About Us

SfL: Creating a Unique Vision

Our Story

Solutions from the Land (SfL) was conceived and led by a cross-sector team of respected agriculture, forestry, conservation, academic and industry leaders, who came together in 2009 based on clean energy discussions facilitated by the 25x’25 Alliance to explore integrated land management solutions to help meet food security, economic development, climate change and conservation of biodiversity goals. Beginning as a dialogue on what the future of agriculture might look like, co-sponsored by the United Nations Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International and the Farm Foundation, SfL has evolved into a 501c3 nonprofit operating in eight states, offering national and global advocacy for land-based solutions to world problems.

 

Read more about our leaders below!

Our Work

Today, SfL continues to build and facilitates state, national, and global initiatives and alliances through which farmers, ranchers, foresters and collaborating partners showcase examples of innovation and proactively advocate for policies, partnerships, investments, and research that will enable agricultural landscapes to deliver near-term, cost-effective, integrated solutions to global mega-challenges: food and energy security; sustainable economic development; and environmental improvement.

Click on a platform to learn more.

Domestic Platform

SfL is currently engaged in a national program of sustainability advocacy by sharing the findings of its established state CSA network and leaders.

Global Platform

SfL farmer envoys are proactively engaging United Nations platforms, events, staff officials and member states advancing our 21st “Agricultural Renaissance” recommendations.

Our Approach:

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Enables agriculture leaders

to examine the potential vulnerabilities and opportunities created by changing climatic conditions in ways that are relevant to their daily lives;
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Equips producers

with the tools and knowledge they need to make informed decisions and manage new risks under changing conditions;

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Inspires & empowers agricultural leaders

to become leaders in the broader discussion of climate smart agriculture (CSA), including adaptation and mitigation strategies; and
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Mobilizes thought leaders

to advocate for needed changes in land use practices, research, education, and policy.

SfL puts farmers, ranchers and foresters at the forefront of resolving food system, energy, environmental and climate challenges and achieving global sustainable development goals. SfL Work Groups tackle three objectives simultaneously: sustainably increasing agricultural productivity (including ecosystem services and societal benefits) and incomes; adapting and building resilience; and reducing and removing greenhouse gas emissions.

Our experience building and facilitating a network of climate smart agriculture (CSA) work groups at the state and national level has inspired partnerships with rural sociologists and clearly demonstrated the message: “To effectively engage and mobilize farmers in delivering solutions from the land, we must do so in ways that are relevant to their daily lives.”

Read on to learn more about SfL’s unique portfolio of state, landscape level and global initiatives.

OUR LEADERS

Co-Chairs

Photo of A.G. Kawamura
A.G. Kawamura

A.G. Kawamura is a third generation produce grower and shipper from Orange County, California. From 2003 to 2010 he served as the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. He is founding co-chair of Solutions from the Land (solutionsfromtheland.org), a nationally recognized non-profit that is developing innovative and sustainable climate smart collaborations for 21st century agriculture. He serves on multiple boards and advisory committees including the Farm Foundation Board; Western Growers Board and former Chair; Roots of Peace Board; CSU Agricultural Research Institute, Board of Governors; Ag Advisory Committee for the Chicago Council; Bipartisan Policy Center, Ag & Forestry task force; Advisory Council for Honor the Harvest.

For over 40 years Mr. Kawamura has pursued a lifelong goal to work towards an end to hunger and malnutrition. Locally, he is founding chair of Solutions For Urban Ag (SFUA.org). He has worked closely with Regional Food Banks and stakeholders to create exciting urban ag projects that focus on nutrition, hunger, education and advanced food systems. As a progressive farmer, Mr. Kawamura has a lifetime of experience working within the shrinking rural and urban boundaries of Southern California. A.G. graduated with a BA from UC Berkeley and was a member of Class XX of the Calif. Ag Leadership Program.

Photo of Fred Yoder
Fred Yoder

Fred Yoder is a 4th generation farmer who has lived and farmed near Plain City, Ohio for over 40 years. Along with his wife Debbie and his 2 children, he grows corn, soybeans, and wheat. He also has operated a retail farm seed business for over 36 years and sells seed to all kinds of farmers including those who use biotech varieties, conventional varieties, and also to those who grow organic crops.

Fred has traveled many times to the European Union to speak about co-existence of production systems, where both organic and other production systems can thrive side by side as neighbors.  Fred is a founding board member and now Co-Chair of “Solutions from the Land”. He also serves as Chair of the “North American Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance,” representing all factions of production agriculture, and working to ensure that farmer-to-farmer education and economics will be the driving force to adapting to feeding the world while dealing with a changing climate.

President

Photo of Ernest Shea
Ernest Shea

Ernie Shea is the President of Solutions from the Land (SfL), a not-for-profit organization that incubates and supports farmer-led, multi-stakeholder platforms that inspire, educate, and equip agricultural partners to innovate and lead efforts to sustain productivity, enhance climate resilience, and contribute to local and global goals for sustainable development. SfL brings agricultural thought leaders to the forefront of conversations about the food system, the environment and the future.

Shea has over 40 years of experience at the global, national, state and local level where he has designed and facilitated initiatives to enhance the effective functioning and ability of agricultural landscapes to sequester carbon, protect water quality, improve public health, and ensure a growing and resilient food system.
Early in his career, Shea worked for the State of Maryland where he held a number of senior leadership positions including Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Agricultural Development and Resource Conservation with responsibility for soil and water conservation, land preservation, domestic and international marketing and other service-oriented programs designed to strengthen the state’s agricultural industry.

From 1986-2004 Shea served as Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD). As CEO of NACD, Shea represented and facilitated the effective functioning of the association consisting of nearly 3,000 local units of government, 17,000 public officials and 7,000 employees with combined annual budgets exceeding $1billion.

Among his current activities, Shea facilitates the 25x’25 and North American Climate Smart Agriculture Alliances and coordinates SfL’s state level climate smart agriculture work program. He serves on the Board of the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology and is involved with the Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort focusing on agricultural, conservation and bioenergy projects. He is also the Founder and Principal of Natural Resource Solutions (NRS), LLC, a conservation and natural resource policy and program consultancy.

Ernie and his wife Karen reside in Lutherville, Maryland where he serves on the Board of the Lutherville Community Association. They enjoy sailing and spending time with their three grown children and eight grandchildren.

Board of Directors

Farmer Envoys

Photo of Jocelyn Anderson
Jocelyn Anderson

A 4th generation farmer from Northern California, Anderson’s family farm grows almonds and walnuts, and operates a walnut huller. She currently serves on the California Farm Bureau Board of Directors as chair of the Young Farmer and Rancher (YF&R) committee, having served as a vice chair on the national YF&R committee. Jocelyn is also a Board Member of the Glenn County Resource Conservation District, which promotes and helps farmers and ranchers with sustainability and conservation practices, including healthy soils programs, and a variety of conservation-focused grants.

Photo of Larry Black
Larry Black

Citrus producer and General Manager of Peace River Packing Co., a citrus cooperative that provides caretaking, harvesting and fresh fruit packing.

Photo of Kyle Bridgeforth
Kyle Bridgeforth

He is the owner/operator at Bridgeforth Farms, a fifth-generation row-crop operation headquartered in Tanner that focuses on using modern technology and agronomics to grow high quality agricultural products. Kyle primarily works with crop traceability and efficiencies, along with new product implementation. Beyond the farm he works closely with several industry associations

Photo of Brad Doyle
Brad Doyle

A soybean, rice, wheat, and grass hay farmer, he is the manager of Eagle Seed, LLC., a family-owned seed business in Northeast Arkansas. Currently serving as the President of the American Soybean Association, Brad also serves on several USA Rice committees. Crop breeding and research is also part of the family business, which includes row crops, pasture crops, cover crops, and wildlife seed.. In 2019 he was awarded the Walton Family Foundation Conservation Champion and grant recipient in 2020.

Photo of Trey Hill
Trey Hill

Trey Hill is the owner and manager of Harborview Farms in Rock Hall, Maryland. A fourth-generation grain farmer, he and his family sustainably produce corn, wheat, and soybeans for the Mid-Atlantic region.

A graduate of Perdue University with a degree in Farm Management and Economics, Hill has been committed throughout his career to innovative agriculture sustainability. At Harborview Farms, he and his team are breaking new ground with innovative and creative farming techniques—combining the wisdom of traditional practices with forward-thinking, environmentally conscious solutions that are shaping the future of the agricultural industry.

Guided by the belief that the right farming practices can improve the quality of our lives, land, and waterways, Hill sees the opportunity for change and transformation in each new season. Hill is drawing from that deep environmental ethic and his multigenerational farming legacy as Harborview Farms grows towards the future. Hill and his wife, Cheryl, have two children.

Photo of Ben LaCross
Ben LaCross

A second-generation farmer from Leelanau County, MI, Ben grows tart and sweet cherries, which are all processed by his family-owned company, Leelanau Fruit Company. Ben has served on numerous industry committees and is currently a District Director for Michigan Farm Bureau.

Photo of Amelia Levin Kent
Amelia Levin Kent

Amelia and Russell Kent own Kent Farms LLC, through which they raise and market cattle in most segments of the beef industry, including cow/calf, stockers, replacement heifers, direct marketing beef and feeding cattle to finish. While they represent the fifth and sixth generations of farmers in each of their families, Amelia and Russell founded and built their business from its start. Amelia currently chairs the Louisiana Beef Industry Council, Louisiana Farm Bureau’s Livestock Advisory Committee, and serves as a Regional Council Representative and on the Policies and Resolutions Committee for Land O’Lakes Inc. A former member of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the CBB Executive Committee, Amelia also previously served on the Louisiana Farm Bureau Board of Directors.

Photo of Allyson Maxwell
Allyson Maxwell

Allyson and her husband, Peter, farm in central Michigan, where they raise sugar beets, corn, soybeans and wheat. In October, the Maxwell family, including their three boys, opens Maxwell’s Pumpkin Farm to the public, where they sell pumpkins, squash, ornamental corn and other treats to the public. Allyson also serves as a board member for Michigan Corn Growers Association and is a biotechnology spokeswoman for the Michigan Sugar Company and the American Sugarbeet Growers Association.

Photo of Adrienne Mollor
Adrienne Mollor

Adrienne is a second-generation cranberry grower and grower-owner in the Ocean Spray Cooperative in Southeastern Massachusetts. She currently serves on USDA’s Cranberry Marketing Committee, the Education and Outreach Committee and Education Foundation for the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association and served 9 years for Farm Service Agency state committee. 2010 Eisenhower Fellow reviewing sustainable agricultural practices in South America and served 3 years on their global counsel.

Photo of Verity Ulibarri
Verity Ulibarri

Verity is an owner/operator of a crop and livestock farm with her husband, Anthony Ulibarri, in Curry County New Mexico, primarily producing grain sorghum, winter wheat, forages, and cattle. She is a fifth-generation farmer and continues to be active in farm management, production and farm related organizations. Verity has 15 years of agricultural lending experience in the Farm Credit System and a number of years of experience as a board member of the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, U.S. Grains Council and a long-term member of National Sorghum Producers.

Photo of Don Villwock
Don Villwock

Don Villwock, is a retiring no-till sustainable farmer from Edwardsport Indiana. Don and his wife Joyce have no-tilled for 40 years and have used cover crops for over 20 years. He produces white corn, seed soybeans, seed wheat and popcorn.  Don served as president of Indiana Farm Bureau and was a founding board member of the 25×25 renewable energy group.

Photo of Shelby Watson-Hampton
Shelby Watson-Hampton

Shelby is Director of the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, a farmer, and an active member of the agricultural community. She currently farms with her family on their 4th-generation farm, Robin Hill Farm & Vineyards, in Brandywine, Maryland, where they grow wine grapes, run the farm winery, and host private events in their barn venue. Shelby also freelances for several regional and national agricultural publications, including the Lancaster Farming Newspaper, Pink Tractor, and American Agriculturist. Shelby recently finished serving a two-year term on the American Farm Bureau Federation’s National Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee.

Photo of Craig Yunker
Craig Yunker

Multi-generation dairy and diversified crop producer, CY Farms.

Senior Advisors

Many thanks to our other founding leaders!

The SfL Network