Board of Directors and Staff

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.

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.

David Van Pelt, grew up on a farm near Archer Nebraska.  After graduating from high school in Central City,  Nebraska he went on to obtain a degree in Agriculture Education at the University of Nebraska Lincoln.   He currently lives in Lincoln, Nebraska where he works as an ag lender for a family owned community bank, Midwest Bank N.A.. Prior to moving to Lincoln he spent approximately  27 years as a bank officer at Pinnacle Bank where he worked with the Grain Place and Grain Place Foods.  He serves a Board Treasurer.

Allison Vetter is a Title IX Investigator & Education Coordinator at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. 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 currently serves on boards of several non-profit organizations in the arts, education, and women’s issues in north central Arkansas. 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 Secretary.

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.

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 serves as Board President.

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 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.