2020 Iowa Farmers Union Board of Directors
Aaron Heley Lehman, President
Aaron is a fifth-generation family farmer from rural Polk County, where he and his family raise corn, soybeans, oats, and hay in both organic and conventional rotations. Aaron was elected to serve as the IFU president in 2016 and had served as the IFU vice president immediately prior to his election. He also has served as the executive director and legislative director for IFU and on the National Farmers Union Policy Committee. Aaron’s father Phil is a past IFU vice president and board member, and Aaron was active in Farmers Union youth programs growing up. Aaron is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and Treasurer of the North Polk School Foundation. He is a graduate of North Polk High School in Alleman, Iowa and earned a bachelor’s degree in physcis from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Aaron has previously served on the North Polk School District Board of Directors, the Iowa Citizen Action Network Board of Directors, and various school and church communities. He is a member of Practical Farmers of Iowa and the Iowa chapter of the National Farmers Organization. Aaron and his wife Nicole have two children, Jordan and Benjamin. [email protected], (515) 291-2656
Julia McGuire, Vice President
Julia McGuire grew up on an acreage in unincorporated Des Moines, graduated from Dowling Catholic High School, and holds an engineering degree from Iowa State University. She is a small honey producer, the grant administrator for a local non-profit organization involved in urban agriculture, and program coordinator for a state-wide non-profit organization focused on responsible land use. The creator of BeeLaws.org, she is known for being very active in and responsive to her local beekeeping community. Her previous involvement in the Iowa Farmers Union includes participation in state Lobby Days, National Fly-In, and serving on the Board of Directors for Southwest Iowa and Convention Committee. Seeing her four children “leave the nest” and make good decisions independently has caused Julia to see more value in IFU’s grassroots work through education, legislation and cooperation to provide Iowans with sustainable production, safe food, a clean environment, and healthy communities.
[email protected], 515-988-1828
Carly McAndrews, Beginning Farmer
Carly McAndrews is a student in the Graduate Program of Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. Prior to starting school, she worked on small-scale, diversified vegetable farms in Connecticut, Vermont, California, and here in Iowa. She has a deep love for farm work and is committed to helping develop alternative food systems that better serve eaters and growers. Carly and her partner Bryant Mann are aspiring farmers who seek to begin a small CSA in 2019. Carly is excited to be on the Iowa Farmers’ Union board and she looks forward to advocating with farmers to continue the work of building a more resilient, community-based food system.
Toby Cain, Northeast District
A native of Southern Illinois, Toby Cain graduated from Grinnell College with a degree in anthropology. After pursuing graduate studies in Italy, Toby moved back to Iowa and has worked at numerous agricultural nonprofits including Seed Savers Exchange, the Iowa Organic Association and WWOOF-USA. She is currently a Regional Political Director in Iowa for Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign.
Mike Carberry, Southeast District
Mike Carberry of Iowa City was elected to the Johnson County Board of Supervisors in 2014.
Mike was raised in Newhall, Iowa, in a large, fifth generation Iowa family. His family moved to Johnson County in 1976, and Mike graduated from Iowa City Regina High School, then earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Iowa in 1983.
He held several positions in the fields of renewable energy and sustainability, including as the Executive Director of the Iowa Renewable Energy Association; Midwestern Nuclear Campaign Coordinator for Friends of the Earth; Senior Regional Field Director with the Iowa Global Warming Campaign; Campaign Manager for Citizens for Public Power; and Director of Green State Solutions, a consulting firm specializing in advocacy, outreach and campaign organizing around environmental issues. Mike also worked as the Benefit Director at Iowa City’s Englert Theatre.
Mike’s volunteer efforts also reflect his interest in the environment. He has served many roles with the Sierra Club, including Chairperson for the Iowa City Area Group, and member of the State of Iowa Chapter Executive Committee. He was awarded the 2013 Environmental Activist of the Year award from the State Chapter of the Sierra Club. Mike currently serves on the boards of the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Iowa Wind Energy Association and 1000 Friends of Iowa
John Gilbert, Northeast District
John and his wife, Beverly, farm with one of their sons, and one of his brothers and their wives in north central Iowa’s Hardin County. They are the county’s last dairy, and have been selling their pigs to Niman Ranch since 1998. John has been a long time Iowa Farmers Union member, and is in his second term as a board member. His late parents, William and Mary, were also members for most of their lives. John and Beverly have two sons and one daughter, and two grandchildren.
Joshua Manske, Northwest District
Ryan Marquardt, Southwest District
Ryan Marquardt is a fifth-generation Madison County Farmer. He owns and operates Wild Rose Pastures, LLC with his wife and high school sweetheart Janice and their two children. They have raised and direct marketed grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken and turkeys and free-range eggs for over a decade in Central Iowa. In addition to the serving on the Iowa Farmers Union Board, Ryan also serves on the Iowa Food Cooperative Board, Madison County Development Foundation Board, and the Practical Farmers of Iowa Savings Incentive Program Selection Committee. In the past, Ryan has run for the Iowa House, and served as president of the Iowa Network for Community Agriculture, church council president, and township trustee. Ryan graduated from Iowa State University with MA in Sustainable Agriculture, a BS in Community and Regional Planning, and a certificate in Public Administration. Ryan is an ardent supporter of open markets and transparency for farms of all sizes, streamlining regulation for small and medium producers, and opposing monopolies in the agricultural supply chain.
Emily Miller, Secretary / Student Rep
Emily is a master’s candidate in Rural Sociology at the University of Missouri, where her area of interest is local food systems and their linkages to rural communities. In her work, she strives to promote sound policies and programs that benefit folks in rural communities through a number of channels, including viable economic markets, environmental stewardship, and improved quality of life. She received her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University, where she double majored in Animal Science and Agriculture & Society. Emily has interned with the National Reining Horse Association, served as a Horticulture Research Aid at the USDA North Central Plant Introduction Station, and judges horse shows throughout the Midwest. More recently, she served as a Legislative Clerk in the Iowa House of Representatives, and is currently a Policy Coordinator for the Missouri Science and Technology Policy Fellows. She also serves on the board of directors for the Women, Food & Agriculture Network.
Chris Petersen, Northeast District
Jerry Rosman, Southwest District
Ron Tigner, Northwest District
Iowa Farmers Union Staff
Deborah Bunka, Membership & Fundraising Director
Deborah comes to Iowa via Canada where she worked for various non-profits including serving as Executive Director of the Tamarack Foundation for learning disabled children in Saskatchewan, and editing an arts newspaper in Hamilton, Ontario. Relocating to Ames in 1996 with her family, she wrote a monthly column on food history and availability of seasonal local foods for the Ames Tribune, while also writing a regular food column for the regional ‘Facets’ magazine. For five years, Deborah ran a farmers market in Ames, opening Iowa’s first year-round, indoor market and launching a CSA. Coinciding with her life-long interest in social, political and economic justice, she travelled Iowa for several months, talking with people about clean water issues and volunteered for two years with Iowa CCI as a citizen-lobbyist. These experiences have made Deborah a good fit for her work with Iowa Farmers Union.
Christina Dexter, Education, Communications, and Outreach Specialist