Big Horn Basin Food Summit


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Brenda Allen

USDA Rural Development Area Specialist

Brenda Allen was raised in a military household living in several states and in Panama in her formative years. Her family settled in Missouri near Fort Leonard Wood or as the Army fondly calls it “Fort Lost in the Woods.” She received her BS in Animal Science from the University of Missouri at Columbia. Job experiences include a wide variety from cleaning hotel rooms while in high school, to farm hand, to working in a bank for many years.

Brenda started with USDA Rural Development in January 2008 as an Area Clerk. She is currently an Area Specialist working in the Rural Business Specialty Program Area and the Community Program Area.

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Caitlin Youngquist

NW Area Agriculture Educator for University of Wyoming Extension

Caitlin Youngquist serves as the NW Area Agriculture Educator for University of Wyoming Extension. Prior to joining the UW Extension team she worked in NW Washington State as a Small Farm Planner for the Snohomish Conservation District, as a Research Associate for Washington State University, and was co-owner/operator of a small grass-fed beef operation. She earned her Bachelors in Animal Science and Masters and Doctorate in Soil Science from Washington State University. While in the beef business, Caitlin worked with the Puget Sound Food Hub to sell to local institutions and restaurants.

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Debra Anderson

USDA Rural Development Area Specialist & State Energy Coordinator

Debra Anderson arrived in Wyoming when she was two months old and grew up in Hulett, where she graduated from Hulett High School with 15 other students.Travels after high school took her as far east as Minnesota and as far west as California, where she earned her Bachelors degree in Education and Teaching credentials from California State University at Chico.

Debra has worked for USDA Rural Development for 20 years.When she started in 1994, they were known as Farmers Home Administration.She has worked across all Rural Development programs as an Assistant, Clerk, Technician, and now Area Specialist in the Sheridan, Wyoming office.Debra’s current primary focus is on Rural Development’s Specialty Programs and as the State Energy Coordinator.

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Jan Tusick

Director, Mission Mountain Market Food Enterprise and Cooperative Development Center

Jan Tusick is the co-founder and Director of Lake County Community Development Corporation’s Mission Mountain Market Food Enterprise Center- a Food, Agriculture and Cooperative Development Center- The center provides a unique opportunity for area agricultural producers and food entrepreneurs in their business development by providing a USDA and FDA inspected shared- use processing facility with technical expertise and support.During the last 20 years Jan has effectively assisted food businesses, cooperative groups and value added agricultural ventures in their business development, providing business and market planning, capitalization development, feasibility analysis, and navigating the food regulatory world. She is a founding steering committee member of Grow Montana- a coalition of organizations that are focused on developing and pursuing policies that will strengthen Montana’s regional food economy.

Her agricultural background of 35 years gives her a solid foundation of understanding the agricultural economy and the challenges it faces. Jan holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Agricultural Science, from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA. She presently lives on an eighty acre sheep farm with her husband, Will, and their main production is natural lamb, which they direct market. As a committed agriculturist in Montana, Jan understands the challenges facing the small farmer today and is proactive in working hard to bring opportunities to Montana farmers and ranchers.

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Karen Panter, Ph.D., C.P.H.

Extension Horticulture Specialist, UW

Dr. Karen Panter is the state Extension Horticulture Specialist at the University of Wyoming (UW). A member of the Department of Plant Sciences, she has responsibilities in three areas: extension, teaching, and research. She has been at UW since August 1998 after having served for ten years as multi-county greenhouse specialist with Colorado State University Extension.

Dr. Panter received her bachelor's degree in horticulture with an emphasis in floriculture from Colorado State University. She earned her master's degree, also in horticulture/floriculture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She then went back to Colorado State where she successfully completed her doctorate in horticulture/floriculture.

At UW, Karen's position is 50% extension. She works with producers of horticultural crops around the state and does a considerable amount of speaking and writing on topics of interest to growers and consumers alike. Karen also has a 25% teaching component to her job and teaches three courses: introductory horticulture (each fall on-line), plant propagation (even springs), and greenhouse crop production (odd springs). She also has a 20% research component and has worked on production of fresh cut sunflowers in the greenhouse and in high tunnels as a niche crop for Wyoming growers to sell locally. A current project is growing fresh herbs in the greenhouse and high tunnels. She also heads up the new All America Selections (AAS) Display Garden on the UW campus in Laramie. This is the first AAS garden in Wyoming, first planted in June 2012. She has also worked on growing native plant species from seeds for the green roof on the new Berry Diversity Conservation Building on the UW campus, among other projects.

Dr. Panter's husband Mark is a landscape horticulturist. They have two sons, Scott and Evan, one fur-person dog (Bee), as well as a house and yard full of plants.

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Linda Stratton

Assistant Manager, Wyoming Dept of Agriculture - Consumer Health Services

Linda Stratton is a Wyoming native and has worked for the Wyoming Department of Agriculture for 34 years. She was a field inspector and is now the Assistant Manager of Consumer Health Services. Over the years with the department she has inspected all types of food facilities such as food processors, dairy farms and plants, retail stores, restaurants, and meat plants. She is currently on the Wyoming Farmers Marketing Association Board of Directors and also the Wyoming Food Safety Coalition Board.

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Sherri D. Harvey

County Executive Director (CED), Washakie/Hot Springs Farm Service Agency

Sherri Harvey is the County Executive Director (CED) of Washakie/Hot Springs County Farm Service Agency in Worland, Wyoming. Sherri has been a CED for 23 years, beginning her career as a CED in Oklahoma for 12 years, Texas an additional 8 years and now in Wyoming over 3 years.

Harvey is active with the Big Horn Ag Ambassadors. She currently serves as Treasurer for the organization. She is also a District Representative for the Wyoming Association of State and County Office Employees.

Harvey is also a Wyoming LEAD Program Alumni from Class 12.

Harvey is an Oklahoma State University graduate with a degree in Agriculture Economics. She was raised in Northeastern Oklahoma on the family ranch.

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