We are thankful to our Board of Directors for their dedication in “creating opportunities for the next generation.” The group has a wide range of backgrounds and interests, with one common goal to move Pennsylvania Farm Link forward in the work it does in assisting new/beginning farmers and landowners in “creating opportunities for the next generation” while striving to continue the great farming industry in Pennsylvania.
Board members backgrounds and expertise compliment each other and intertwine to make a Board that will move Pennsylvania Farm Link solidly to the forefront of organizations which truly make a difference in the Pennsylvania Agriculture industry.
Board members include:
President: Patty Neiner, Project Assistant PA Women’s Agricultural Network
Patty Neiner is the Coordinator for The Pennsylvania Women’s Agricultural Network which strives to empower women farmers through education, networking and support. In addition, she works with the Department for International Programs at Penn State and has presented at International Conferences. Ms. Neiner graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Horticulture. She and her partner run a farm in central PA where they raise hay, hogs and poultry. The meat is sold direct market at farmers’ markets. She has also worked for PA Certified Organic and The PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture. Prior to that, Ms. Neiner served in managerial positions within healthcare and restaurant food service. She has served on numerous boards and volunteers for various community causes.
Vice-President: Raechel Sattazahn, Marketing Specialist, AgChoice Farm Credit
Raechel Sattazahn is the knowledge center director with AgChoice Farm Credit, which serves rural and agricultural customers across central, western and northern Pennsylvania. In her role, Raechel is responsible for the Association’s customer education efforts and programs for young or beginning and small farmers. Raechel and her husband, Doug, own and operate Zahncroft Dairy, LLC with Doug’s brother and sister-in-law in Womelsdorf, Pa. The dairy consists of 120 registered Brown Swiss and Holstein cows. Raechel is also part of her family’s farm operation, McCalls Ferry Farm, LLC, in Airville, Pa. that sells retail beef. Raechel graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Animal Sciences and a minor in Agribusiness Management. She also holds a MBA in Food and Agribusiness from Delaware Valley College.
Secretary: Colleen Hershey, PennAg Industries
Assistant Vice President, PennAg Industries
Horse Council, Manure Haulers / Applicators Council, Social Media
Colleen handles the social media presence for PennAg, keeping the association’s Facebook and Twitter accounts up-to-date and relevant. Aside from creating posts and tweets, Colleen also oversees the PennAg Horse Council and Manure Haulers/Applicators Council, coordinating regular events and meetings for those groups. She also assists with the planning for the PennAg Annual Meeting & Spring Banquet.
Treasurer: Jonathan Johnson, Sr. Policy Analyst, The Center for Rural PA
A senior policy analyst with 26 years of experience in analyzing and evaluating rural policies and programs for the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a legislative agency of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Accomplishments include:
Developed and maintained the state’s first rural database on socio-economic and demographic factors;Organized workshops on rural community development issues (farmers’ market, tourism, economic development, etc.);Coordinated statewide policy forums on rural development issues; Prepared and presented testimony before House and Senate legislative committees; Evaluated statewide programs for impact on rural areas; and Initiated community visioning projects.
The Center for Rural Pennsylvania is a bipartisan, bicameral legislative agency that serves as a resource for rural policy within the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The Center works with executive agencies and federal, regional and community organizations to maximize resources and strategies that can better serve the needs of Pennsylvania’s 3.4 million rural residents.
***Lyndsey Antanitis, Volunteer Turner Farm
Lyndsey is a full-time MBA student at Northeastern University, with a concentration in Sustainability. She volunteers her time at Turner Farm, an organic, draft-powered farm. She previously worked at Rodale Institute, as the Veteran Farmer Training Coordinator. Lyndsey, is a graduate of the Delaware Valley University Organic Farming Certificate Program and the Veteran Farmer Training Program. Lyndsey also served as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force for five years and three deployments, as a cardiopulmonary laboratory technician. She holds a B.S. in Health Sciences and a Certificate in Organic Farming.
***Herbert Cole, Extension Advisory Council, Penn State University
***Aaron DeLong, PA Association of Sustainable Agriculture
Aaron has been the Delaware Valley Hub manager for PASA since 2016. He is the director of PASA’s educational programming in the eastern part of Pennsylvania, and is also the statewide lead education coordinator for the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship program. Aaron worked on farms in Chester County through high school and college. After earning a B.S. in Natural Resources, he worked in research science for a number of years. He returned to agriculture through exposure to agroecological principles, as well as food justice issues, at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). After completing a second year in the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture at UCSC, Aaron spent eight years managing organic flower and vegetable operations for non-profits in Pennsylvania and Vermont, prior to joining PASA.
***Karen Gardner, PA Policy Associate, National Young Farmers Coalition
Karen Gardner is the Pennsylvania Policy Associate at the National Young Farmers Coalition. She works closely with young farmers across Pennsylvania, as well as with government officials and stakeholders in Harrisburg, to advocate for policies and programs that address the challenges and concerns of young farmers across the Commonwealth. She is particularly focused on ensuring that there is high-quality farmland in Pennsylvania affordable for young full-time farmers to purchase. Originally from Pittsburgh, Karen has been involved with farming, food systems research, and agricultural policy for close to a decade.
***Diane Matthews-Gehringer, farm representative Four Springs Farm
***Tom Gettings, The Seed Farm
Tom was the Director of Photography of Rodale Press Inc. from 1971 to 1998 until his retirement. He also worked as a agricultural journalist at Rodale Inc., New Farm and Organic Gardening magazines, over those years.. He has been a member of the Lehigh County Agricultural Preservation Board of Directors since 1993 and a member of The Seed Farm Board of Directors or Advisory Board. a training center and incubator site for new farmers since 2010. Tom worked for Wildlands Conservancy, a not-for-profit, Pennsylvania land preservation / education organization, in various capacities until retiring in 2012. Tom graduated from Temple University in 1968 and served as a sergeant in the United Sates Marine Corps. Tom and his wife Linda have three children and live in Center Valley, Pa.
***Christi Graver, Penn State Extension Northampton County
Christi is the Agricultural Program Coordinator in Northampton County (part of the Lehigh Valley). Christi facilitates meetings, training sessions, and other liaison opportunities within Northampton County’s agricultural community through collaboration with local agricultural groups and agencies. Aside of being a team member and collaborating with fellow Community & Economic Development Educators, Christi also collaborates with other Extension Team Educators/Staff including the Field & Forage Crops Team and Animal Systems Teams to develop and project programs in the Lehigh Valley area. Christi is also working with Northampton County Department of Community & Economic Development to form “AgConnect” for Northampton County. AgConnect is a network of farmers, business owners, and service providers connecting farmers to business resources, training, and financing to grow business and promoting smart, agricultural economic development (modeled from Chester County AgConnect).
Aside of previous agricultural education and club involvement from Penn State and current professional Penn State Extension work, Christi comes from a family owned livestock and crop farm in Carbon County where she continues to farm with her family today. She also volunteers her time with the Carbon County 4-H Livestock Club as the Organizational Leader and Beef/Sheep/Swine Leader.
***Jody Leighty, Esquire, Stock & Leader Attorneys at Law
Ms. Leighty is the Chair of the firm’s Real Estate Group. She also practices in the areas of wills, estate planning and estate administration law, and general practice. She is a bonded title agent for the Chicago Title Insurance Company and Conestoga Title Insurance Company. She maintains an active practice in both Stock and Leader’s main office in York and in the firm’s office in Stewartstown. Ms. Leighty has been recognized as one of Central Pennsylvania’s “40 Under 40 Business People” as well as one of the region’s 30 “Women of Influence”.
Practice Areas — Business Law, Agricultural Industry, Commercial Real Estate, Personal Law, Estate Planning and Wills, Estate Administration (Probate), Real Estate, Agricultural Industry
Community Involvement –Southern Branch YMCA-Board Member, Farm and Natural Lands Trust of York County-former Director, Kennard-Dale Music Boosters-Member, Distribution Committee of the York County Community Foundation-Member, York County Bar Foundation-Grant Committee Member, Pennsylvania Farm Link-Board Member, Junior League of York-Sustainer and former Officer
***Ross Pifer, Director, Ag. Law Resource and Reference Center
Ross H. Pifer is a Clinical Professor of Law, Director of the Center for Agricultural and Shale Law, and Director of the Rural Economic Development Clinic at Penn State Law. In the classroom, Professor Pifer teaches courses on Oil and Gas Law, Agricultural Law, Property, and the Law and Policy of Shale Gas Development. He has given numerous presentations throughout Pennsylvania, across the United States, and internationally on agricultural law and shale gas topics to audiences consisting of agricultural producers, landowners, attorneys, judges, governmental officials, academics, and the general public.
Professor Pifer received his B.S. in agricultural business management from Penn State University, his J.D. from The Dickinson School of Law, and his LL.M. in agricultural law from the University of Arkansas School of Law. Prior to accepting his position with Penn State, he was an attorney-advisor for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of General Counsel. He also has professional work experience as an associate attorney with a private law firm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and as a territory manager for the Nutrena Feeds Division of Cargill, Inc. Additionally, he served on active duty with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps in support of the NATO Regional Headquarters, Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT) where he provided advice and representation to military personnel and commands in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Great Britain, and Germany.
John Vogel was the former Editor of American Agriculturist, a farm business publication/website serving Northeast agriculture from Maine to Maryland. He oversaw editorial content, and covered ag technology, finance and policy issues for Penton Ag.
As Farm Link’s co-founder, John and others were instrumental in developing the forerunner of today’s Next Generation Farmer Loan Program. Farm-raised and with a B.S. from Iowa State University, he managed his family’s central Iowa farm until selling it in 2003.
John serves on Penn State’s Ag Council, Penn Veterinary School’s Board of Overseers and Christian Farmers Outreach’s board. He’s a National 4-H Foundation Distinguished Alumnus and honorary national Alpha Zeta member.
PA Farm Link Staff:
Darlene Livingston, PA Farm Link Executive Director
Marlene M. Kaltenbach, Western PA Farm Link Associate
Michelle Kirk, Eastern PA Farm Link Associate