2020 Women’s Conference Speakers

Kate Greenberg, Colorado Agriculture Commissioner

Kate Greenberg was appointed to serve as Colorado’s Commissioner of Agriculture by Governor Jared Polis in December 2018. She leads a staff of 300 employees across the department’s eight divisions of Animal Health, Brand Inspection, Colorado State Fair, Conservation Services, Inspection and Consumer Services, Laboratory Services, Markets and Plant Industry.

As Commissioner, Greenberg’s key initiatives are to support and grow the next generation of Colorado’s agriculture producers, increase high value food and market opportunities, incentivize soil, water and climate stewardship and enhance mental health awareness and services in the state’s rural communities.

Prior to her appointment, Greenberg worked as the Western Program Director for National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC), establishing and growing the organization’s presence across the West. In her role as Director she worked with farmers and ranchers to reshape policies and programs at the state and federal levels that affect farmland affordability, agriculture education, and access to capital and credit for young and beginning producers.

Alexis Taylor, Director, Oregon Department of Agriculture

Alexis Taylor was appointed Director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) by Governor Kate Brown in December 2016. As Director, she works with the governor and legislature as well as agricultural, conservation, and consumer groups to carry out the state’s agriculture policy. ODA has a three-fold mission of ensuring food safety and consumer protection, protecting natural resources, and marketing Oregon agriculture products around the state, country, and world.

Prior to Alexis’ appointment, she oversaw the US Department of Agriculture’s Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (FFAS), which is comprised of the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Risk Management Agency (RMA), and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Alexis worked to build new markets across the globe and improve the overall competitive position of US agricultural products in the marketplace.

Alexis also led the Women in Ag Initiative that was a driving force in USDA’s mission to support the growing and diverse next generation of farmers and ranchers.

Before joining USDA, Alexis served for various members in the US House of Representatives and US Senate, and worked on the 2008 and 2014 Farm Bills.

Alexis served in the United States Army Reserves from 1998 to 2006. During that time, she completed one tour in Iraq with the 389th Combat Engineer Battalion.

Alexis is a graduate of Iowa State University and grew up on her family farm in Iowa, which has been in her family for 160 years.

Rachel Armstrong, Executive Director and Founder, Farm Commons

Rachel Armstrong’s passion for farming goes way back to the days when she proudly proclaimed that she wanted to be a farmer when she grew up. Rachel has lived out that dream in many ways, from working on farms to managing a community garden, starting a catering company that featured local foods and running a nonprofit local foods consulting program. Although she never dreamed of becoming an attorney, when Rachel realized how keenly the farming community needed quality legal information, she felt compelled. Now, Rachel loves resolving the business legal issues that hinder farmers from achieving their goals.

Poppy Davis, Agricultural Business and Policy Advisor

Poppy Davis is a business and policy adviser to agricultural and food and beverage enterprises, and to nonprofits and local governments. She provides farmers and ranchers with training and technical assistance on issues such as business formation, land tenure, credit, taxation, liability, regulatory compliance, and value-added inventory.  She works directly with nonprofits, associations, and local governments to help them develop financial and managerial capacity and programs to improve the environment for farming, ranching and healthy food access.

She worked eight years at the USDA, most recently as the National Program Leader for Small Farms and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. Previously she was a California CPA with an emphasis in agricultural enterprises and non-profits. She holds a Juris Doctor with a Certificate in Food and Agriculture from Drake University Law School, a Masters in Journalism from Georgetown, and a BS in Agricultural Economics from the University of California at Davis.

Linda Emanuel, Community Health Nurse, AgriSafe

Linda engages with the agriculture community as a health care advocate and educator. She develops webinars, on site presentations as well as resources to enhance learning in regards to health and safety topics specific to the needs of the agricultural workforce. She promotes this work on a state, regional and national level. Her passion as an agriculture producer and co-proprietor of her 3 generational Nebraska family farms, enables her to act as a liaison between research and practice and therefore drives her work to address the everchanging needs of this population.

Gianna Banducci, Cooperative Development Specialist, California Center for Cooperative Development

Gianna Banducci has spent eight years as a cooperative owner, developer, board member, and consultant. Her experience has centered around food and agriculture co-ops within California and Oregon. As a founding member of Our Table Cooperative, a multi-stakeholder food and farm co-op located near Portland, Oregon, Gianna dedicated her efforts to marketing, sales, outreach, operations, and organizational structure and policy. Over the years, Gianna has collaborated with small entrepreneurs on organizational visioning, multi-channel marketing strategy, business development, and community engagement. Gianna earned her master’s degree in food culture and communications from l’Università degli studi di Scienze Gastronomiche.

Sherri Dugger, Executive Director, Women Food and Agriculture Network

Sherri Dugger serves as executive director of Women, Food and Agriculture Network and Indiana Farmers Union, as a policy and communications consultant for American Grassfed Association, and a Midwest outreach consultant for Earthjustice. She is also a co-chair of the national Farmers and Ranchers for a Green New Deal coalition. Dugger is a member of the National Agricultural Advisory Council for the Humane Society of the United States, and she re-established the Midwest Sustainable Agriculture Working Group in early 2019. Dugger resides on a small farm in Morristown, Indiana, with her husband, Randy.

Kriss Marion, Co-Owner and Operator, Circle M Farm

Kriss Marion is a Farmer, Baker, Changemaker. That’s what her campaign slogan was in her 2018 run for Wisconsin State Senate, and she’s still all those things today. She didn’t win, but she’s glad she ran and excited to tell you why. Kriss is an organic farmer on 20 acres in SW Wisconsin: a mom of four, grandma of one, shepherd to 26 sheep and mentor to dozens of women – both D and R – who are stepping up to make change in their own communities.

Allison Paap, Vice President-Lending Manger, American AgCredit

As Vice President-Lending Manger for American AgCredit, Allison Paap helps provide financing for all types of farmers and ranchers throughout Southern California. With over 19 years of experience with Farm Credit, Allison has been an active participant in the Southern California agricultural community. She currently serves on the Boards of the San Diego County Farm Bureau and the Riverside Food System Alliance, and is a member of the urban agriculture working group for the Los Angeles Food Policy Council. In her spare time, Allison enjoys exploring the mountains and beaches of Southern California her husband and two daughters.