Food & Agriculture Policy Advisory Committee
Cassie Lyman, Committee Chair
Agriculturalist and Volunteer Extraordinaire
Cassie Lyman is a 1st generation agriculturalist and volunteer extraordinare. Her husband, of 17 years, Jared Lyman is a sixth generation Cattle Rancher and together they have four young boys to carry on their families Ranching Heritage and Legacy. Their family owns and operates Lyman Ranches a Cow-Calf Cattle Ranch along the north shore of Roosevelt Lake and in Gisela, Arizona. Cassie has a passion for serving her community and the agriculture industry! She has received many distinguished awards and recognitions due to this zeal and commitment to agriculture including 4th in the Nation in the American Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement in Agriculture Award, Arizona Honorary State FFA Degree, Arizona Farm Bureau AITC (Ag in the Classroom) Volunteer of the Year Award, and countless others. When Cassie is not at home rounding up cattle, tending to the ranch, or homeschooling her three oldest boys she can be found serving in her community and across the State. She currently serves as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Tonto Basin Branch Young Women's President, Northern Gila County 4-H (Livestock 4-H Club Leader, Community 4-H Teen Council Mentor, and 4-H Leaders Council Vice President), Arizona Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom Volunteer, Northern Gila County Fair Board Member, President of Gila County Farm Bureau, and Member of Project CENTRL (Center for Rural Leadership) Class 27. Cassie is known for her love of family, community, industry and being a lifelong advocate of Agriculture.
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.
Community Relations and Marketing Manager – Duncan Family Farms
Patty Emmert is the Community Relations and Marketing Manager for Duncan Family Farms, a certified organic farm specializing in leafy greens and specialty vegetables. Their growing operations are located in Arizona, California, Oregon, and New York. Since joining the farm in 2010 her main responsibility has been to develop a distribution platform for the farm’s Specialty Vegetable crops, increase brand identity, develop a marketing program for the farm and community outreach programs and oversee the business development and sales for their Specialty Vegetable crops.
Additionally, Patty is the current Director for Slow Food Phoenix which is the local chapter of a global non-profit organization that is focused on good, clean and fair food. She was a US Delegate to Terra Madre in Turin, Italy. She is a member of Blue Watermelon Project where the focus is taste education and healthy food in schools. She is the Production Chair for the AZ Farm to School network. Her dedication is deeply rooted in building vibrant local food supply systems and making sure that everyone has access to healthy, fresh food.
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.
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.
Elyse Guidas, MPH
Elyse serves as Executive Director of Farm Express, a fleet of nonprofit, mobile produce markets that sell high quality, affordable fruits and vegetables in communities with limited access to healthy food. She is Vice Chair of the City of Phoenix Environmental Quality and Sustainability Commission and is also adjunct faculty at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, where she teaches courses in the areas of budget and finance for healthcare organizations. Elyse is a passionate proponent of health in all aspects of public life and works tirelessly to make Arizona inclusive and equitable for all.
Senator Siné Kerr - Ex Officio Member
Arizona State Senate (2018- Present)
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.
Dr. Glenna McCollum, DM, MPH, RDN, FAND
Dr. McCollum served as the President of the national Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – the largest food and nutrition organization serving over 100,000 credentialed practitioners nationwide. With 20 + years of experience in the field of nutrition and nutrition education, Glenna currently consults with selected agricultural companies who are focused on soil health and sustainability - to enhance, protect and restore the nutritional quality of crops and our food supply.
Glenna served as Director of Nutrition for Central Arizona College for 17 years, currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Center for Rural Leadership (Project CENTRL), and has served on numerous committees, task forces and public policy initiatives at the state and national level. Dr. McCollum has participated in strategic collaborations from public health to agriculture, from food technology to global food distribution and production. Dr. McCollum received her Doctorate in Management and Organizational Leadership from the University of Phoenix where the win-win of collaboration was the focus of her dissertation. She also received her Master’s in Public Health from Loma Linda University, and two Bachelor of Science degrees from Arizona State University.
President/CEO United Food Bank
Representative T.J. Shope - Ex Officio Member
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.
Rafael’s public and private sector experience is concentrated in the areas of human, economic, workforce and community development. He has served as the senior advisor to the office of the chairman of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Arizona Department of Commerce Tribal Liaison to the 22 Arizona Indian Tribes, business development consultant and small business owner.
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.
Kami Weddle, Director
Rousseau Farming Company
Kami Weddle is the Director of Food Safety & Quality with Rousseau Farming Company® in Phoenix. During the past 12 years she has implemented and maintained safety and quality programs for the 9,000 acre farming operation. Ms. Weddle currently serves on the Citrus Fruit & Vegetable Advisory Council for the Arizona Department of Agriculture, overseeing the implementation and training for the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act - Produce Safety Rule. She also serves on the Arizona Leafy Green Marketing Agreement Technical sub-committee, focused on improving food safety systems across the supply chain and providing training kits for growers across the country.
Kami is also a member of Project CENTRL Class 27. Kami has a passionfor farming which began while growing up on a farm in Yuma, AZ. This passion led her to pursue a B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Arizona, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS). She continues to be an active Alumni of CALS and most recently served as the Alumni Board President. Following graduation, Kami’s love for travel led her to the United Kingdom where she completed a Master’s of Science in Business Management at the Norwich Business School.
Kami’s focus during her career has been on educating consumers and providing safe produce. But, she guarantees Rousseau Farming grows the sweetest carrots around! In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends on the Arizona waterways and exploring this beautiful state.