directors
Senior Vice President: Beginning Farmer Programs and Outreach, Farm Credit Council
Gary Matteson works for the trade organization of the Farm Credit System in Washington, DC as Senior Vice President, Beginning Farmer Programs and Outreach. This includes policy work on local foods, sustainable agriculture, and direct-to-consumer agriculture. Until recently, Gary was a small farmer operating a greenhouse business in New Hampshire growing anemones for the wholesale cut flower market and raising beef cattle. Gary also serves on the board of the Boston Flower Exchange, Inc., the premier wholesale flower market in the Northeast. A former agricultural entrepreneur, Matteson has served on the board of directors of his local Farm Credit lending cooperative. He holds a BS in Agronomy and a BA in Biology from the University of Connecticut. He has more than 30 years of experience in the farming and agriculture industry.
General Charles Kruse
Brigadier General, Missouri National Guard (retired)
Past President, Missouri Farm Bureau Federation
Charlie Kruse received a BS in Agronomy from Arkansas State University in 1967, and a Master of Science in Plant Genetics in 1974 from the University of Missouri. Charlie was appointed by Governor Kit Bond to the University of Missouri Board Of Curators in 1983 and in 1985 Governor John Ashcroft appointed him as Director of Agriculture for the State of Missouri. In 1992 he was elected President of the Missouri Farm Bureau, and he held that position until he retired in 2010. During that time he served on the American Farm Bureau Board of Directors as well as the Executive Committee. In 1966, he enlisted in Dexter’s 1221nd Army National Guard Company as a Private. His military career spanned 26 years and he retired with the rank of Brigadier General.
Vice President, National Farmers Union
Donn Teske is a fifth generation farmer from Northeastern Kansas in Pottawatomie County. His farm has been a certified OCIA organic operation. Donn and his wife raise Soybeans, Grain Sorghum, Red Clover, Wheat, Oats, etc. Currently, Donn is on his twelfth year as Kansas Farmers Union president. He previously worked for the Kansas Rural Center for five years and also for Kansas State University Ag Econ as a farm analyst for five years. In the summer of 2010 he had the opportunity to work with the village of Keur Ali Gueye in Senegal Africa on their millet production. Don currently sits on the board for National Farmers Union board of Directors, Ks. Rural Center executive board, Kansas North Central SARE advisory board, Midwest Agency Insurance board of directors, Ogallala Commons advisory board, (Formerly) Governors Wind Energy working group, KHCC executive board, Kansas Graziers Association executive board, BAAC advisory board, North Central Region SARE Advisory committee, and Farmer & Rancher Advisory board to the EPA.
Founder/President, Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo, Inc.
Founder, Farm Fuel, Inc.
Larry Jacobs has extensive experience as a grower/shipper of organic produce. He and his wife Sandra Belin, founded Jacobs Farm in 1980, a successful northern California organic farming operation, specializing in culinary herbs. In 1986, they launched Del Cabo, with a unique vision for social change and sustainability. Through the teaching of organic growing practices and by providing funding, management and organizational skills, Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo connects over 1,200 family farms in Mexico with North American consumers, bringing economic opportunities to individuals in eight communities. Larry recently started Farm Fuel Inc., and shortly after, Jacobs and Belin were awarded the prestigious Organic Trade Association’s (OTA) 2007 Organic Farming Leadership Award. Larry is on the board of Peninsula Open Space Trust protecting open space, farms and parkland in and around Silicon Valley and served on San Mateo County Agricultural Advisory Board from 2005 to 2012.
Bill Field, EdD
Executive Director, National AgrAbility Project
Purdue University, Department of Agricultural & Biological Engineering
William Field received his BS from the State University College at Buffalo, New York, and his MA and Ed.D from the University of Minnesota. He began as extension safety specialist and assistant professor in Agricultural Engineering at Purdue in 1977. Bill provides leadership for both the department and Purdue University’s agricultural health and safety programs. He also supervises the Breaking New Ground Outreach Program. Bill received the first Hoosier Safety Council Award in 1987, the USDA Superior Service Award in 1989, and the Eric G. Sharvelle Distinguished Extension Specialist Award in 1989. He also received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Agricultural Editor’s Association and in 2002, he received the Sagamore of the Wabash from Indiana’s Governor. In 2004 he was the recipient of the M.L. King Spirit of Justice Award for his work with farm families impacted by disability.
Tasha Hargrove, PhD
Research Associate Professor, Tuskegee University
Tasha M. Hargrove has more than 10 years of experience working with small and limited resource farmers. She began work as the Assistant to the Dean for Outreach in the College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences at Tuskegee University in 2012. Tasha has helped to develop outreach and service programs that focus on the sustainability of small farmers and rural communities. Tasha is a retired MSgt in the United States Air Force Reserves. She served 22 distinguished years as a Health Services Support Specialist. She received a BS in Ag Economics from Fort Valley State University in 1994, a MS in Ag Economics from Tuskegee University in 1997, and a PhD in Ag Extension Education from Iowa State University in 2002.
Director of Spokane Conservation District & Vets on the Farm
Vicki Carter currently serves as the Director of the Spokane Conservation District. Her management experience includes over 25 years in human resource management, accounting and financial management, project and program development, and governmental insurance programs. She serves a board of directors in an agriculturally based county and provides input to policy and legislative matters at local and state levels. Vicki is active in the veteran community of Spokane through her work as Director of Vets on the Farm. VOTF has gained statewide and national attention by emphasizing the growing need to fill a gap in our agricultural production with Veterans ready for a new mission. Vets on the Farm provides training and employment opportunities in seven Eastern Washington counties. Vicki was instrumental in the formation of the Farmer Veteran Coalition Washington State Chapter and was recently appointed to the national Farmer Veteran Coalition Board of Directors.
Vice President, Sales Operations, Supply Chain, and Parts, Kubota Tractor Corporation
Alex Woods currently serves as Vice President, Sales Operations, Supply Chain, and Parts at Kubota Tractor Corporation in Grapevine, TX. With over 25 years of experience in the equipment industry, Woods has held positions ranging from Parts Sales Manager to Territory Manager to District Sales Manager. This breadth of service has provided valuable insight from both the front line support of dealers and consumers to strategic level leadership of a nearly $4 billion equipment manufacturer. In his current role, Alex is responsible for streamlining operations across all four of Kubota’s divisions in the U.S. in an effort to better support Kubota dealers and customers. He holds a BS in Agriculture from Ohio State University and achieved the rank of E5 during his 8 years of service in the Army Reserve/National Guard. Alex has been involved in the Kubota Geared to Give partnership with the Farmer Veteran Coalition since its inception in 2015 with the aim to provide financial support and donated Kubota equipment to U.S. military veterans pursuing a future in farming.
Owner and Operator, Oregon Trail Farm
Ken DeVan served 28 years in the U.S. Army with numerous worldwide deployments, 11 duty stations, and three combat tours in the Middle East. He is owner/operator, Oregon Trail Farm, L.L.C., a sustainable berry farm and apiary located along the original trailhead of the Oregon Trail. Ken is the current President of Farmer Veteran Coalition of Kansas, a not-for-profit veteran organization that helps cultivate a new generation of farmers and food leaders, that develop viable employment and meaningful careers through the collaboration of the farming and military communities. He is the Outreach Coordinator and Board of Directors member of the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame, providing executive-level leadership to the first Congressionally Chartered agricultural organization located in Bonner Springs, Kansas.
President, Vermont Chapter of Farmer Veteran Coalition
Mark Bowen is a disabled Army Veteran who served one tour in the Middle East and is currently serving in the Vermont Army National Guard. He owns and operates Meadowdale Farm in his home state of Vermont with his wife and son. They are a diversified traditional hill-farm operation raising pastured meats, eggs, hay, maple, and forest products that’s been in operation since 1999. Mark was an integral part in the founding of the Vermont Chapter of Farmer Veteran Coalition, one of the FVC’s first Chapters. Mark has served on its board since its founding and has increased membership, on-farm trainings, and mentorship opportunities.