Jane Coghlan is a recent graduate of the first school in the US dedicated to exploring the principles of sustainability: the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University. She graduated in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in Sustainable Food Systems and a minor in Nutrition and Healthy Living. She received special recognition at graduation for maintaining a 4.0 GPA throughout every semester, earning her the Moeur Award. Jane currently works as a Food Systems Specialist at the ASU Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems. In this role, she supports the Center’s research work and assists in managing their graduate programs. Her expertise stems both from her studies in food systems and her two internship experiences on the Grain Place Farm. Her time spent on the farm drives her passion for organic agriculture and inspired her to pursue a career in sustainable food systems.
Kathleen Delate is Professor of Organic Agriculture at Iowa State University where she has served for the past 20 year. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of California-Berkeley, 1991, a Master of Science degree from the University of Florida, 1986, and a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Florida, 1977. She has over 35 years of organic ag experience on-farm and at Universities. She has received many awards for her work including being named Rodale Institute Organic Pioneer in 2017. She has been active in many public and private groups related to organic, sustainable, and regenerative agriculture including currently serving as a member of the Organic Trade Association’s Organic Center Advisory Board.
Charles Francis is Professor of Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska — Lincoln, and Visiting Professor of Agroecology, Norwegian University of Life Sciences. His degrees are from Univ California — Davis (B.S.) and Cornell Univ. (M.S. and Ph.D.), and he has worked in Philippines, Colombia, and Norway. He directed a dryland agriculture program in Morocco (1982-1984), initiated the international program for Rodale Institute (1984-85), and was director of the Center for Sustainable Agricultural Systems at UNL (1990-2000). He was on the board of directors of The Land Institute, Salina, Kansas for 15 years, and has been active with Center for Rural Affairs in Nebraska. He has held research, teaching, extension and administrative positions at UNL from 1977 to present. He is author of 200 reviewed journal articles, 80 book chapters, 8 books, and numerous proceedings and workshops publications. His research interests are in long-term cropping and farming systems, local food systems, peri-urban farming, and crop rotations; teaching includes agroecology, organic farming, urbanization of rural landscapes, international seminars, and land grabs in the global south.
Thomas Harding has over 40 years in organic agriculture and trade. He was a Founder and President of Lehigh Valley Organic Growers, Inc., Founder and First President of the Organic Crop Improvement Association, Co-Founder and First President Institute of Alternative Agriculture, Founding Member and First President Organic Trade Association, Board Member and President International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, and Founder and President The Brice Institute. He is a past President of the Foundation.
David Meyer grew up on a farm in northeast Nebraska where he developed a deep appreciation for the soil and those who tend it. He is familiar with local agriculture having lived and been active in Hamilton County for many years before being relocated by this work. He brings a different perspective to our board having served 36 years with Dow Agro Sciences (Corteva). He is a trained plant breeder who has worked all over the world. He states, “I believe that soils and a healthy ecosystem must have more emphasis and focus. I fully believe that there is a balance between production and sustainability. I believe that there is a rich and robust middle ground between organic Ag and industrialized Ag and the farming community has much to gain by them working more together instead of in a polarized way.” Dave also brings a wealth of experience having worked with local and international non-profit organizations. He serves as our Foundation Treasurer.
Chuck Porter is an Indiana native who began to call Nebraska home in 2001 when he moved with his family onto a 160 acre farm in Otoe County. Their seven years on that farm provided a rich, yet challenging opportunity to establish an organic produce business and the beginnings of a grass-fed dairy operation (later carried forward more successfully by another family). Chuck and his wife Susanna, an occupational therapist, put down roots in Nebraska while raising their two children. An opportunity to purchase their own property and for Chuck to begin working for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) have led to what is now 21 years of Nebraska life. Chuck also has a Masters in Religious Communications from United Theological Seminary in Dayton Ohio, the institution where he first became acquainted with David Vetter as David served on the Advisory Board for the Environmental Ministries Project at UTS while Chuck served a stint as that project’s director. Chuck has long been a fan of Don and Dave Vetter from his early experiences getting to know about their lives and legacies. Chuck was delighted to be invited by the Grain Place Foundation to serve on the board, a responsibility he accepts with great gratitude to the Vetter family and all who also call the Vetters friends and allies in regenerative agriculture. Chuck currently serves in the Nebraska East Area staff of NRCS as a Civil Engineering Technician.
Allison Vetter is the Director of Equal Opportunity Compliance & Title IX Coordinator at Lawrence University in Appleton Wisconsin. Allison is an alumna of Doane University and received her master’s degree and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. She has and served on boards of several non-profit organizations in the arts, education, and women’s issues. Allison was raised on the Grain Place and continues to have an active interest its operations. She is a shareholder in the Grain Place and has pledged to contribute shares to Grain Place Foundation. She serves as Board President.
Glenda Vetter is a retired Social Worker from Grand Island, NE having served as a school social worker, hospital social worker and in private counseling practice. She has served on several non-profit boards in Hall County Nebraska. She spent part of her childhood on the farm that became the Grain Place. She and her husband, Charlie Ponec, have devoted much volunteer time helping develop the Grain Place, including planting many trees, keeping bees on the property, and assisting with care of the buildings. She is a current shareholder of the Grain Place and has pledged to contribute shares to Grain Place Foundation.
Jay Vetter is a retired United Methodist Pastor who spent 42 years serving congregations in Nebraska. He spent part of his childhood on the farm that would become the Grain Place. He has served on many non-profit boards in several Nebraska Communities. He is a current shareholder of Grain Place and has pledged to contribute shares to Grain Place Foundation. He serves as volunteer Executive Director.
Raymond Hain (Ex-Officio Board Member, Grain Place Farm Manager)
David Vetter (Ex-Officio Board Member, CEO of Grain Place Foods) has been living an ongoing experiment in how to grow food in a way that is both regenerative to the soil and economically viable for the people who farm, since 1975. His steadfast commitment has driven him on, past innumerable challenges and obstacles. He has always had a vision for success that’s broader than his own self, which led him to develop an infrastructure for the marketing of organic grains in our area. He originally pursued a call to missionary service after college, which eventually led him back home to the family farm to try out methods of farming that would improve the quality of the soil. When Rodale Institute named him an Organic Pioneer in 2016, they shared more details of his inspiring story. David has lived on the farm since 1975. With his late wife, Rogean, he raised his three children there: Allison, Darci and Madison.
Molly Vetter serves as the volunteer Coordinator of Communications for the Grain Place Foundation. She is also the Pastor of Westwood United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, California.