Below is a list of the current sitting Nominating Committee members. Members are elected annually and are responsible for reviewing and selecting the nominees for the Board of Directors and the next year’s Nominating Committee.
Garden Plain, KS | Heartland
Mr. Ayres has farm operations in three counties in South Central Kansas. He currently raises wheat, soybeans, alfalfa and cattle, where he is involved with all aspects of growing and managing a farm, as well as marketing Wagyu beef directly to the consumer. Mr. Ayres has served on his local farmer’s cooperative board for the last six years, and has a very diverse business background.
McPherson, KS | Heartland
Ms. Baldwin and her husband own and operate a diversified crop operation in Central Kansas. Their farm has a mix of irrigated and dryland crop ground, both owned and rented. For a number of years, the Baldwins had a farrow to finish hog enterprise, followed by a cow/calf herd, but are now focused on crops. In addition to commodity crops, Ms. Baldwin started a niche enterprise in 2017 growing and marketing popcorn under the brand, Papa Baldy’s Popping Snacks. Ms. Baldwin’s primary role in both the farm and the popcorn business is accounting and office management, and she has always had an active role in decision making and farm direction.
Cheney, KS | Heartland
Through her participation on the Nominating Committee, Ms. Bergkamp seeks to find qualified, trustworthy directors for the board that can guide the association through good and bad times, ensuring a strong financial institution that will remain for future generations. Her varied background will enable her to help find individuals and assess their qualifications and integrity. She looks for directors who will represent the average farmer, not just the large operators, and enable the younger generation to get established to have a continuation of family farms.
Loma, CO | Mountain Plains
Mr. Bernal is the managing partner in a father-son, fifth generation, family-farm operation. The farm is situated near Grand Junction, Colorado. They have a 1600-acre irrigated crop operation where they raise cash crops, corn, wheat, and alfalfa hay. Mr. Bernal currently serves as president of the Grand Valley Water Users Association board and has been an active member for 15 years. He is also very involved in state and local water affairs.
Longmont, CO | Mountain Plains
Mr. Caldwell operates a crop and cattle operation with irrigated farmland and pasture as well as ownership in a cattle feedlot. Additionally, he is involved in commercial and residential real estate and commodity trading and public equities ownership and management. He served on American AgCredit’s Board of Directors for 25 years.
Strasburg, CO | Mountain Plains
Mr. Cooksey is a partner in his family’s diversified farming operation. He had an opportunity to purchase his first farm in his final year of college (2007) and couldn’t pass it up, so he left college a few credits short of a bachelors degree and hasn’t looked back. It’s a goal of Mr. Cooksey’s to finish his degree before 40. His role on the farm has evolved from the time he started helping dad run tractors and turn small wrenches in his late elementary years. Today, he is involved in managing spreadsheets, making crop plans, marketing, turning wrenches, and still trying to get into the tractor or combine seat as much as he can.
Kailua Kona, HI | Western – Hawaii
Mr. Craven has managed the family’s 1,200 beef cow ranch for the past 11 years. Prior to that, he spent 23 years as a commercial real estate broker.
Scott City, KS | Great Plains
Mr. Cupp operates irrigated and dryland farm ground in Western Kansas with the focus of providing silage and grain to local feedyards and dairies. Mr. Cupp also operates a cow-calf ranch between Colorado Springs and Pueblo and also in Kiowa County. Mr. Cupp plans to use his experience as a borrower, former employee and board member of Farm Credit on the Nominating Committee.
Escondido, CA | Western – Southern
Mr. Embly’s experience in agriculture started with his family’s farming business that was started by his father in 1947. At the peak of production, the farm operated in three states, with over 2 million laying hens, a 200 head cow-calf operation, and extensive processing and distribution facilities. He also spent many years representing two agricultural equipment manufacturers. Since his retirement in 2004, he has been an avocado producer and a vineyard/winery owner. His operation grows five varieties of white grapes and 11 varieties of red grapes, with production between 2,000 to 3,500 cases of wine per year.
Healdsburg, CA | Western – Northern
Mr. Flanagan is a wine grape producer and long-time American AgCredit customer. He owns a winery and vineyard and also manages 370 acres of wine grapes through a vineyard investment group he founded. He also has strong expertise in finance and risk management and seeks to help select candidates who will contribute to a successful future for the organization.
Scott City, KS | Great Plains
Growing up on the family farm, Mr. Gerber has a lifetime of experience producing wheat and milo. The operation also includes cow-calf, and feeder cattle. As the President and sole farm operator, Mr. Gerber makes decisions daily that impacts the future of his operation.
Fort Lupton, CO | Mountain Plains
Mr. Gittlein manages a farming operation that consists of 3,000 acres of irrigated and dryland crop ground raising winter wheat, corn, alfalfa, mixed forages, as well as a cow-calf operation and a custom farming enterprise in Weld County, Colorado. He manages the daily operations as well as the financial and risk management considerations for the farm alongside his wife and two sons who work in the business as well.
Waterford, CA | Western – Central
Ms. Hawkins is an almond farmer and has held positions in sales, marketing and management for a local newspaper. Growing up in the Lodi area, her parents farmed grapes, cherries, as well as owning and operating a processing/shipping company. She seeks to contribute to the process of identifying candidates with diverse backgrounds in agriculture who also think progressively about farming. She believes it is important to uphold the integrity and traditions of the agricultural sector.
Dighton, KS | Great Plains
Mr. Hineman farms in partnership with his son in a dryland grain farming operation of 16,000 acres. They practice extensive no-till and precision agriculture to maximize profitability and sustainability. Having served on several boards, Mr. Hineman looks forward to applying those experiences to his service on the Nominating Committee. He has a deep appreciation of the Farm Credit System and feels strongly that American AgCredit’s strong understanding of agriculture’s capital needs must be preserved and enhanced.
Grover, CO | Mountain Plains
Through her service on the Nominating Committee, Ms. Kinnison seeks to support American American AgCredit and the farming community by selecting potential directors that align with the core values of what makes American agriculture—honesty, ingenuity, hard work, family, and stewardship of the land. She looks for potential board members who still operate on a handshake and, have a creative problem-solving mentality. Along with her husband and father, Ms. Kinnison operates a backgrounding lot and dryland farm operation.
Lee Ann Kreps
Madera, CA | Western – Central
Ms. Kreps and her husband own and operate 40 acres of pistachios in Madera, California. She is a retired school administrator and now is a real estate agent which allows her great flexibility.
Hilo, HI | Western – Hawaii
Mr. Rowe grows macadamia nuts on Hawaii Island. He has twenty years of farming and ranching experience, with the majority of that time spent in far Northern California with alfalfa, potatoes, and cattle, and he is also the previous co-owner of a farm equipment dealership.
Hutchinson, KS | Heartland
Mr. Stroberg is owner and manager of Stroberg Land & Cattle LC, an irrigated and dryland farming and cattle operation located in south-central Kansas between Hutchinson and Sterling along the Arkansas River. Crops grown include corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, and grain sorghum. He has been involved in production agriculture for over 45 years.
Steven Van Houten
Murrieta, CA | Western – Southern
Mr. Van Houten serves on the Nominating Committee in order to help insure American AgCredit continues on its successful path providing a critical service to our agriculture industry. His background in agricultural leadership includes real estate and corporate finance. He holds an MBA in Finance and Strategy and has spent several years as a college professor.
Chico, CA | Western – Southern
Mr. Venturini has owned and operated a 100+ head cow-calf operation for 35+ years, along with a large custom care yearling operation. Recently retired from Golden State Farm Credit, he has 37-years of agricultural lending experience, 25-years with several Farm Credit Associations, and 12-years with both a large insurance company agricultural real estate lender and a regional community bank.
Lakin, KS | Great Plains
Ms. Williams and her husband have a dryland farming operation and are very active with the conservation district. The operation practices no till, cover crop, and participates in carbon programs. They also have a cattle and poultry operation that they manage and market.