The Role of Native Pollinators in Agriculture

Steering Committee

The Native Pollinators in Agriculture Project is guided by a 22-person Steering Committee composed of agricultural and conservation leaders.

Chair: Rudy Rice

Rudy is a lifelong dairy and grain farmer from DuQuoin, IL and has been involved in the conservation movement since 1974. Rudy served as the President of the Illinois Conservation Districts and was President of the National Association of Conservation Districts from 1998-2001.

Project Coordinator: Ernie Shea

Ernie is the President and CEO of Natural Resource Solutions, LLC, a conservation planning and consulting firm in Lutherville, MD. Prior to starting Natural Resource Solutions, Ernie was the CEO of the National Association of Conservation Districts and also worked for the State of Maryland for 10 years where he held a number of senior leadership positions including Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Agricultural Development and Resource Conservation.

Ray Beck

Ray is the Director of the Conservation & Resource Development Division for the Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation Development. Ray’s Division provides technical and financial assistance to local governments, state agencies and private citizens for conservation, development, protection and management of the state’s natural resources.

Yvonne Erickson

Yvonne is a past president of the American Agri-Women Association, a non-profit, non-partisan, all volunteer national coalition of 51 farm, ranch, and agri-business organizations and works with consumer awareness, industry promotion and on legislation and regulation issues. Yvonne also serves on the national advisory board of “America’s Heartland” public television series. Yvonne has taught vocational high school, worked for the Minnesota Extension Service, and served as chairman of her local school board. She has also served on the Board of Directors for Minnesota Farm Bureau as the chair of their promotion and education committee.

Bob Haberman

Bob is President of No. 9 Hay, LLC in Ellensburg, Washington. Bob is a successful grower of alfalfa and is active with the Washington State Hay Growers Association.

Frankie Hall

Frankie Hall is associate director for Florida Farm Bureau’s Agricultural Policy Division and is responsible for coordinating the activities of Farm Bureau’s commodity advisory committees as well as the organization’s policy development and implementation programs.

A.G. Kawamura

A.G. is the former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture and a produce grower and shipper from Orange County, where his family grows strawberries, green beans and other specialty crops. A.G. has also served as president of the Orange County Farm Bureau, chairman of Western Growers Association, and president of the Orange County Agricultural Association. He has also served as a director on the boards of the California Strawberry Commission and the California Celery Research Advisory Board.

Janet Knodel

Janet is an Extension Entomologist with North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND. She has an active interest in integrated pest management strategies and insects associated with the growing of sunflowers in the upper Great Plains.

Adrienne Kravitz

Adrienne Kravitz is the Chief Operations Office of MCG Partners, running the operations of the firm. Previously, Adrienne spent seven years as Vice President of Client Services for the world’s largest organizational consulting firm. She worked with small to Fortune 50 companies and was the Account Executive for two of the company’s top 50 clients worldwide. Adrienne is involved in the ownership, management and growth strategy for over 200 acres of cranberry bogs in Southeastern, Massachusetts. Her family’s farm crop is sold across a variety of wholesale channels including a line of value-added products. She is a graduate of Bridgewater State College with a Bachelors of Science, majoring in Marketing and Public Relations.

Brian Wick

Brian is the Regulatory Director for the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association. CCCGA is the trade association representing the cranberry industry in Massachusetts. CCCGA’s mission is to work to enhance the sustainability and profitability of its members. CCCGA conducts government affairs, environmental matters, communication/PR efforts, research and service offerings on behalf of its members. Brian has been involved in the cranberry industry for nearly 20 years.

Mike Omeg

Mike is President of Omeg Orchards comprised of 400 acres divided into 8 operations located throughout The Dalles, Oregon. He raises 7 different varieties of sweet cherries and his orchard is certified as a sustainable production farm by EurepPGAP, as well as Britian’s number one supermarket chain Tesco, under the Nature’s Choice brand. The orchard is audited annually by a third party to maintain these certifications. The Omegs also abide by Wasco County’s Integrated Fruit Production (IFP) guidelines. Wildlife habitat in the form of native food bearing shrubs, brush piles, and untouched wild areas have always existed side-by-side with the Omeg’s orchard trees. Mike is acutely aware of how critical bees are to his orchards. Because of this, bees have always been a major consideration in Omeg’s orchard.

Hudson Reese

Mr. Reese owns and operates Reese Farms in Scottsburg, VA, growing a variety of crops including vegetables and cucurbits. Mr. Reese also serves on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Agribusiness Council where he has served in a variety of leadership positions including Chairman of the Board in 2007 and was the recipient of VAC’s Distinguished Leadership Away in 2008. Mr. Reese has a long history of service to his community, conservation efforts, and the agribusiness industry. He has held leadership positions with Roanoke Farm Credit and Farm Credit of the Virginias, served as a member of the Halifax County Planning Commission, and has been a member of Halifax Soil and Water Conservation District for 34 years.

Richard Rominger

Richard raises alfalfa, beans, corn, rice, safflower, sunflowers, tomatoes, wheat and other crops near Winters, California. He headed the California Department of Food and Agriculture from 1977 to 1982. During that period, he served as president of the Western Association of State Departments of Agriculture and the Western U. S. Agricultural Trade Association. He also was on the board of directors for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. Richard served on the board of the American Farmland Trust from 1986 to 1993 and as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture during the Clinton Administration.

Karen Scanlon

Karen has been the executive director for the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC), West Lafayette, Ind., since 2005. In that role, Karen is responsible for overall operation of this national not-for-profit organization dedicated to environmentally sound, economically viable decision making in agriculture. Before joining CTIC, Karen worked in the Oklahoma County Conservation District office and directed the Oklahoma City Blue Thumb program, a water quality education and volunteer monitoring program in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Kent Schescke

Kent is the Executive Director of the National FFA Foundation. The FFA Foundation is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.

Lloyd Snyder

Lloyd is a longtime beekeeper, supply dealer, package bee supplier and honey packer. He is the owner operator of Snyder’s Apiaries and past president of Central Maryland Beekeepers Association. For the last 25 years, Lloyd has been an avid brewer of award winning mead, beer & wine. He is also the current vice president of The Wootown Brewers and member of the Free State Homebrew Club Guild.

Mace Vaughan

Mace is Conservation Director, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Mr. Vaughan has led the Xerces Society’s Agricultural Pollinator Conservation program for the last four years. In this capacity, he supervises research and outreach on habitat restoration for crop pollinating native bees, develops and presents educational materials to policy makers, land managers, and growers, and collaborates extensively with scientists researching the role and habitat needs of crop-pollinating native bees. He has written numerous articles on the conservation of bees, butterflies, aquatic invertebrates, and insects, and is co-author of the Pollinator Conservation Handbook and lead author of Farming for Bees: Guidelines for Providing Native Bee Habitat on Farms. He has spoken on numerous occasions about pollinator conservation and invertebrate conservation and he was a lecturer on honey bee biology and beekeeping at Cornell University. His background includes Masters Degrees in Entomology and Teaching from Cornell University, research into the behavior and community ecology of insects, and stints as an insect wrangler for PBS Nature.

Jay Vroom

Jay is chief staff executive of CropLife America. He serves as its chief representative before U.S. congressional and regulatory bodies and is chief media spokesperson for the association. Established in 1933, CropLife America (formerly the American Crop Protection Association) represents the developers, manufacturers, formulators and distributors of plant science solutions for agriculture and pest management in the United States. Jay previously served as chief executive of the Merchants Exchange of St. Louis and later of the National Fertilizer Solutions Association (now the Agricultural Retailers Association).

Daniel Weaver

Daniel Weaver is a fourth generation beekeeper, President of Bee Weaver Apiaries. Inc. of Navasota Texas, and CEO of Beartooth Apiaries, LLC,. Bee Weaver and Beartooth Apiaries produce honey and pollinate crops in Texas, North Dakota, Montana, and California.  In addition, Bee Weaver Apiaries, Inc., also produces and sells queens and bees that are genetically resistant to damaging pests and pathogens of honey bees.  Bee Weaver’s Varroa resistant honey bees have proven capability to survive and thrive without reliance on acaricides or other chemicals to control exotic parasitic mites.  Daniel also owns and manages a research and consulting business, Bee Power, LP, devoted to providing expert advice and scientific research related to various apicultural challenges. Daniel is the Past-President of the Nation’s largest apiculture organization – The American Beekeeping Federation.

A.J. Yates

A.J. is an almond farmer from Kerman California. A.J. has also served as the Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A.J. has also worked as a senior marketing consultant and agricultural specialist based in Fresno, Calif., with Panagraph Marketing Solutions, an agricultural marketing firm. He served as under secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, based in Sacramento, from 1996-2000, after having served as its deputy secretary from 1991-96. In those positions he managed a number of CDFA divisions, including Animal Health, Food Safety Services, Inspection Services, Marketing Services, Plant Health, Natural Resources and Environmental Planning, and Pest Prevention Services. Yates served as president of the Fresno County Farm Bureau from 1989-90 and was state director of the California Sugar Beet Growers Association for six years in the 1980s.

The Native Ag Pollinators project is a legacy initiative of Solutions from the Land. Learn more about SfL here or search the Ag Pollinators site below!