Lauren developed a love for agriculture while pursuing her degree in Environmental Studies at Binghamton University in New York. During college she worked at a number of vegetable CSA farms before co-launching the Binghamton Urban Farm with the non-profit, VINES, managing a youth employment program. With the Food & Health Network of South Central NY she learned how to create collaborations between various organizations to understand their role in food systems development. In 2014 she became a Certification Specialist with NOFA-NY Certified Organic where she had a significant role in developing the Organic Plus Trust Grass-fed Organic standards. She later became Co-Director for NOFA-NY, growing her leadership in non-profit management. For 4 years she co-owned Stone Horse Farm, working with draft animals to grow vegetables and dry beans. Lauren can often be found in a tree stand or river as her other passions involve hunting, fishing, kayaking, gardening and hiking. Lauren resides along the Tioghnioga river north of Binghamton, NY.
Growing up in Sheridan, Wyoming, Shelleen lived on her grandparent’s small farm, just down the road from a ranching operation and local dairy. These early years left a lasting mark, instilling an affection for livestock and a lifelong desire to grow food the way her grandfather had taught her. As a young woman, she spent several years establishing her family and seeking nutritious, organic foods to feed them. As her children grew, Smith began work as Director of External Affairs with a Nasdaq-listed resource development company. A change in focus professionally led Smith to New Mexico, where she founded Trailhead Communications; providing legislative, regulatory and governmental affairs services to a variety of clients. Prior to joining Organic Plus Trust, she served as Executive Director of the New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association, represented clients in the cattle industry and successfully lobbied for a Congressional resolution recognizing Hispanic Restaurant Week. A mother of four, Ms. Smith is passionate about getting people involved in leadership and building better communities. In her hometown of Sheridan, Wyoming, Ms. Smith served as President of the Sheridan City Council and on the board of the Wyoming Association of Municipalities and Wyoming Business Council. She currently holds a seat on the Planning and Zoning Commission in the Village of Los Ranchos, N.M. Smith enjoys gardening, raising chickens and spending time with her family.
Jeremy has had lifelong passions for animals, farming and nature ever since helping collect eggs and feed pigs on his grandparents’ smallholding and roaming the countryside in rural Suffolk, UK. These passions and an interest in science led eventually to a PhD on pig behavior and welfare at St Catharine’s College, University of Cambridge, where he also spent time representing the University in rugby league, and the College in rugby union, soccer, field hockey, rowing and track and field. After a few years working in the UK, Jeremy moved across the Atlantic to become a Research Animal Scientist with USDA-ARS, serving with the Livestock Behavior Research Unit in Indiana for 22 years, researching pig and dairy cattle welfare. He has published 4 books and over 260 scientific publications, being named in Stanford University’s list of the top 2% of the world’s scientists. A strong believer in global exchange of agricultural knowledge, he has collaborated with 250 scientists in 32 countries across 6 continents and founded a scheme to fund scientists from less developed countries to attend international conferences. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, an Honorary Fellow of the International Society for Applied Ethology and a Registered Animal Scientist. Jeremy lives in the MidWest with his partner, Michelle, where his life is managed by 3 ex-laboratory beagles. Occasionally, they let him travel, watch sport, collect rocks and fossils and hike in National Parks.
Kristina lives in the PNW with her husband, 2 daughters, 4 dogs, and a flock of chickens. She has always had a passion for animals being raised by a mother who worked at a local Humane Society and has continued to volunteer with animals. You will find her with her daughters on the softball field or out in the parks with her dogs in her free time.
She brings 20+ years of operations experience to our team.
Whitney lives in Arkansas with her husband and children. Farming has always been her passion. Whitney and her family have a beef cattle farm with goats, where most of her time is spent. When not on the farm she is with her children at activities. She received a Bachelor’s at the U of A, where she studied Animal Science, Poultry Science, & Agribusiness.
Warthesen joined CROPP Cooperative, maker of Organic Valley products and more, in October 2014 and oversees the cooperative’s government affairs and engagement with industry trade groups. His duties include cultivating relations with policymakers, engaging administrative agencies, and driving forward-facing public relations with numerous food, farm and media stakeholders. He additionally supports cooperative efforts to develop and implement enhanced organic claims, such as Certified Grass-Fed Organic Dairy, that are increasingly prevalent on organic food products. He has extensive experience in direct lobbying, farmer recruitment and training for advocacy, coalition-building across diverse interests, and organizing prominent organic educational events.
Warthesen was raised on a diversified crop and livestock operation that included organic production in Wabasha County, Minnesota, where his family still farms today. He holds a B.S. in environmental studies with an emphasis in public policy from Bemidji State University. For 10 years prior to coming to CROPP, he worked on food and farm policy for a Minnesota non-profit at the federal and state level.
Warthesen serves as a board member for the Organic Trade Association (OTA), the Wisconsin Organic Advisory Council in the business seat, and the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, as well as an executive steering committee for the Organic Plus Trust.
Currently residing in southwestern Wisconsin with his family, he enjoys outdoor recreation as well as cooking and general farm work on the home farm when he visits family in Minnesota.
Tim Joseph is the Founder of Maple Hill Creamery, the pioneer of organic grass-fed dairy in the US. In 2004, Tim and his wife Laura started milking 64 cows on their 250-acre dairy farm in Central New York, with no prior farming experience.
By 2007 they had transitioned their herd to both certified organic and 100% grass-fed, and in 2009 Tim created the company’s “creamline” yogurt on his kitchen stovetop. Maple Hill has grown to source milk from 140 family farms in Upstate NY. Maple Hill’s products are distributed nationally.
Diana Kobus is the Executive Director of Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO). She brings over a decade of non-profit leadership in the certification of individuals in the environmental and public health professions. Diana has a Masters in Environmental Science and Management with a focus in Organic Agriculture and was the Executive Director of the Institute of Professional Environmental Practice (IPEP) for twelve years, following five years working for Whole Foods Markets in the mid-2000s at various locations around the country. She brings extensive leadership experience along with a passion for organic production and the critical impact it has on climate and the environment. In her spare time, Diana enjoys cooking, music, gardening, and providing a home for many generations of houseplants.