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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Dave Richins
President/CEO United Food Bank
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.