CTICDialogues » Panelists

2014 Panelists

Economic and Ecological Benefits of Agricultural Conservation Systems

Suzy Friedman, Environmental Defense Fund
Suzy Friedman is the director of agricultural sustainability for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). She leads the EDF’s work to collaborate with farmers and ranchers to expand opportunities to make stewardship profitable and to expand conservation agriculture to scale across commodity production. She is also in charge of the EDF’s two-pronged strategy, which includes collaborating with farmers to help them optimize fertilizer efficiency and developing markets to reward farmers for environmentally beneficial practices.
Friedman earned her master’s degree in environmental science and policy from Johns Hopkins University and her bachelor’s degree in history and environmental studies from Princeton University. She is a member of multiple national committees involved in the agriculture community and has worked in the Washington, D.C., office of EDF since January 2001.

Josh Maxwell, House Committee on Agriculture
Josh Maxwell currently serves Chairman Frank Lucas as Senior Professional Staff handling Conservation, Credit and Energy issues. Originally from Seabrook, Texas, he began on the Hill as a Texas A&M intern for Chairman Larry Combest at the House Committee on Agriculture during the 2002 Farm Bill Conference.
Josh began his professional career in 2003 working for Representative Joe Barton of Texas before returning to the House Agriculture Committee to work for Chairman Bob Goodlatte.  Josh later served as Staff Director for the Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Rural Development and Research, which was then chaired by Representative Frank Lucas of Oklahoma.  During the 2008 Farm Bill, Josh assisted Ranking Member Goodlatte in crafting the Conservation, Credit, Energy, and Rural Development titles. 

Ray McCormick, Indiana producer
Ray McCormick is a 4th generation farmer from Southwestern Indiana. He raises 2,500 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat, using 100% no-till and a variety of cover crops.
Businesses in wetland restoration, waterfowl hunting and construction keep Ray busy when he is not farming. He also is involved in the creation of wildlife and migratory bird habitats, prairie restoration and wetland restoration. Tree-ripened peaches from the McCormick’s peach orchard are sold at their home and the local farmers market.
Ray has worked on conservation issues at the local, state and national level. He currently serves on the National Association of Conservation Districts board and is a past president of the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. In 2010, Ray received the Indiana Master Farmer award from Indiana Prairie Farmer and the No-till Farm Innovator of the Year award from National No-till Farmer.

Jean Payne, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association
Jean Payne is the president of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA), a position she has held since 2004. Payne is involved in IFCA management, including oversight of regulatory and legislative issues that impact the industry.
IFCA represents more than 1,100 members of the agricultural input supply and service industry. The organization played a key role in amending the Illinois state Fertilizer Act, creating a new partnership between agriculture, environmental groups and state agencies called the Nutrient Research & Education Council (NREC).  NREC is funded by a new 75 cent per ton fertilizer assessment and these funds are dedicated to research and outreach efforts to improve nutrient utilization and protect water quality. 
Jean currently serves on the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices and the Nutrient Research and Education Council. She also has served on the board of directors for the Agricultural Retailers Association, The Fertilizer Institute, the Mid America CropLife Association and the American Agronomic Stewardship Alliance. Jean received a bachelor’s degree in English from Illinois State University.

Wallace Tyner, Purdue University
Wallace Tyner is an energy economist and James and Lois Ackerman Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University.  He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Texas Christian University and his master’s and doctorate degrees in economics from the University of Maryland. He has over 260 professional papers in these areas including three books and over 100 journal papers, published abstracts and book chapters. 
Past works in energy economics have encompassed oil, natural gas, coal, oil shale, biomass, ethanol from agricultural sources and solar energy.  In June 2007, Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana named Tyner an “Energy Patriot” for his work on energy policy analysis.  In 2009 he received the Purdue College of Agriculture Outstanding Graduate Educator award and was part of a group that received the College Team award for multidisciplinary research on biofuels.  In 2011, he served as Co-chair of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Economic and Environmental Impacts of Biofuels.

Sara Wyant, Agri-Pulse Communications, moderator
Sara Wyant is President of Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc., a diversified communications firm with offices in Washington, D.C., Little Rock, Arkansas, and Camdenton, Missouri. As a veteran farm policy reporter, she is well recognized on Capitol Hill, as well as with farm and commodity associations across the country.
Her e-newsletter and web site, Agri-Pulse, includes the latest updates on farm  policy,  commodity  and  conservation  programs,  trade,  food safety,  rural  development,  and  environmental  and  regulatory issues. Wyant is a past president of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association. In 2000, she received an Oscar in Agriculture for excellence in agricultural reporting and in 1996, received the United Soybean Board's producer communications award. In 2011, Wyant was honored by the Agriculture Future of America as a “Leader in Agriculture.”  She also has been honored by the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.
Sara gained first-hand knowledge of crop and livestock production while growing up on a farm near Marengo, Iowa, and is still involved with her family’s farming operation. She and her husband also own the farm where his grandparents’ originally homesteaded near Almont, North Dakota, and where his brothers still farm, raise cattle and produce honey.