Department Advisory Council


Philip Hemminghaus

(Agri-Business)  I am a native Arizonan. I attended the University of Arizona and Mesa Community College where I studied Agri-Business. I started to work for Capitol Nursery Supply in 1981, where I eventfully became an equal partner in that business. In 1987 we merged with Valley Garden supply to become Garden West Distributors. We sold the business to ABT in 1998. In 2002 I was named Branch Manager of Helena Chemical Specialty Location in Phoenix. In 2004 I went to work for Golf Ventures West, a Turf and Chemical Distributor. I am currently General Manager of the Arizona location. We supply equipment, chemicals, tools, and grass seed to the Green Industry in Arizona. We have 11 locations across the United States, with locations in Arizona, Nevada, California, Georgia, Alabama and Florida. My wife Debbie and I live in Maricopa where we have two wonderful children. Nicholas and Madalyn, who both attend college in Arizona. I am a Past President of the Arizona Nursery Association. I currently am on the Board of Directors of the Arizona Nursery Association and the Arizona Nursery Foundation. I also am a member of the Cactus and Pine Golf Course Superintendents Association. I enjoy golfing, bowling and watching my son play ice hockey.



Tom Thompson

(Livestock Industry) Chairman - Founder and managing partner of Stotz Dairy Farms,  located in Buckeye. Graduated with a B.S. degree in Animal Science in 1980 from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. Current and previous industry and community involvement include; President of the Arizona Dairy Herd Improvement Association, director for United Dairymen of Arizona, board member of the Palo Verde School District, Dairy Director of the Pharmacia Advisory Board,  Arizona Agricultural Best Management Practices Air Quality Committee, National Milk Producers Federation Animal Health and Wellbeing Committee Member, NMPF Margin Protection Plan Task Force, International Rescue Committee 2012 Employer of the Year, and Farm Bureau 2014 Environmental Stewardship Award Recipient.

Tom and his wife Tammy have been married for thirty‐five years and have three children; Jen, Gary, and Shelby. The two older children are  partners in the operation and actively involved in the management of the cattle and crop land, the youngest is currently in graduate school.


Kenneth Carl (K.C.) Gingg

I have lived in Arizona nearly all of my life. My family moved here when I was just a few weeks old to start a dairy and farming operation in the Tolleson and Buckeye area. The love of the land was passed down to me, and from an early age, I knew that I wanted to be involved in agriculture. I attended the University of Arizona, graduating with a dual B.S. degree in Agri-Business and Agronomy in 1978. I married my high school sweetheart, Lisa, shortly after, and became managing partner of our crop farming operation, Gingg Farms.

Thirty-eight years later, I have continued to grow crops such as: alfalfa, sorghum, corn, cotton, durum wheat, and barley in Buckeye and Tonopah. I have also remained active in the agricultural community, serving as: Chairman of the Board (past president) of Arizona Cotton Growers Association, delegate on the National Cotton Council of America, board menber of Calcot, President of Tonopah Irrigation District, board member of Roosevelt Irrigation District, past board member of Cotton Incorporated, and former president of our management team at Summit Community Church.

Over the years, Lisa and I instilled a passion for agriculture into our three children as well. Zach, Kyle, and Nicole have all graduated college with business related degrees, and are ardently involved in production agriculture.


John Boelts

John Boelts and his wife Alicia own and operate Desert Premium Farms where they grow conventional and organic vegetables, durum wheat, cotton, melons sudangrass and and various other crops, in Yuma County. Prior to being appointed by Governor Doug Ducey to serve Arizona Agriculture on the Department of Agriculture Advisory Board, John served the industry by serving two two year terms as Yuma County Farm Bureau’s President and was elected 2nd vice-president for Arizona Farm Bureau in November, 2013. Also, John was recently selected to participate in the American Farm Bureau program Partners in Advocacy Leadership. John and Alicia were also runner-up winners in the American Farm Bureau Achievement Award Competition in January, 2013.

The couple enjoy serving the industry through Farm Bureau, community outreach through Ag in the classroom and have participated in several media campaigns such as America's Heartland, to promote agriculture for ours and future generations. They have three children Andrew(13), Matthew(11),and Daisy(9). When they’re not busy farming John and Alicia enjoy supporting their children in their many educational and extra-curricular activities, traveling with family and boating on the Colorado River.


 Suzanne Menges

 As the daughter of a career Army officer, Suzanne Menges grew up all over the United States. She has traveled extensively in Australia, Europe and served as a short-term missionary in Rwanda. After receiving her undergraduate degree from New Mexico State University in 1987, she began her teaching career in Morenci, AZ, where she married a local rancher, Jeff Menges. Suzanne went on to receive Master’s (Northern Az University) and Doctoral degrees (University of Arizona) in educational leadership, focusing on adult training and education. She was appointed a State Commissioner for Higher Education in 2013. Suzanne has worked for school districts where she specialized in designing training programs for educators, and for Freeport McMoRan mining company where she and her team created and delivered a leadership development program for company supervisors throughout the country. 


For over three decades Suzanne has lived and worked on the ranches the family has established in Graham and Greenlee counties. Her areas of interest have included beef promotion, consumer education and ag policy development. She has served in many capacities of leadership in cattle industry associations, including as Region Director for the American National Cattle Women (ANCW) and as President of the state-level affiliate of ANCW. She established the Graham County Cattle Women in 2013, served as its first president, and remains an officer in that organization. She currently serves as President of the Arizona Cattle Industry Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes research and education programs of the Arizona Cattle Growers Association. With her husband and sons Mark, Ben and Luke, Suzanne has enjoyed developing the family’s ranching operations and producing high-quality Arizona beef.
















Open Meeting Law Disclosure Statement


The Arizona Agriculture Advisory Council is a legislatively established, governor-appointed body that reviews agricultural policy and assists the department director in formulating administrative rules and the department's budget.

By statute, two council members must be involved in the livestock industry, two members must be involved in the plant production industry, and one member must be involved in agribusiness.

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