NCR-SARE Welcomes New Coordinator for Farmer Rancher and Youth Educator Programs

March 21, 2024
Liz Brownlee, NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher and Youth Educator Program Coordinator

NCR-SARE is pleased to announce Liz Brownlee's appointment as the new Coordinator for the Farmer Rancher and Youth Educator Grant Programs. Brownlee, who was born and raised in Indiana, brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to this role. 

Brownlee grew up in a farming community but became interested in sustainable agriculture through academics, first through a bachelor’s degree in biology from Hanover College in 2009 and then a master’s in Botany from the University of Vermont. Alongside her husband, Nate, whom she met at Hanover College, she explored various farming landscapes, gaining hands-on experience working on farms in Pennsylvania, Maine, and Vermont. In 2013, Brownlee and her husband returned to their Indiana roots, establishing Nightfall Farm on family land spanning over five decades. Their dedication to sustainability led them to transform fifty acres of conventional corn and soybean fields into thriving pastures. Today, they practice rotational grazing, ethically raising livestock, and supplying meat and eggs to their customers through their CSA and local restaurants, independent grocers, and farmer's markets.

Building on her interest in sustainable agriculture, Brownlee co-founded the Hoosier Young Farmers Coalition, advocating for beginning farmers and nurturing a supportive community. As Co-Director of Partners IN Food and Farming, she spearheaded farmer-to-farmer program development, outreach initiatives, and network expansion. Her commitment to rural revitalization earned her recognition as a 2021 Hoosier Resilience Hero by Indiana University.

Brownlee succeeds Joan Benjamin, who has served as the Farmer Rancher Grant Program Coordinator for NCR-SARE since 2005 and will retire in spring 2024. With her extensive background and dedication to sustainable agriculture, Brownlee is poised to uphold the program's legacy of fostering innovation and resilience within the farming community.

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