Food & Agriculture Policy Advisory Committee


Cassie Lyman, Committee Chair

State Program Chair
Arizona Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Program

The Young Farmer and Rancher (YF&R) program is designed to help enterprising members achieve their goals and build satisfying lives in the profession that they love. YF&R members also holds county competitions in the Harvest for All Program collecting food, money and volunteering time at local food banks statewide. As a cattle rancher and mother of 4 boys in Gisela Arizona, Cassie is committed to carrying on the legacy of Agriculture in our family. She also volunteers distributing food at St. Vincent De Paul food bank in Payson.


Nikki Bagley
Director of Viticulture
Yavapai College's Southwest Wine Center

As the Director of Viticulture, Nikki Bagley manages a 13-acre vineyard and teaches in the College’s 2-year degree program. Nikki has a BA in Agriculture from Prescott College and owns a small vineyard consulting business. Though vineyards have been her bread and butter, Nikki has a passion for all small-scale agriculture and considers herself a bona fide soil nerd.


Paul Brierley
Executive Director
Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture

Paul Brierley is the inaugural director of the Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture.  The center is a public-private partnership between the desert agriculture production industry and the University of Arizona’s College of Agriculture & Life Sciences.  The center’s research focuses on agricultural productivity, technology and irrigation management to help provide solutions to desert agriculture’s pressing problems. Paul grew up working on his family's diversified central California farm, which grew sugar beets, cannery tomatoes, alfalfa, wheat, vegetables and flowers for seed. He later spent 12 years as managing partner in an Arizona production agriculture business.


Rocco Cardinale
Vice President of Marketing
Franklin Foods (U.S. Subsidiary, Hochland SE)

Rocco Cardinale is a native of Monterey, California, with experience in every part of the food industry. He's worked with startups, medium-size companies and multi-national organizations and possesses a deep knowledge of food manufacturing, marketing and distribution. He lives in Phoenix with wife and two sons. With Franklin Foods, Rocco leads the company’s marketing and branding efforts. He is also the corporate representative for Franklin Foods West, a new state-of-the-art dairy products manufacturing facility in Casa Grande, AZ. Franklin Foods is the North American subsidiary of the Hochland Group, based in Germany with operations all over the world.


Juliana V. Davies, B.S.
Chef & Healthy Food Demos Program Coordinator
University of Arizona Nutrition Network-Maricopa County

The University of Arizona’s Cooperative Extension offices serve the community in every county in Arizona. Through the Extension, the UA Nutrition Network offers nutrition education to low income populations. Juliana Davis leads a food demonstration program that reaches 25,000 participants annually in Maricopa County. The food demonstration team teaches nutrition education with hands-on food activities and tastings in K-12 schools. The program also teaches adults. Juliana is a professionally trained chef and has a B.S. in Nutritional Sciences with a minor in Biochemistry.


Kara Egbert
Council Member
Town of Sahuarita

Kara Egbert is a Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Fellow and a Freeport-McMoRan Leadership Cohort.  She sits on the “From Insufficiency to Self-Sufficiency” Steering Committee, volunteers at Sahuarita Food Bank and organized the “Sahuaritan Helping Refugees”. Kara earned her Bachelor degree from Brigham Young University in Leisure Management Service. She stays busy raising her 5 children who range from Junior in High School to second grade.


Charlene Fernandez
Arizona House of Representatives (2015 – Present)

Charlene Fernandez is a Yuma native who graduated with a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Northern Arizona University. Currently, she serves the state as a representative for Legislative District 4. She is proud to work for a large portion of the agricultural community in Arizona at the Capitol. Food security is high on Rep. Fernandez's list of legislative priorities, as is identifying and finding solutions for food deserts across the state.


Leslie Fox
Arizona Virtual Academy Service-Learning

Leslie Fox has lived throughout Arizona and has been exploring the state since 1976. She has a passion for food and community and therefore strives to make connections for a greater collective impact to make farming famous.



Siné Kerr

Managing member
Kerr Family Dairy, LLC.

The Kerr Family Dairy is run by a fourth generation dairy farm family and is located in Buckeye. The family is passionate about caring for our cattle, land and providing high quality milk from their family to yours. Siné serves as the Arizona Farm Bureau's Women's Leadership Chair and on the Arizona Farm Bureau board of directors, Maricopa County Air Quality Hearing Board and the Buckeye Valley Chamber of Commerce board of directors.


David Martinez III
Advocacy & Outreach Specialist
St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance

St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance alleviates hunger throughout Arizona, gathering and distribution more than 74 million pounds of food in 2016 while encouraging self-sufficiency, collaboration, advocacy, and education. Originally from Marana, David also serves with the Maricopa County Food System Coalition and Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, and is an inaugural Fellow with the Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy.


Erich Schultz
Steadfast Farm, Queen Creek

Erich Schultz specializes in bio-intensive and organic diversified vegetable farming. Erich's innovative and sustainable farming methods allow for maximum yield on small acreage proving that small-scale farming can be profitable and a viable solution for feeding our local communities. Erich also teaches the Sustainable Crop Production class at Mesa Community College, is the Arizona organizer for National Young Farmers Coalition and sits on the board for the East Maricopa Natural Resource Conservation District.


Rep. T.J. Shope
Arizona House of Representatives (2013 to present)
Co-owns Shop’s IGA in Coolidge

Born in Florence, Shope has lived in Coolidge for the overwhelming majority of his life and is a graduate of Coolidge High School and Central Arizona College. During his time in the House, T.J. has served on the House Committee on Energy, Environment & Natural Resources and the House Committee on Agriculture, Water & Lands.  He’s served as the Chairman of the House Committee on Rural & Economic Development. He currently serves on the House Committee on Commerce and the House Committee on Rules.  In 2017, he was named Speaker Pro Tempore.


Elizabeth Taylor, Ph.D
Green Verde Verte

Green Verde Verte makes small loans to and invests in Flagstaff food businesses in order to grow our local food economy. Elizabeth Taylor currently serves on the Advisory Board of Sustainable Economic Development Initiative (SEDI) and on the board of TerraBIRDS. She is an emeritus board member of Flagstaff Foodlink.

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