RUTH HAMBLETON – PRESIDENT
Ruth Hambleton is the founder of Annie’s Project- Education for Farm Women. She currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors. Ruth designed the educational program, commonly known as Annie’s Project, based on her life experiences as an educator and growing up on a dairy farm in Illinois. The program is based on the education needs of farm women Ruth identified during her years as an educator for the University of Illinois in the area of farm business management and marketing. The Annie’s Project approach resonates with women from all backgrounds and levels of experience.
Ruth has a passion for farm women and providing them with the tools to become successful partners or sole proprietors in agricultural business. Annie’s Project includes confidence building along with important business skills. Hambleton is the Farm Management instructor for her alma mater, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She also manages the family trust farm in the tradition of her own mother, Annette Kohlhagen Fleck, for whom the program is named.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum interviewed Ruth as part of their feature “Agriculture in the Modern Era.” Click here to watch the interview or read the transcript.
She was also selected to be featured as Prairie Woman of the Month April 2016. Read the feature here.
KELVIN LEIBOLD – VICE-PRESIDENT
Kelvin Leibold is an Area Farm Management Field Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. He earned both his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Agricultural Education at Iowa State University. He began his Extension career as a County Agriculturalist, where he served agricultural producers and businesses, and worked with rural economic development, youth, and community development. His interest in the well-being of communities and their farmers and ranchers led him to serve as a board member on an Iowa research farm, serve as president of his Chamber of Commerce, work on the renewal of a local county fair, including successful fundraising for three major building projects.
Currently Leibold is serving central and north-central Iowa focusing on financing, marketing, estate planning, starting young farmers, machinery economics and risk management. His work with over $30 million dollars of debt restructuring with financially stressed farmers brings experience and a unique perspective to those he serves. His involvement with international agriculture has taken has provided him with the opportunity to make presentations in Brazil, China, Denmark, Germany, India, Nigeria, and South Africa.
JASON JOHNSON – TREASURER
Dr. Jason Johnson is an Extension Economist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and Registered Investment Advisor (Texas State Securities Board CRD#141350). Jason received his B.S. (1991) in Agricultural Economics from Texas Tech University; his M.S. (1993) in Agricultural Economics from Louisiana State University; and his Ph.D. (1996) in Agricultural and Applied Economics with a minor in Family Financial Planning from Texas Tech University. His educational programming primarily focuses on blending traditional risk management strategies for agricultural businesses with more specific considerations associated with family financial planning.
Jason is a fifth generation rancher and owns and operates the family’s 130 year old 1,200 acre cattle operation in Jacksboro, Texas with his wife Leann and their three children (Maxi, 16; Justin, 12; and Garrison, 7). Jason began working with Annie’s Project in 2007 and serves as the Texas state coordinator for the program as well as assisting in the development of curriculum for the Annie’s Project Level 2 programs and training of facilitators nationwide. Jason has served on the Annie’s Project National Leadership Team and contributed to several national efforts aimed at empowering farm/ranch women with the resources and confidence to make better decisions for their business and family.
LYNN HEINS – SECRETARY
Growing up on a small Angus & Simmental operation, Lynn observed the importance of the farm woman’s role at an early age. Her mother played an instrumental role in financial, marketing, and production aspects of the farm. It was during Lynn’s teenage years that her mother, Ruth Hambleton, launched a risk management program specifically for farm women known as Annie’s Project—Education for Farm Women.
After earning an Agriculture Business & Economics degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, she began working as an Agriculture Business Specialist for University of Missouri Extension in 2008. She facilitated seven Annie’s Project programs from 2009 to 2014 and the allure of the program became very evident! Today, she is employed with University of Illinois Extension as County Extension Director for Unit 26 where she oversees programming and secures revenue for operations. She is married to a grain producer from Jackson County, Illinois and she is mother to twin daughters. In her free time Lynn enjoys gardening, soap making, playing piano, and boating with her family.
Board Members at Large:
A native of Minnesota, Willie’s love for agriculture began when growing up on a family farm. This guided his educational pursuits at the University of Minnesota where he completed a Master Ag Education degree. His passion for serving others deepened after spending two years in the Peace Corps in Morocco. Since then he has spent his entire professional career with the Cooperative Extension Service in Montana and North Dakota. In this capacity, he has provided regional and state wide leadership for educational programs focused on empowering people in agriculture to become better decision makers to improve their quality of life and profitability of their farm/ranch businesses. Being part of educational programs that make positive differences in people’s lives is what motivates Willie to continue his long successful career as an Extension Educator.
Karisha Devlin is an Agricultural Business Specialist with University of Missouri Extension. A native of Mississippi, Karisha joined the University of Missouri Extension in March 2002. She received a B.S. degree in Animal Science and a M.S. degree in Agribusiness Management from Mississippi State University. She earned her Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri in May of 2017. The title of her dissertation was “Meeting the educational needs of farm women: A Case Study from Annie’s Project.”
Karisha serves six counties in northeast Missouri specializing in the areas of value-added agriculture, farm management, business development, and marketing. She is passionate about educating farm women and helped to develop the curriculum for Annie’s Project. She, along with colleague Mary Sobba, serves as co-State Coordinator for Annie’s Project in Missouri.
Karisha is an alum of ALOT (Agricultural Leadership of Tomorrow) Class XI. She serves as a board member for the University of Missouri Greenley Research Center Advisory Board, Secretary/Treasurer of the St. Joseph Parish Improvement Foundation, and as President of the ALOT Foundation Board of Directors. Karisha and her husband, Dan, own and operate a grain farm in Knox County.
Angela Kazakevicius was born in Chicago, Illinois to parents who emigrated from Lithuania after World War II. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Agribusiness Economics from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. After graduation, Angela worked in the SIUC Agricultural Industries Office, as a forestry economist and as a regional water quality planner.
She spent 30+ years working for the Illinois Department of Agriculture Bureau of Land and Water Resources where she provided technical, financial and administrative assistance to the southernmost soil and water conservation districts. During that time, she was on committees that started Stewardship Week at the Illinois Forest Resource Center at Dixon Springs and Conservation Fair at the DuQuoin Fairgrounds. She provided training and oversight of the state’s conservation cost-share program and nutrient management program. She developed and delivered New Director; Workload Analysis; Personnel Management; and Leadership Skills training to soil and water conservation directors and a wide variety of trainings for staff.
Throughout her career she has kept a relationship with the SIU College of Agricultural Sciences as a member of the Alumni and Leadership Boards, with faculty on conservation tillage topics and as part-time instructor of Professional Agri-selling; Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness; Country Living; Soil and Water Conservation; and Soil Management.
Angela was part of the National Academy of Sciences Young Investigators program that looked at the agricultural impacts on water quality in Lithuania and Latvia in 1993 and 1994. This lead to presenting on how institutions can foster individual creativity using examples from southern Illinois.
In her early retirement, Angela serves as an associate director for the Jackson County Soil and Water Conservation District and is a member of the Carbondale Park District’s Grounds, Facilities and Recreation Committee. She is an American Red Cross certified Water Safety Instructor and teaches group and private swim lessons. Angela likes to travel to visit her family and friends.
Doris Mold is President of Sunrise Agricultural Associates, an agricultural consulting business; an agricultural economist and educator; as well as a farm co-owner/operator. She teaches one day a week, at the University of Minnesota (U of MN), for the MAST International Program. Previously, she worked as an Agricultural Economist at the U of MN and continues to work on research/education projects with the U of MN on a project basis. Her professional work covers a wide range of areas and activities including, among other things: farming; business and transition plan development; marketing; business/industry analysis; economic analysis; risk management analysis and evaluation; agricultural/business/leadership curriculum development and delivery; program evaluation; organizational, program, leadership, and volunteer development. Mold holds a Master of Science in Agricultural and Applied Economics, and a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Applied Economics, Animal Science and Agricultural Education, all from the U of MN.
Currently she is American Agri-Women (AAW) First Vice-President (President-elect) and in November 2015 will move into the position of President. In early 2015 she was one of twelve people appointed to be on the USDA Expert Panel charged with looking at how to get a better understanding of women in agriculture and how to more accurately count women and beginning farmers in agricultural statistics. In late 2014 she was appointed to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Agricultural Advisory Committee. Mold served six years on the Agricultural Statistics Advisory Committee for NASS and chaired the committee for three years. She is a past AAW Vice-President of Education and a past President of the AAW Foundation. She also chairs and has chaired several committees for AAW. Mold is a Past President of Minnesota Agri-Women and currently serves as District 11 President. She has a keen interest in developing a better understanding of the roles that people play in production and broader agriculture and has conducted research on the changing roles of women in agriculture.
Mold has spent a good portion of her life enthusiastically advocating for agriculture and educating people about agriculture. In her youth she was active in educating others through the 4-H and FFA programs and she continues this work as an adult volunteer in both of these programs. She served as the chair of the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation and completed six years on its board of directors. Mold founded the highly-regarded Minnesota State Fair Moo, Oink and Baa Booths which are animal educational areas at the Fair. Annually these exhibits educate over three quarters of a million Fair visitors about animal agriculture. Mold was part of a $1.4 million capital renovation that was completed to update and expand the work of the Moo Booth. Additionally, Mold is a member of, serves or has served with a number of other agricultural organizations on a local, state, national and international basis.
Toni Dunker – Ag Risk Management Advisor – Advance Trading, Inc-Quincy.
Toni joined Advance Trading in 2001. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University specializing in agriculture marketing and her master’s degree from the University of Illinois in Agriculture Education. Toni is a 1998 graduate of the Illinois Agriculture Leadership Program.
The program of study while in the IALP was national agriculture policy and agriculture in Brazil, Chile and Peru. Toni and her husband Lenny live in rural Adams County. She spends much of her “extra” time raising and showing reining horses.
Wesley Tucker – Graduating from the University of Missouri with a Master’s Degree in Agricultural Economics in 2001, Wes joined University of Missouri Extension in 2001. As Regional Agricultural Business Specialist he is involved with every aspect of agricultural business programming efforts in the seventeen county west central Missouri region through face-to-face and electronic teaching opportunities; writing newspaper and newsletter articles; and providing research-based information and resources through telephone, e-mail, and personal contacts.
He has been an Annie’s Project instructor for ten years, and has been involved with the planning and coordination of the statewide Annie’s Project conferences. He is also an APEFW-qualified facilitator trainer. His enthusiasm for the program is evident in that he has continuously had the biggest Annie’s Project classes in Missouri. Wesley goes beyond the 6-week class by sponsoring “get together” meetings that allow women to continue to network and learn.
Wesley has multiple professional certifications, awards and affiliations. He does not limit himself to only teaching, but practices his expertise as he manages his cattle herd. He brings a great deal of experience and insight to the Board. His ability to think outside the box offers the Board an opportunity to be challenged and to provide their very best for the farm and ranch women the program serves.