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Board Members

Academic or Research Societies

V.M. “Bala” Balasubramaniam, The Ohio State University

V.M. “Bala” Balasubramaniam is a professor of food engineering with the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. He is also a volunteer leader of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in Chicago, Illinois. Bala contributes to the advancement of food science by bringing together engineers and scientists with diverse multidisciplinary backgrounds to develop the next generation of industrially relevant food preservation and manufacturing technologies that help satisfy consumer demand for minimally processed preservative-free foods.

Location: Columbus, OH

Term: first, ends FY 2027 on 9/30/27

Mario Ferruzzi, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center

Dr. Mario G. Ferruzzi is a professor and chief of the Section of Developmental Nutrition in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. He serves as director of the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center, a partnership between USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, with a research focus on the roles of maternal-child nutrition and physical activity in optimizing health and development. Dr. Ferruzzi has previously served on the faculties of North Carolina State University in Raleigh and Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, where he developed research programs that interfaced agriculture, food and nutrition sciences in the study of micronutrient and phytochemical bioavailability and metabolism. He is an active member of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and the American Society for Nutrition.

Location: Little Rock, AR

Term: first, ends FY 2027 on 9/30/27

Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education

Kenrett Jefferson-Moore, North Carolina A&T University (Chair)

Dr. Kenrett Y. Jefferson-Moore, Ph.D. is a professor and chairperson of the Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience Education (AAEAE) at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. She has served as the chief academic officer of AAEAE since January 2019, where she manages departmental budgets, operations, personnel, academic programs, and research portfolio. Dr. Jefferson-Moore’s research interests include the marketing and economic evaluation of local and organic foods and value-added agriculture. She has also collaborated on several projects across 1890 and 1862 land-grant institutions and USDA agencies. She served her first term as the 1890 LGCU representative on the USDA NAREEE Advisory Board from 2017 to 2020. She is the past chair of the Committee on the Opportunities and Status of Blacks in Agricultural Economics (COSBAE), a special interest membership section of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

Location: Greensboro, NC

Term: second, ends FY 2027 on 9/30/2027

Mark Lawrence, Mississippi State University

Dr. Mark Lawrence is a William L. Giles Distinguished Professor at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. His specialty is veterinary microbiology, especially in aquatic animal health. He conducts research in bacterial pathogenesis and vaccine development for fish, teaches microbiology to veterinary students, and does fish diagnostics for catfish producers. Currently, he serves as director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish and the Mississippi State University Global Center for Aquatic Food Security.

Location: Starkville, MS

Term: second, ends FY 2025 on 9/30/2025

Edwin Wolf Kitzes, United Tribes Technical College

Mr. Edwin Wolf Kitzes is the Land Grant Director at United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) in Bismarck, North Dakota, a 1994 Tribal College and University (TCU) Land Grant institution. He is also an instructor and faculty member for the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Program. Born and raised in the great state of New Mexico, Mr. Kitzes received his undergraduate degree in Agronomy and his Master's degree in Public Administration. He has spent the majority of his career working with farmers, ranchers and Tribal entities, implementing conservation projects and assisting producers towards accessing technical and financial resources.

Location: Bismarck, ND

Term: first, ends FY 2027 on 9/30/2027

Natasha Mast, Texas A&M University Kingsville

Dr. Natasha L Mast is an Associate Professor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Texas A&M University Kingsville in Kingsville, Texas. Dr. Mast is a ruminant nutritionist who directs research in forage utilization seeking methods for improving forage use with supplements, additives and various management strategies. She also has an interest in the scholarship of teaching and learning, particularly with relation to underserved populations. She has developed and implemented multiple programs in collaboration with other Hispanic Serving Institutions, that are aimed at preparing and sustaining the next generation of underserved students for productive careers in agriculture.

Location: Kingsville, TX

Term: first, ends FY 2027 on 9/30/2027

Sreekala Bajwa, Montana Agricultural Experiment Station

Dr. Sreekala Bajwa is a leader in agricultural research and education, currently serving as the dean of the College of Agriculture, Director of Montana Agricultural Experiment Station and Vice President for Agriculture at Montana State University. Grounded in the principles of the land-grant mission, Sreekala directs the college’s research and educational programs to benefit communities and ecosystems in Montana and beyond, with a focus on agriculture, natural resources and health science. Her leadership ethos underscores the imperative of future-readiness of food systems through an educated workforce and science-based innovations to address global food, health and natural resource challenges.

Location: Bozeman, MT

Term: first, ends FY 2027 on 9/30/2027

Industry Consumer, or Rural Interests

Donnell Brown, National Grape Research Alliance

Ms. Donnell Brown left a career in high-tech corporate communications in 2009, entering New York’s wine industry as executive director of the Long Island Merlot Alliance and founding event director for the region’s annual Harvest East End. She later served as marketing director for Wölffer Estate Vineyard, a premium Long Island producer, before moving to California to serve as marketing director for Visit Temecula Valley. Brown is now president of the National Grape Research Alliance, working to align the research needs of wine, table, juice, and raisin grapes nationwide and catalyze game-changing, “big tent” projects of highest industry priority.

Location: Sacramento, CA

Term: first, ends FY 2025 on 9/30/2025

Richard De Los Santos, Texas Department of Agriculture

Mr. Richard De Los Santos grew up on a produce farm in Mission, Texas. He is a 1986 graduate of Texas A&M University in College Station, where he graduated from the Texas AgriLife Lifetime Leadership (TALL) Program. De Los Santos was a member the Corps of Cadets, graduated Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia, in 1983 and Commissioned 2nd Lt U.S. Army in 1986. In addition to previously serving a term on the NAREE Board, De Los Santos served two terms on the National Watermelon Promotion Board. He has served the great state of Texas for 22 years at the Texas Department of Agriculture where he currently serves as the director for produce safety and livestock export. De Los Santos has two children, Drew and Richard X, and is married to Kris Ann De Los Santos.

Location: Austin, TX

Term: second, ends FY 2025 on 9/30/2025

Jane Kolodinsky, University of Vermont

Dr. Jane Kolodinsky, Ph.D. is acting associate dean of research, chair of the Department of Community Development, and director of the Center for Rural Studies in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Extension at the University of Vermont in Burlington. She is also past president and a fellow of the American Council on Consumer Interests. Kolodinsky brings research expertise and applied experience in rural community development, entrepreneurship and consumer issues to the board, having secured resources and worked directly with domestic and international communities to help match community capitals with economic opportunities to improve economic, environmental, and social quality of life.

Location: Burlington, VT

Term: first, ends FY 2025 on 9/30/2025

Tambra Raye Stevenson, Women Advancing Nutrition Dietetics and Agriculture (WANDA)

Ms. Tambra Raye Stevenson is a patent holder, author and CEO of Women Advancing Nutrition Dietetics and Agriculture, working at the nexus of intersectionality, nutrition equity, sustainability, and health. She holds an M.P.H. in health communication from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts, and a bachelor’s degree in human nutrition with a minor in Spanish from Oklahoma State University. Stevenson serves as the nutrition and health working co-chair for the D.C. Food Policy Council and nutrition security working co-chair for the Tufts Food and Nutrition Innovation Council. She is currently working on her Ph.D. at the American University School of Communication in Washington, D.C. After Tufts, Stevenson began her public service career at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the D.C. Mayor's Office on Women's Policy and Initiatives. She was also an extension agent at the University of the District of Columbia’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences.

Location: Washington, DC

Term: first, ends FY 2025 on 9/30/2025

Ellen W. Harris

Dr. Ellen W. Harris served in the USDA Senior Executive Service and retired as the Associate Area Director for the Southeast Area, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), in Stoneville, MS, helping to direct agricultural research programs. She retired in December 2021 with almost 32 years of federal service and a career that also included managing food assistance program evaluation, national nutrition monitoring research, and human nutrition research. Dr. Harris is a former Congressional Fellow with the Select Committee on Hunger, US House of Representatives; Fulbright Senior Scholar (Zimbabwe); Fulbright Senior Specialist (Columbia); and Senior Nutrition Advisor for the Collaborative Research Support Program, Bureau for Food Security, USAID (through a USDA/ARS partnership). After her USDA retirement, she served from January 2022 – May 2023 as the Executive Director for the Institute for Food and Development Policy. She was responsible for strengthening the organization’s focus on food policy, partnerships with grassroots and front-line food justice/sovereignty and food system change advocates, identification of and advocacy for approaches to most effectively address hunger and poverty, while emphasizing the challenges facing farmers, farmworkers, food production workers, front-line food justice/sovereignty activists, and residents in marginalized communities. Dr. Harris brings research expertise and experience in rural communities to the board.

Location: Greenville, MS

Term: first, ends FY 2027 on 9/30/2027

National Farm or Producer Organization

Vanessa Garcia Polanco, National Young Farmers Coalition

Vanessa Garcia Polanco co-designs the strategy and implementation of the National Young Farmers Coalition government relations campaigns, ensuring equity-driven, farmer-centric research, policy, and programmatic interventions for a more just food system. She also serves as the organizational council member of the US National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. She has previously worked with the US Department of Agriculture, and the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems. She is an alumna of Michigan State University and the University of Rhode Island.

Location: Hudson, NY

Term: first, ends FY 2027 on 9/30/2027

William Lytle, Evergreen International Sustainability Solutions

Dr. Will Lytle has intentionally cultivated experiences to understand complex problems from a variety of perspectives including agriculture, finance, policy, built infrastructures, media, ecology, sociology, politics, and strategic planning. He provides consulting services to stakeholder groups that are ready to actualize ambitious goals for the scientific, equitable, and just governance of the world's resources. At present, that means taking a look at carbon markets and regen ag to ensure that they work for rural producers and rural ecosystems. In his role as the Research Director with the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium, a non-profit focused on carbon insetting, he runs technical working groups to pursue the cutting edge for soil, water, biodiversity, and grazing systems.

Location: Buffalo, MN

Term: first, ends FY 2027 on 9/30/2027

Jane Schuchardt, Schuchardt Farms

Dr. Jane Schuchardt retired from both USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, both in Washington, DC. She and her husband, Rick, a USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service retiree, own and operate both organic and commercial farming operations in Nebraska. Schuchardt is a strong advocate for the Extension function of the land-grant university system and currently volunteers with this and other efforts associated with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). She has been recognized with alumni achievement awards by the Nebraska Alumni Association, the UNL College of Education and Human Sciences, and both Oklahoma State and Iowa State universities where she obtained graduate degrees.

Location: Elgin, NE

Term: first, ends FY 2027 on 9/30/2027