Meet the Board

2015 Iowa Farmers Union Board of Directors

Jana Linderman, President (Cedar Rapids)
Jana grew up on a family farm in North Dakota and is the 4th generation to work in her family’s farming operation. As a beginning farmer, she works with her parents raising spring wheat, small grains and non-GMO food-grade soybeans that are direct marketed to processors in Japan. Her long-term goal for the farm is to transition to organic production and start a farm-to-table craft distillery using grains grown on the farm. Jana has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Iowa State University and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. She is a licensed attorney in Iowa and North Dakota and has previously worked in private practice and as an environmental attorney with a nonprofit law center. Jana lives in Cedar Rapids with her husband Phillip and son Samuel., (319) 651-2250
Anthony Thompson, Vice President (Elkhart)
TonyTony started New Family Farm on his family’s century farm in 2014 and currently grows vegetables on two of those acres. He joined the Iowa Farmer’s Union to contribute to supporting sustainable agriculture and family farms across the state., 515-367-0110 
Chris Petersen, Northeast District (Clear Lake)
2013-07-15 18.39.20Chris Peterson has been an independent family farmer all his life raising row crops, livestock, and local foods. He is concerned that 91% of independent pig farmers are gone but there are the same number of pigs in Iowa. Being a part of a farm family, he has always practiced true animal husbandry with all of our livestock. He is a former President of Iowa Farmers Union,  is involved with many organizations, and has been advocating for traditional Rural America for over 30 years.  He farms near Clear Lake IA with wife Kristi, has two married children, and two grandkids.
Thomas Burkhead, Northwest District (Johnston)
 IMG_1553Thomas Burkhead co-manages Grade A Gardens with Jordan Clasen, located in the Des Moines area. It is a 12-acre farm that started with wheatgrass and garlic, but now supplies a wide array of vegetables. He is involved in the Iowa Farmers Union because he cares about expanding the local food system in Iowa.
Gabrielle Roesch-McNally (Ames)
GabrielleGabrielle grew up in SLC, Utah but did her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Washington. She headed east to learn about sustainable agriculture, climate change and corn-belt agriculture while pursuing a PhD at Iowa State University. She lives in Ames with her husband Joe, 6 chickens, a cat and a dog. Gabrielle was asked to join IFU as a student member of the board and did so because she wants to better understand how change can happen and to better support the family farmer while exploring how policy can be used to improve the landscape, both in terms of ensuring rural livelihoods and healthy farmland.
Nicole Friess-Schilling (Jefferson)

Nicole Friess-Schilling, of rural Jefferson, is excited to join the board. Nicole was grew up on the same 480 acres that she farms and oversees today. She famed corn and beans with her late husband, Christopher, until his passing in August of 2011. The couple has four kids: Jack (14), Eliot (10), Ava (8), and Blaise (5). All children are active in the farming operation, including chicken, hogs, sheep, and grass-fed beef. Nicole is truly passionate as the farm as a lifestyle – not a just a business. A lifestyle that supports a variety of crops, animals and children so they we can grow and learn together as good stewards of our land through innovation, change and love.

Suzan Erem, Southeast District (West Branch)
Untitled Suzan Erem is a beginning fruit farmer, professional writer and former organizer. She is a University of Iowa Journalism graduate who has written for newspapers, magazines and nonprofits and authored several books. Her dedication to family farmers began in the 1980’s when she found herself neck-deep in the fight to save the family farm. In 2011, she and her husband returned to their Cedar County land where they grow healthy fruits and vegetables and use native plants to restore degraded soil. She hopes her writing and organizing skills, and her new experiences in farming, can contribute to the fight to build true political and economic power for Iowa’s family farmers.
Donna Winburn, Southeast District (Grinnell)
Donna Winburn grew up on a farm in southern Iowa and then married a farmer.  They lived in central Poweshiek County for 35 years and raised three children there.  Currently, she and her husband live in Grinnell.  They are working to pass management of the family farm to the children.  Donna became involved with political issues during the farm crisis years in the 1980s.  She became a member of the Iowa Farmers Union and became President of a local chapter when it was formed by Gary Lamb.  She has served on the Board ever since, except for a two year break.  She believes that the Farmers Union is the only farm organization working to improve the opportunities for family farms not tied to an outside corporation.
Ashley Peppler, Southeast District (Grinnell)
AshleyAshley Peppler joined the board of Iowa Farmers Union in 2013.  Ashley grew up on a family farm in Mead, Colorado and has been involved with Farmers Union for most of her life, including working as an intern with National Farmers Union in 2008 and spending a summer as a camp counselor at Rocky Mountain Farmers Union’s Summer Leadership Camp in 2009.  Ashley is a 2010 graduate of American University in Washington, DC where she received her B.A. in International Studies. She received her J.D. from Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa with a certificate in Food and Agricultural Law and was admitted to the Iowa Bar in 2013.  She is currently an associate attorney in Grinnell, Iowa at Charnetski, Olson & Lacina, LLP.
Rick Hartmann, Southwast District (Minburn)
RickRick grew up on a farm in eastern Iowa. Upon obtaining degrees in Agronomy and Plant Breeding he worked variously with sustainable agricultural non-profits, plant pathologists and union organizing. Through every vocation he maintained the desire to grow food and be closer to the land. He returned to full-time farming with his wife Stacy. They recently completed their tenth growing season. Their farm, Small  Potatoes, is a well-known and respected certified organic horticultural operation whose focus is on Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). They have a six year-old daughter who manages one cat, raspberry picking and learning the fine art of chess.
Jerry Rosman, Southwest District (Harlan)
jerryJerry was born and raised in Harlan, Iowa where he lives with his wife and raised four daughters. Jerry’s family farmed in the Harlan area for three generations. In the early 2000s, unexplained reproductive failure rose in the pigs he raised on the farm he ran. He appeared in numerous newspapers and on Iowa television as a call to action for government officials to investigate GMO safety. He works to support a sustainable agricultural system in Iowa that listens to independent farmers so that the problems he faced on his farm does not hurt family farmers across the fence or other farmers across Iowa.
Aaron Heley Lehman, Southwest District (Polk City)

Lehman is a fifth generation farmer in northern Polk County, where he has a corn-soybean-small grain-hay operation with his family.  He is married to Nicole Heley Lehman.  They have two children, Jordan and Benjamin.  Lehman has served on his local school board and serves on numerous school committees.  At his church he sings in the choir and teaches Sunday school.  Aaron graduated from North Polk High School in Alleman, IA.   He has a bachelor’s degree in physics from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. He has served on the advisory board of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture since 2006.

Sally Gran, Beginning Farmer At-Large (Nevada)
SallySally Gran is a farmer at TableTop Farm in Nevada, IA, where she grows vegetables for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members. She is a part of the Farmers Union because she believes that by working together, farmers who are passionate about building thriving rural communities can make their voices heard.
Ahna Kruzic, Student Representative At-Large (Ames)
AhnaAhna Kruzic grew up in Albia, Iowa. After completing her undergraduate degree at Iowa State University, Ahna went on to travel and work as a teacher abroad, and later as a community organizer in Iowa. Now that she’s back at Iowa State, Ahna is working towards her MS is Sustainable Agriculture and Sociology while working with communities to understand enabling environments for the development of resilient local food systems and rural communities. Ahna is excited to serve as a student member of the IFU board; she believes that organized people can be a real force for positive change – and IFU can help create a healthy vision for Iowa agriculture.

Iowa Farmers Union
521 East Locust Street, Suite 220
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
Phone: (515) 244-1194