2019 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@example.com, (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.
Emily Coll, Treasurer
Emily Coll is a Program Coordinator for the ISU Extension and Outreach Local Foods Team. She works with people from all aspects of the food system; farmers, processors, distributors, aggregators, and consumers.
Emily recently returned to Iowa to support and participate in the local foods movement. She was raised on a corn/soybean rotation farm in Guthrie County that did not survive the 1980’s farm financial crisis and therefore moved to the big city of Boone, Iowa. This experience catapulted her into a passion for horticulture and resilient food production systems. She received a B.S. in Horticulture from Iowa State University and continued her passion in ecologically-based production systems by receiving a M.S. in Integrated Pest Management from Michigan State University.
Emily has served as the treasurer for the Iowa Farmer’s Union for six months and has been a Board member since December 2017. She is enthusiastic about being involved with IFU because of its long history of truly supporting farmers and Iowa agriculture through active policy and legislative activities as well as educational outreach programs. firstname.lastname@example.org
Carly McAndrews, Secretary / Student Rep
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
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
Suzan Erem, Southeast District
Suzan moved to Iowa to attend the University of Iowa in the early 1980s. She cut her teeth on the Farm Crisis and South African divestiture and hasn’t stopped fighting for economic justice since. She pursued other opportunities out of state but always considered Iowa home, finally returning in 2010 for good. Seeing the devastation that industrial agriculture has caused to the Iowa landscape and its small towns made her want to be part of the solution, first by joining the Iowa Farmers Union board and then by calling on Iowa leaders to form the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust. Both efforts keep her busy in the fight for the family-scale farm. She grows chestnuts, pears, honeyberries, heartnuts, prairie and timber with her husband Paul Durrenberger on their 75 acres in Cedar County.
John Gilbert, Northeast District
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, Beginning Farmer
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
D'Quinton Robertson, Southwest District
D’Quinton is originally from Alabama but has been an Iowa resident for the past 5 years. He is a full time student at Southeast Community College in Beatrice, Nebraska and is studying Diversified Agricultural Management and Production. He is also a beginning farmer and works as a farmhand at Lehman Farms LTD in Polk County. The family-oriented and eager to teach approach of the Iowa Farmers Union attracted him to join the organization. He is very excited about promoting growth and development of beginning farmers during his term.
Jerry Rosman, Southwest District
Ron Tigner, Northwest District
Donna Winburn, Southeast District
Donna 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 lives 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.
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.
Laura Funk Kopecky, Education, Communications, and Outreach Specialist (Story County)
Laura moved to Iowa to attend Iowa State University in 2006 and immediately knew this was home. Befriending an organic vegetable farmer introduced her to the challenges smallholder farmers face and the environmental impacts that farming practices can have on the landscape. A growing interest in supporting local food and involvement in environmental activism led her to the Farmers Union. In her free time Laura loves paddling the Skunk River, riding her two horses, and hiking with her husband, dogs, and young son. She hopes that IFU’s work will help preserve the beautiful and unique landscape of Iowa and ensure that as her son grows up he will have the opportunity to enjoy it as much as she does.