Association Board Adds Four New Members

new boardAt its meeting Oct. 26 at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Acting President Jim Chamberlin and the SFA association Board of Directors elected three new at-large board members and welcomed a new South Central Chapter representative.

Elected to the three at-large positions were Liz Morris Otto, Betsy Wieland and Dale Woodbeck. The new South Central Chapter representative is Tom Ehrhardt.

The new board members bring a diverse mix of experience, influence and expertise.

“SFA has grown as an organization in recent years,” said SFA Executive Director John Mesko. “In its wisdom, the Board of Directors has realized the need for a broader set of connections and skills, and has added three new at-large positions. The people the board has filled these positions with are going to be great assets to our organization and to sustainable agriculture.”

Tom Ehrhardt and his brother Mac own and operate Albert Lea Seed. His focus is actively working with growers of native grass and forb seed for conservation projects along with marketing farm and field seeds throughout the Upper Midwest. Tom is in the process of restoring 10 acres to native habitat and is an active bee keeper.

Liz Morris Otto is currently Chief Garden Officer for Haberman, a Minneapolis-based integrated marketing agency that tells the stories of pioneers who make a difference in the world. As CGO, Liz oversees the management of Haberman’s employer-sponsored garden on her farm in Delano. By design, the garden promotes an appreciation for rural farmers and organic, locally produced food among Haberman’s 40 urban professionals. Liz’s role is an outgrowth of her tenure with Haberman. In myriad of positions – from account executive to partner – she’s told stories of brands that connect with her own passions, including Organic Valley, Lundberg Family Farms, Annie’s Homegrown, Volvo Cars of North America, and polar explorers Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen. She is passionate about supporting her local community, helping to lead a local 4-H club, the Crow River Connect the Dots group, and marketing/fundraising initiatives at her children’s school.

Betsy Wieland is Center Program Manager for University of Minnesota Extension’s Center for Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences, providing resources and leadership to Extension faculty across the state. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science at University of Wisconsin, and Master’s degree in Agronomy at the University of Minnesota. She was a county agriculture extension educator for nine years, working with farms of all types. At home in Stillwater she enjoys her vegetable garden, horses, quilting, spending time with her husband (Paul) and toddler son (Toby), and daydreaming of quitting her job to farm.

Dale Woodbeck is general manager of Lakewinds Co-op and is Board Chair at MISA. He is also a board member at the Organic Processing Institute and a lifetime SFA member.