Administrative Council

NCR-SARE is a USDA-funded grant program whose mission is to strengthen communities, increase farmer/rancher profitability, and improve the environment by supporting research and education.

NCR-SARE’s Administrative Council is responsible for the operation of the NCR-SARE program by appointing a host institution, defining policy, issuing calls for grant proposals, and making decisions about funding proposals.

The NCR-SARE Administrative Council sets program priorities, approves the budget and makes proposal funding decisions for all grant programs. The twenty members fill designated slots for three-year terms, a maximum of two terms.  Position openings are advertised via press releases, and current AC members elect new members from nominations. Council members are expected to attend Council meetings (in-person February and July, throughout the region), review proposals and other materials distributed between meetings, and participate in NCR-SARE committees and occasional between-meeting conference calls.

Recommendations and self-nominations are welcome. To nominate yourself for a seat on the NCR-SARE Administrative Council, check with the NCR-SARE office to see which positions are open, and then submit the following information using our online form.

Marisol Berti
NDSU Department of Plant Sciences
NDSU Dept. 7670
PO Box 6050
Fargo, North Dakota 58108-6050
166 Loftsgard Hall 270A
Phone: 701.231.6110
E-mail: Marisol.Berti@ndsu.edu
Sector: Ag Experiment Station
Area of expertise: Forage and Biomass Crop Production
Term: Started in 2021; Expires 2024, Marisol is eligible for re-nomination

Julie Doll
W.K. Kellogg Biological Station
Michigan State University
3700 East Gull Lake Drive
Hickory Corners, Michigan 49060
Phone: 269.671.2266
Email: jedoll@msu.edu
Sector: At Large University Representative
Area of expertise: Grassland ecology; Pasture management; Communicating on changing climate conditions
Term: Started 2018; Re-elected; Expires 2024; AC Vice Chair

Miranda Duschack
Regional Small Farm Specialist
Lincoln University Cooperative Extension
4736 Tennessee Ave
Saint Louis, Missouri, 63111
Phone: 314‐604‐3403
Email: miranda.duschack@gmail.com
Sector: Representative of a minority-serving college or university – 1890 institution
Area of expertise: Small farms, Urban farms, Community engagement
Term: Started 2021; Expires 2024; Miranda is eligible for re-nomination

Jennifer Filipiak
Driftless Area Land Conservancy
206 S. Iowa St., PO Box 323,
Dodgeville, Wisconsin 53533
Phone: 608.930.3252
Email: jennifer@driftlessconservancy.org
Sector: Nonprofit
Area of expertise: Conservation; Soil health
Term: Started 2018; Re-elected; Expires 2024

Jamie Good
North Dakota Department of Agriculture
600 East Boulevard Ave., Dept. 602
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505-0020
Phone: 701.226.7337
Email: jgood@nd.gov
Sector: Department of Agriculture
Area of Expertise: Local Foods; Marketing
Term: Started in 2016; Re-elected; Expires 2022

Mary Hendrickson
University of Missouri
College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources
135 Mumford Hall
Columbia, Missouri 65211
Phone: 573.882.7463
Email: HendricksonM@missouri.edu
Sector: Sociology
Area of Expertise: Community Food Systems; Sociology
Term: Started 2020; Expires 2023; Mary is eligible for re-nomination

Doug Jones
Regional Agriculture Advisor
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region 7
11201 Renner Boulevard
Lenexa, Kansas 66219
Phone: 913.551.7592
Email: jones.doug@epa.gov
Sector: EPA
Area of expertise: Environmental Protection and Policy
Term: Started 2020; Expires 2023; Doug is eligible for re-nomination

Kim Kroll
USDA SARE
1122 Patapsco Building
University of Maryland
College Park, Maryland 20742-6715
Phone: 301.405.9912
Email: kkroll@sare.org
Sector: SARE Associate Director
Area of expertise: Agronomy; Cropping Systems
Term: Indefinite; Kim started as Associate SARE Director in 1996

Andy Larson
Farm Outreach Specialist
Food Finance Institute
432 N. Lake St., Room 431
Madison, WI 53706
Phone: 608.265.0621
Email: andrew.larson@business.wisconsin.edu
Sector: Agribusiness
Area of Expertise: Small Farms; Business Planning; Entrepreneurship
Term: Started 2021; Expires 2024; Andy is eligible for re-nomination

Amber Marlow
Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College
13466 W Trepania Road
Hayward, Wisconsin 54843
Phone: 715.634.4790 Ext 156
Email: marlowa@lco.edu
Sector: Representative of a minority-serving college or university – 1994 institution
Area of Expertise: 1994 Tribal Land-Grant Colleges and Universities; Youth Education; Extension
Term: Started 2016; Re-elected; Expires 2022

Katie Nixon
Green Gate Family Farm
15197 Highway B
Wheatland, Missouri 65779
Phone: 816.809.5074
Email: katherine.m.nixon@gmail.com
Sector: Farmer/Rancher At Large (Missouri)
Area of Expertise: Diversified Production; Organic Production; Direct Marketing
Term: Started in 2018; Re-Elected; Expires 2024; AC Chair

Eliezer Ortiz-Barbosa
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Franklin Co Field Office, Columbus Service Center
Suite 164 N, 1550 Old Henderson Rd
Columbus, OH 43220
Phone: 614.459.4225 Ext. 4065 
Email: eliezer.ortiz@usda.gov
Sector: NRCS
Area of Expertise: Soil Health, Natural Resources
Term: Started in 2021; Expires 2024; Eliezer is eligible for re-nomination

Shannon Osborne
Research Agronomist
North Central Agriculture Research Laboratory
2923 Medary Avenue
Brookings, South Dakota 57006
Phone: 605.693.5234
Email: shannon.osborne@usda.gov
Sector: ARS
Area of Expertise: Soil Fertility; Plant Nutrition
Term: Started in 2016; Re-elected; Expires 2022

Vance Owens
USDA SARE
USDA-NIFA Beacon Complex
Kansas City, Missouri
Email: Vance.Owens@usda.gov
Sector: SARE National Program Leader
Area of expertise:  Agronomy; Plant Science    
Term: Indefinite; Vance started as SARE National Program Leader in 2020

Donna Pearson McClish
Common Ground Producers and Growers
2250 N. Rock Rd., Suite 118-130
Wichita, Kansas 67226
Phone: 316.200.1397
Email: commongroundpg@gmail.com
Sector: Farmer/Rancher At Large (Kansas)
Area of expertise: Urban Production; Food Systems
Term: Started in 2021; Expires in 2024; Donna eligible for re-nomination

Sherman Reed
5818 Naomi Rd
Eau Claire, MI 49111
Phone: 602.748.5679
Email: blk_farmer@msn.com
Sector: Farmer/Rancher At Large (Michigan)
Area of Expertise: Organic Production; Natural Resources; Grains
Term: Started in 2019; Expires 2022; Sherman is eligible for re-nomination

Jason Rowntree
Michigan State University Extension
2265G Anthony Hall, E3774 University Dr
Chatham, MI 49816
Email: rowntre1@msu.edu
Sector: Technical Committee
Area of Expertise: Animal Science; Livestock
Term: Indefinite. Started in 2019

Mike Schmitt
University of Minnesota
College of Food Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
277 Coffey Hall
1420 Eckles Ave
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55108
Phone: 612.625.7098
Email: schmi009@umn.edu
Sector: NCR Extension Director’s representative, regional, at-large
Area of Expertise: Agronomy; Soils
Term: Started 2012; Re-elected; Expires 2022

Stephanie Singer
210 Clinton Street
Defiance, Ohio 43512
Phone: 419.782.0652
Email: stephanie.singer@tnc.org
Sector: Non-profit, Regional, At-large
Area of Expertise: Water Quality; Conservation; Outreach
Term: Started in 2019; Expires in 2022; Stephanie is eligible for re-nomination

Matthew Streeter
Iowa Geological Survey
340C Trowbridge Hall
Iowa City, Iowa 52242
Phone: 319.335.1593
Email: matthew-streeter@uiowa.edu
Sector: National or State Geological Survey
Area of Expertise: Soil Health; Water Quality
Term: Started in 2017; Re-elected; Expires 2023

Dave Welsch
146 County Road 1900
Milford, Nebraska 68405
Phone: 402.826.9691
Email: dwelsch@westbluefarm.com
Sector: Farmer/Rancher At Large (Nebraska)
Area of Expertise: Organic Production; Livestock; Holistic Management
Term: Started in 2019; Expires in 2022; Dave is eligible for re-nomination

Administrative Council Committees

Each Administrative Council (AC) member is encouraged to be actively involved with at least one NCR-SARE Committee. “Official” committees are self-organized, but committees – especially ones that receive NCR-SARE financial resources – are expected to get approval for their membership rotation and officer selection process from the AC, and they are expected to report to the AC at least once per year. Most NCR-SARE committees have at least 50% of their members on the AC; non-AC members can be staff, NCR-SARE alumni, or others who can contribute to the committee’s work.

Current NCR-SARE committees:

  • Alumni Steering Committee: This recently formed committee will help form an NCR-SARE Alumni Organization. The current plan is that the Alumni Organization would be somewhat independent of the NCR-SARE Administrative Council, but would report to and could request funds (used for purposes that meet NIFA and host guidelines) each year from the NCR-SARE AC.
  • Communications Advisory Group: This committee advises the NCR-SARE Communication Specialist on communications issues.
  • Executive Committee (EC): This committee acts on behalf of the AC between AC meetings. It consists of the AC Chair, AC vice chair, TC Chair, two at-large members of the AC, Regional Coordinator (to serve as non-voting, ex-officio member), and the PDP Coordinator (to serve as non-voting, ex-officio member). The AC elects the two at-large members each year; the nominating committee appointed by the AC chair presents a slate of candidates. Once a vice-chair is elected, he or she rotates to chair after a two-year term. Members are elected from AC membership. It is the intention to seek to reflect the diversity of the AC by including representation from Extension, experiment station, farmer-rancher, and at large members. The EC will regularly share information with the AC.
  • Farmer Rancher Grant Review Committee: This committee reviews Farmer Rancher grant proposals (currently about 140) and prepares a list of recommended proposals for the AC to consider funding (currently about  40). Membership consists of the farmers and rancher representatives on the AC, and a few farmers and ranchers from throughout the NCR. Part of the committee rotates off each year and the FRG Coordinator recruits new members.
  • Graduate Student Review Committee: This committee is composed of AC volunteers with some external reviewers.  They review proposals submitted in response to NCR-SARE’s call for graduate student proposals (currently about 50) and make funding recommendations to the AC. NCR-SARE currently funds about 20 Graduate Student projects per year.
  • Nominating Committee: This committee’s purpose is to help identify and recruit members for the AC and Executive Committee with special attention being given to limited resource and socially disadvantaged audiences.
  • Partnership Grant Program Committee: This committee consists of AC volunteers with some external reviewers. They issue the call for    proposals and reviews the incoming proposals for the Partnership Grant Program. They recommend proposals to the AC for funding.
  • Professional Development Program (PDP) Review Committee: This committee, which consists of AC volunteers and one or two non-AC members recruited by the PDP Coordinator. The committee reviews the PDP competitive grant proposals and recommends a list of proposals for funding to the AC (NCR-SARE funds about 10 PDP competitive grant projects per year). The committee also reviews annual reports and proposed Plans of Work submitted by the NCR State Coordinators and recommends funding to the AC.
  • SARE Operations Committee: This is the committee that makes overall policy and budget decisions for SARE. Membership consists of the Chapter 1 Coordinator for each SARE Region, one Regional PDP Coordinator (elected by the other Regional PDP Coordinators), representatives of several Federal agencies that SARE works with, representatives from the national SARE office and NIFA, and members of each SARE Region’s AC. In the NCR, the AC Chair is the AC representative.
  • SARE Outreach Steering Committee: The SARE Outreach Steering Committee provides input on all aspects of SARE’s national outreach efforts, including budget development, publication topics, outreach priorities, and long-range planning. Committee members are drawn from around the country to represent the diversity of U.S. agriculture. The regional Communications Specialist serves on this committee, and each regional Administrative Council selects one member to serve on this committee.
  • Technical Committee (TC): This committee is specified in the legislation establishing SARE. In the NCR, this approximately 20-person committee reviews Research & Education full grant proposals (currently about 35) and prepares a recommended list of technically acceptable proposals for the AC to consider funding. Terms are three years. NCR-SARE currently allocates about $3.5 million annually for the R&E grant program and funds about 14 projects per year. The Technical Committee chair has a seat on ex officio seat on the AC. Two additional AC members volunteer to serve two-year terms on the TC.
  • Youth Educator Committee: This committee is composed of AC volunteers and some external reviewers. They review Youth Educator Grant Program proposals and recommend proposals to the AC for funding. They also engage in outreach for Youth Educators.

Administrative Council Nominations

NCR-SARE seeks nominees for the seats on its Administrative Council on an annual basis.

Council members must be from one of the 12 states that comprise the North Central SARE region. Those states are IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, and WI.

The term for each of these SARE Administrative Council slots is three years. Council members attend two meetings a year, typically 2-3 day meetings in July and Feb./March at various Midwest locations, and also participate in a few conference calls each year. Travel expenses are fully covered for travel to Administrative Council meetings. Nominees should have a basic understanding of sustainable agriculture and be comfortable with reviewing grant proposals and participating in a group decision-making process.

To nominate yourself for a seat on the NCR-SARE Administrative Council, check with the NCR-SARE office to see which positions are open, and then submit the following information using our online form.

  • the nominee’s areas of interest or focus in sustainable agriculture
  • why the nominee is interested in serving on NCR-SARE’s Administrative Council
  • the nominee’s experience, affiliations and/or qualifications

Nominations should be submitted online. We will acknowledge receipt of the materials and send a reply regarding the outcome of the election.

NCR-SARE is one of four regional offices that run the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, a nationwide grants and education program to advance sustainable innovation to American agriculture. Since 1988, NCR-SARE has awarded more than $40 million worth of competitive grants to farmers and ranchers, researchers, educators, public and private institutions, nonprofit groups, and others exploring sustainable agriculture in 12 states. The SARE program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture — National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA).