We are thankful to our Board of Directors for their dedication in “creating opportunities for the next generation.” The group has a wide range of backgrounds and interests, with goals to keep Pennsylvania Farm Link moving forward, financially sustainable and mission oriented.
Board members backgrounds and expertise complement each other and intertwine to create a Board that will move Pennsylvania Farm Link solidly to the forefront of organizations which truly make a difference in the Pennsylvania Agriculture industry.
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If you would like to get involved in our mission of creating opportunities for the next generation of Pennsylvania farmers, and to protect agricultural land, get in touch with us today!
2021 - 2022 Board Members
President: Ross Pifer
Director, Ag. Law Resource and Reference Center
Ross H. Pifer is a Clinical Professor of Law, Director of the Center for Agricultural and Shale Law, and Director of the Rural Economic Development Clinic at Penn State Law. In the classroom, Professor Pifer teaches courses on Oil and Gas Law, Agricultural Law, Property, and the Law and Policy of Shale Gas Development. He has given numerous presentations throughout Pennsylvania, across the United States, and internationally on agricultural law and shale gas topics to audiences consisting of agricultural producers, landowners, attorneys, judges, governmental officials, academics, and the general public.
Professor Pifer received his B.S. in agricultural business management from Penn State University, his J.D. from The Dickinson School of Law, and his LL.M. in agricultural law from the University of Arkansas School of Law. Prior to accepting his position with Penn State, he was an attorney-advisor for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of General Counsel. He also has professional work experience as an associate attorney with a private law firm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and as a territory manager for the Nutrena Feeds Division of Cargill, Inc. Additionally, he served on active duty with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps in support of the NATO Regional Headquarters, Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT) where he provided advice and representation to military personnel and commands in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Great Britain, and Germany.
Vice-President: Raechel Sattazahn
Knowledge Center Director, AgChoice Farm Credit
Raechel Sattazahn is the knowledge center director with AgChoice Farm Credit where she leads the Association’s customer education efforts, programs for young, beginning and small farmers and government relations. She graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Animal Sciences and a minor in Agribusiness Management. Raechel also holds a MBA in Food and Agribusiness from Delaware Valley University. Raechel and her husband, Doug, live in Womelsdorf, PA on Doug’s family farm, Zahncroft Dairy LLC which milks about 250 cows. Raechel is also part of her family’s farm operation, McCalls Ferry Farm LLC, in Airville, PA that direct markets beef to consumers.
Secretary: Christi Powell
Penn State Extension-Extension Educator, Business Growth and Development
Christi is based in Lehigh County, PA. She works with various farms and ag businesses in the Lehigh Valley and beyond. Christi was formerly the Agricultural Program Coordinator in Northampton County.
Aside of previous agricultural education and club involvement from Penn State and current professional Penn State Extension work, Christi comes from a family owned livestock and crop farm in Carbon County where she continues to farm with her family today. She also volunteers her time with the Carbon County 4-H Livestock Club as the Organizational Leader and Beef/Sheep/Swine Leader.
Treasurer: Lyndsey Antanitis
MBA Student & Co-Founder of Urban Farming Initiative
Lyndsey is a full-time MBA student at Northeastern University, with a concentration in Sustainability. She is co-founder of Urban Farming Initiative in Cincinnati, OH. She previously worked at Rodale Institute, as the Veteran Farmer Training Coordinator. Lyndsey, is a graduate of the Delaware Valley University Organic Farming Certificate Program and the Veteran Farmer Training Program. Lyndsey also served as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force for five years. She holds a B.S. in Health Sciences and a Certificate in Organic Farming.
Project Manager of Pasa Sustainable Agriculture's Foodshed Mapping Project
Tabitha is working with state and regional partners to aggregate resource data across all areas of the agriculture continuum as Project Manager of Pasa Sustainable Agriculture’s Foodshed Mapping Project. Prior to joining Pasa in the fall of 2020, she worked for 5 years as a project and program manager in the field of community and economic development. Tabitha grew up on a 130 acre beef cattle farm, has worked as a farm market manager, and has local food council volunteer experience.
Council and Contract Director at PennAg Industries Association
Libby Brownawell is the Council and Contract Director at PennAg Industries Association, where she oversees the Agronomic Products, Feed, Grain, and Allied Industries, Seed, Manure, and Horse Councils. She is also involved in the day-to-day administration and oversight of the PA Aquaculture Advisory Committee as well as the Center for Poultry and Livestock Excellence. In addition, she serves as the PennAg liaison for PA 4R work.
Libby graduated from Delaware Valley University with a B.S. Animal Science; Specialization: Livestock Science and Management and a Master of Management and Organizational Leadership. She enjoys hiking, kayaking, and baking.
FSA Loan Specialist Officer
Lauren Feldman is a Farm Loan Specialist for the USDA Farm Service Agency. In her current position, she reviews farm loans for approval and helps loan officers through any challenges they may face while administering loans to Pennsylvania’s farmers. She has also developed and provides a training program for new loan officers and loan analysts who are starting their career with the agency. Prior to her current position, Lauren worked in the Lancaster County FSA office as a Program Technician prior to becoming a Loan Officer in 2015. From 2011-2014, Lauren worked at Lancaster DHIA after attending Delaware Valley University where she obtained a B.S. in Business Administration. She currently resides with her husband on their hobby farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where they recently started their own breeding herd of natural colored sheep.
Grants Program Manager, The Center for Rural PA
Pam administers the research grants program and sponsored initiatives, and assists with internal research and reports. Previously she worked in civic engagement offices at West Chester University and Susquehanna University. Through these roles, Pam was involved with sustainable development and food security initiatives. She has also worked for community-based organizations in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Belize and China. Pam has a master’s degree in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Susquehanna University.
Esquire, Stock & Leader Attorneys at Law
Jody serves as the chair of the Real Estate Practice Group and the Agricultural Industry Group, and also practices in the Estates Group. She counsels clients in both the Stewartstown and York offices on farm succession planning, business development, farmland leases, and ag preservation. Growing up near her grandparents’ fruit and cattle farms in southern York County, Jody understands the needs and challenges facing the agriculture community today.
Jody is very active in the community serving on numerous boards and committees. Most recently, Jody was appointed to serve on the Board of Directors for Steam Into History. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Pennsylvania Farm Link, Southern Branch YMCA, and on the grants committee with the York County Bar Foundation.
The Central Penn Business Journal has recognized Jody as one of the regions 30 “Women of Influence” and Central Pennsylvania’s “40 Under 40 Business People.”
Director of Farmland Preservation-Lehigh County
Diane Matthews-Gehringer is the Director of Farmland Preservation for Lehigh County. Her family operates a crop and dairy farm in Weisenberg Township. She has previously worked in agricultural research specializing in organic pest management and as a land preservation manager at a local conservancy promoting the use of conservation easements for land protection and preservation. Diane is chair of the Weisenberg Township Planning Commission. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Pennsylvania State University and Masters of Science Degree from the University of Delaware, both in the field of Entomology. She also holds an Associates Degree in Ornamental Horticulture. Diane has been involved in PA Farm Link since its inception.
Editor, American Agriculturist
Chris Torres, editor of American Agriculturist, previously worked at Lancaster Farming, where he started in 2006 as a staff writer and later became regional editor. Torres is a seven-time winner of the Keystone Press Awards, handed out by the Pennsylvania Press Association, and he is a Pennsylvania State University graduate.
He is based in Lebanon County. His wife grew up on a small farm in Berks County, where they raised corn, soybeans, feeder cattle and more. Torres and his wife are parents to three young boys.
John Vogel was the former Editor of American Agriculturist, a farm business publication/website serving Northeast agriculture from Maine to Maryland. He oversaw editorial content, and covered ag technology, finance and policy issues for Penton Ag.
As Farm Link’s co-founder, John and others were instrumental in developing the forerunner of today’s Next Generation Farmer Loan Program. Farm-raised and with a B.S. from Iowa State University, he managed his family’s central Iowa farm until selling it in 2003.
John serves on Penn State’s Ag Council, Penn Veterinary School’s Board of Overseers and Christian Farmers Outreach’s board. He’s a National 4-H Foundation Distinguished Alumnus and honorary national Alpha Zeta member.
Director of State Government Affairs, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau
Darrin Youker serves as Director of State Government Affairs for Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. In that role, Youker advocates for farmers on agriculture and rural life issues. Prior to taking that role, Youker served as Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s Director of Member Communication, acting as editor of Country Focus and Positively Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s two member publications. He also served as the chief photographer and videographer, documenting Farm Bureau events and activities.
Youker also serves as the Governor’s representative on the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a bipartisan agency of the General Assembly that researches issues relevant to rural Pennsylvania.
Prior to joining Farm Bureau, Youker worked for more than a dozen years as a daily newspaper reporter for publications in New York and Pennsylvania. He received his degree from the State University of New York at Fredonia.