Government Relations Director
National Farmers Union Foundation
Barbara Patterson advocates for family farmers, ranchers, and rural communities in Congress and the executive branch. Her focus is on trade, livestock, competition, cooperatives, nutrition, and food safety. Prior to her employment with NFU, Patterson worked as a policy associate for New England Farmers Union. At NEFU, Patterson advocated on behalf of small- and mid-size farmers on food safety and environmental issues. She also analyzed co-operative development statutes and contributed to a co-operative manual to foster strategic development in New England.
Patterson graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and recently graduated with a Master of Science in agriculture and nutrition policy from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.
FSMA Project Coordinator
National Farmers Union Foundation
Chelsea Matzen is responsible for coordinating the programmatic aspects of the Local Food Safety Collaborative at National Farmers Union’s Foundation. This includes serving as a liaison with partner organizations, assisting in preparation of project schedules and budgets, and monitoring and tracking project progress. She also assists with project outreach and in the drafting of resource materials. Prior to employment with NFU, Matzen was an Associate Consultant with a small Federal consulting firm, Corner Alliance. In her previous role she supported two grants at the Department of Commerce related to public safety broadband. Matzen graduated from American University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science that concentrated on policy.
Elizabeth A. Bihn, Ph.D.
Produce Safety Alliance Director
Elizabeth A. Bihn is a Senior Extension Associate in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University. She is currently the director of the Produce Safety Alliance and the National Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Program. The main focus of her research has focused on irrigation water quality used during fruit and vegetable production. Betsy’s extension program aims to reduce microbial risks to fresh fruits and vegetables by developing engaging and effective educational materials through collaboration with growers, farm workers, produce industry personnel, students, teachers, and consumers. She is also the Executive Director of the newly formed Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University. Betsy received her B.S. from Ohio State University in zoology, M.S. from the University of Florida in horticulture, and Ph.D. from Cornell University in food science.
Maryland Department of Agriculture
Food Quality Assurance Division
Deanna is responsible for the Maryland Organic Certification Program as well as other grading and certification programs, including Fruit and Vegetable Grading, Egg Grading, and Good Agricultural Practices/Good Handling Practices Certification. Deanna has a broad perspective on issues of food safety and local and organic production practices across Maryland.
Lindsey Lusher Shute
Executive Director and Co-Founder
National Young Farmers Coalition
With a background in organizing and state policy, Lindsey co-founded NYFC as a platform for young, progressive farmers to have a meaningful influence on the structural obstacles in the way of their success. Lindsey is a respected speaker and an expert on the structural issues facing family farms. In 2014, she was named a “Champion of Change” by the White House. She and her husband own and operate Hearty Roots farm in the Hudson Valley.
National Young Farmers Coalition
Before joining the NYFC team, Cara owned and managed a diversified vegetable farm with her husband in upstate New York. Through work with Cornell Cooperative Extension, Just Food in NYC, and the New York State Berry Growers Association, she's connected farmers with resources and education to improve their businesses for more than 15 years. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, she and her family have recently returned to the NYC metro area, where she gets to hike almost every day.
Deep South Food Alliance
Andrew Williams is President of Williams Enterprises, LLC, a Consulting Outreach Company that assists small farmers and rural communities. He also serves as the CEO for the United Christian Community Association (TUCCA) and it's sub-organization Deep South Food Alliance (DSFA). He retired from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in 2009. His career with USDA began in 1976, and he served in the capacity of Soil Conservationist, District Conservationist, RC&D Coordinator, and State Outreach Coordinator during that time, as well as serving two years as staff Rural Development Specialist to Congressman Earl Hillard. Mr. Williams was born in Marengo County, Alabama and grew up on a farm in the Taylor Community of East Marengo County. He attended public schools in Marengo County and graduated from the Marengo County Training School in 1971. He attended Alabama A&M University from 1971-1975 and received a BS degree in Natural Resource Conservation and Development.
Policy/External Affairs Advisor
Washington State Department of Agriculture
Claudia Coles is the Policy/External Affairs Advisor at the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA). Previous WSDA positions Claudia has held include the Food Safety Program Manager, Assistant Compliance Program Manager, Regional Food Safety Supervisor, Food Safety Officer and Microbiologist.She is a member of the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance, helping in the development and implementation of training on the Preventive Controls Rule.
New England Farmers Union
Roger Noonan, President of NEFU, is an organic farmer in New Boston, NH. Middle Branch Farm is a diversified family farm with operations ranging from maple syrup production, greenhouse production, organic vegetable production, organic hay and forage crop production, livestock production and on-farm composting. Middle Branch Farm markets its produce through its own CSA, a co-operative CSA, direct store and restaurant deliveries, national food chains, and wholesale outlets. Roger is also active in New Hampshire’s agricultural community. He is a founding board member of Local Harvest CSA, a co-operative of eight organic farms. He is a supervisor for the Hillsborough County Conservation District, President of the New Hampshire Association of Conservation Districts, and a member of the Government Affairs Committee for NH Farm Bureau. He serves as the Agricultural Representative on the NH Rivers Management Advisory Council and is his county’s representative to the NH Agricultural Advisory Board. As a certified organic producer, Roger has experience with the national organic standards program and understands the issues and barriers to certification for transitioning farmers. Most recently, Roger has been a national leader on food safety and speaks around the country on the Food Safety Modernization Act and other policy issues that affect family farmers.