Nominating Committee – Mountain Plains

Candidate information includes a brief description of their farming operation, role in that operation, and/or business experience.


Joe Bernal – Loma, CO

Our farm is a cash crop farm consisting of wheat, corn, alfalfa, and hay. We are a 5th generation irrigated farm on the west slope of Colorado. I am a managing partner along with my son.

John Caldwell – Longmont, CO

Own irrigated farm, commercial cattle feeding, and commercial real estate. 

Jack Cassidy – Loma, CO

Owner and manager of an irrigated farm in Loma, CO – lower valley in Western Slope. Have been in the farming/livestock operation my entire life. Grandfather was a homesteader and raised his children to be farmers. I am the third generation involved in agriculture, my son working with me is the fourth and his son is now the fifth. Having a master’s degree in business and serving on many ag boards including Vice President of the Fruita Co-op, the nominating committee for Farm Credit Services, and several local Ag boards, my involvement in ag at the local and state level has kept me well informed of movement and of the direction of ag in our area. My education and teaching at Colorado Mesa University and at Grand Junction High School for 17 years was a great experience and working with the youth has kept me current on the direction of ag in our area.

Jim Cooksey – Roggen, CO

I farm in a family partnership with my two brothers and my son. We farm about 10,000 acres which consist of about 8,400 acres of dryland and 1,600 acres of irrigated. My responsibilities on the farm include all the accounting for the farm and produce company, spraying about 25,000 acres yearly, and miscellaneous harvest and tractor operations. I’m also involved in the cropping decisions on the farm.

Terry Gertge – Ault, CO

We are involved in the cutting horse industry. I spent the early part of my working career in the horse industry before moving into insurance and financial services. I have the opportunity to now share my love of the sport with my 17-year-old daughter. We have everything from two-year-olds, aged event horses, to broodmares.

Timothy Gittlein – Fort Lupton, CO

The farming operation consists of 3,000 acres of irrigated and dryland crop ground raising winter wheat, corn, alfalfa, mixed forages, as well as 100 head cow/calf operation, and a custom farming enterprise in Weld County, Colorado. My role in the operation is management of the daily production operations as well as the business and financial side of the farm. I have been managing the operation full time beginning in 1996.

Brant Harrison – Palisade, CO

41 years growing fruit commercially, 30 of those years as organically as owner/operator, 16 years as a commercial applicator.

Andrea Kinnison – Grover, CO

I am a fourth-generation rancher and along with my father, husband, and children, we operate an organic dry land farm, back-grounding lot, and cow/calf operation in northeastern Colorado. I am involved in the day-to-day operations and decision-making as well as solely run the accounting and financial planning aspects of my husband and my portion of the operation. We believe in working together as a family, growing our operation so as to remain sustainable for generations to come.

Rick Novak – Nunn, CO

We operate on a small-scale farm with different crops annually, including a small herd of Registered Nigerian Dwarf goats. This upcoming spring we are planning to purchase livestock for grazing this summer. In addition to our farm operation, we also own and operate an RV storage business along with a grain bin moving business. For the past eight years, I have held the position of the Director of Seed Programs within the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Colorado State University and will be retiring from this position this spring to focus on my farm activities. My position at Colorado State University leading our Seed Programs has allowed me to work closely with certified seed producers of many crops in our state. Working with seed producers of many crops has allowed me to experience first-hand great farming practices that really support sustainability.

Stacey Stecher – Clifton, CO

I have been employed in the nursery business since high school. I have worked for several wholesale nurseries. I now am a manager and owner of a highly successful nursery.



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