Agricultural Leadership Development Program Class XVII: 2020-2023

Andy Brown - Denham Springs

Andy Brown 2020jpgAndy Brown serves as the National Affairs Coordinator and Assistant Commodity Coordinator for the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation. In his role, Andy works as the liaison between Farm Bureau, the state’s largest general farm organization, and Louisiana congressional members and federal agencies. Brown also coordinates LA Farm Bureau’s activities and covers issues related to rice, soybeans, corn, wheat, other feed grains, forestry, and honeybees. Andy is a two-time graduate of Mississippi State University, with a Master's of Science degree in Agronomy and a Bachelor's of Science degree in Agricultural Economics. Andy lives in Livingston Parish with his wife, Kayla, daughter, Evie Grace and bird dog, Honey.

Ben Guarisco - Baton Rouge

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Ben Guarisco is currently employed at Soterra, LLC as the Area Forester. He currently manages approximately 80k acres of timberland out of the Pine Grove office and is responsible for harvest management, reforestation, mill correspondence, and private land work. During his six years at Soterra, Ben has served on multiple Parish Forestry Association boards and is currently seated on the Board of Directors for the Louisiana Forestry Association. He earned his Bachelor's degree in Science in Forestry in 2014 and his Master's degree in Business Administration in 2018, both from LSU. In his free time, Ben enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time with his family.

Caleb Vines - West Monroe

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Caleb Vines currently holds the position of Business Development Manager at Goldman Equipment L.L.C. The position consists of various responsibilities of which the main obligation is implementing plans and processes that will increase equipment sales and inventory turnover. Caleb takes pride working towards being a part of carrying on what his dad and Goldman team have built over the years. He has worked in all aspects of the company leading up to the role he is now in. He is motivated to learn from the LSU Ag Leadership course and his classmates to evolve into a better leader, especially in the agricultural industry.

Cole Norris - Tallulah

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Cole Norris is a farmer and banker from Tallulah. Cole received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana-Monroe with concentrations in Finance and Risk Management. After college, he returned to his hometown to oversee the family farming operation, which grows rice, corn, and soybeans in Madison Parish. In addition to his farming operation, he is a Vice President at Delta Bank, which serves markets in Northeast Louisiana and Mississippi. As a lender, Cole specializes in crop production loans, ag real estate financing, and commercial loans. He also serves on the board of directors of Madison Parish Hospital and the Farmers Classic Golf Tournament. He previously served 3 terms as President of the TCC board of directors and is active in numerous other professional and civic organizations. In his spare time, Cole enjoys traveling and tending his longhorn cattle.

Dallas Ardoin - Melville

Dallas Ardoin - MelvilleDallas Ardoin is from Melville, LA. He graduated from LSU in May of 2016 in Agricultural Business. He is the farm manager of Thomasson Farms overseeing the 2800 acre soybean operation in both Pointe Coupee and St. Landry Parish. In 2019, Dallas started his own farm of DPA Acres, where he is farming sugarcane and soybeans while still managing Thomasson Farms.

Darlene Rowland - Baton Rouge

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Darlene Adams Rowland has dedicated her professional career to sustaining a vibrant local food system by supporting Louisiana’s small family specialty crop farmers. As the Executive Director of Big River Economic and Agricultural Development Alliance (BREADA), she oversees four locations of the Red Stick Farmers Market in Baton Rouge that provide direct sales opportunities for Louisiana’s small family farmers. She serves on the Flagship Market’s Community of Practice Group for the Farmers Market Coalition to collaborate and share best practices for farmers markets nationwide. Darlene has been a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals for over a decade and has served on the Board of Directors in numerous capacities including Secretary, Vice President of Communications, and Governmental Relations Chair. She is also an accomplished writer as a contributor to Country Roads Magazine, curating compelling stories that highlight local foodways and travel.

Esther Boe - Mansura

Esther Boe - MansuraEsther Boe graduated in 1992 from LSU College of Agriculture with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Family and Consumer Sciences. From 1998 - 2001 Esther taught Early Childhood Education and in 2001 she accepted a position with the LSU AgCenter teaching Early Childhood. From 2001-2007 she was involved in training child care staff in Early Childhood settings and responsible for 5 Central region parishes. In 2007, Esther transferred to a 4-H agent position in Avoyelles parish where she served the 4-H program for 10 years. During her 4-H years, she expanded projects in Horticulture, Forestry, Nutrition, and focused on cultivating school gardens. In 2017, Esther transferred to a district agent position at the Central office overseeing the 10 parish Central region. She has worked with youth and families for 27 years and continues to make impacts in cultivating the knowledge base in both rural and urban areas by promoting Agriculture Education.

Galen Iverstine - Baton Rouge

Galen Iverstine 2020jpgGalen Iverstine is a first generation farmer, butcher, and local food system advocate. He and his family started Iverstine family farms in 2009 raising grass-fed beef cattle, pastured pork, and pastured poultry in an intensive rotational grazing system on 130 acres in Kentwood, Louisiana. In 2016, he opened Iverstine Butcher in Baton Rouge where they have expanded into sourcing from other sustainable meat producers in the region to grow the reach of locally raised meats in the gulf south region.

Jacob Nugier - Lafayette

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Jacob Nugier serves as a Loan Officerfor Louisiana Land Bank, ACA in the Crowley, Louisiana branch. Jacob began his agriculture finance career with Louisiana Land Bank in 2016, after obtaining a Master's degree in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. As a Loan Officer, his primary role is to provide financing for farmers, ranchers, aquafarmers and agribusiness professionals by means of real estate, equipment and production lending. With a focus on the Southwestern region of Louisiana, he services a diverse customer base with a range of commodities including rice, crawfish, cattle, timber and sugarcane. Over the past four years, he and his branch team have facilitated over $60 million in financing to the agriculture industry of Southwest Louisiana. Additionally, Jacob and his family manage a cow-calf operation in Acadia Parish.

James Newton - Bunkie

James Newton 2020jpgJames Newton is from Bunkie, Louisiana where he resides with his wife, Rebecca and their two pets, Taco and Henry. James was born and raised on a sugarcane farm where he now works with his father, Jordan, and uncle, Michael. He attended Louisiana State University and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Management. James farms sugarcane, soybeans, corn, wheat and watermelons. He is also serves on the board for Avoyelles Parish Farm Bureau. James believes he will gain tremendous knowledge through this program, and it will be a great experience on which he can look back throughout the rest of his life.

John David Guthrie - Little Rock/Newellton

John David Guthrie 2020jpgJohn David Guthrie was raised on a cotton and grain farming operation, in Tensas Parish. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Agribusiness from Louisiana State University in 2012. John David is a Vice President/Consultant for Scott Agri Crop Marketers based in Little Rock, AR, his primary responsibilities are helping growers manage price risk in the futures market, as well as overseeing the day to day operations of Scott Agri’s market advisory service and futures brokerage businesses. He lives in Little Rock, AR with his wife Bailey.

Kody Beavers - Extension

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Kody Beavers is a farmer who grows cotton, corn, soybeans, and beef cattle in Franklin parish. He grew up and currently resides in Extension, Louisiana. He attended Louisiana Tech University where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Business and a Master's degree in Business Administration.

Kyle Marino - Addis

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Kyle Marino works as the Assistant Controller for A. Wilbert’s Sons, supporting most aspects of the accounting department, including accounts receivable, accounts payable, financial reporting, audits, and shareholder accounting. Before joining AWS, Kyle earned his Bachelor's degree in Accounting from LSU, Master's degree in Business Administration from Southeastern Louisiana University, and became a Certified Public Accountant. Additionally, he is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Society of Louisiana Certified Public Accountants (LCPA). He’s been with AWS since 2012 and enjoys working for a great family company with interesting revenue streams. Kyle is married to his amazing wife, Maddie, and has two children, Alice and Owen. In his downtime, he enjoys cooking, traveling, reading, friends, and family.

Marshall Hardwick - Newellton

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Marshall Hardwick of Hardwick Planting Company is a partner with his brother, Mead and parents, Jay and Mary. Marshall’s focus at Hardwick Planting Company is agronomic strategic planning such as crop rotation, crop variety, designing furrow irrigation plans. He implements and monitors soil moisture sensors and installs surge valves and helps organize irrigation events. Additionally, he oversees all pesticide certification and record keeping for Hardwick Planting Company. Marshall is a Certified Louisiana Master Farmer and has completed Phase 1 of The Execute Program for Agricultural Producers (TEPAP) with plans to complete Phase 2 in the future. He was awarded the 2019 Young Agricultural Producer by the North Louisiana Agri-Business Council. Marshall is currently a member in the LSU AgCenter’s Agriculture Leadership Development Program Class XVII with hopes of graduating in January 2022. He has completed National Cotton Council and National Sorghum Producers’ Leadership at Its Best programs. Marshall obtained a Bachelor's degree in Agriculture Business in 2011 and a Master's degree in Science in the School of Plant, Environmental, and Soil Sciences from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA in 2013. As a graduate student, he helped his professor Dr. Jim Griffin with planting, organizing and rating soybean and sugarcane plots throughout south Louisiana. Marshall’s thesis was the evaluation of Zidua, a BASF residual herbicide, in soybean and corn herbicide programs. He is the author of Evaluation of Pyroxasulfone in Corn (Zea MaysL.) and Soybeans (Glycine Max L. Merr.) Weed Management Programs. Marshall resides on Lake Bruin in Newellton, Louisiana.

Matt Gravois - Paulina

Matt Gravois 2020jpgMatthew Gravois grew up driving tractors and working on the farm from a young age. After attending and graduating from LSU in 2007 with a Bachelor's degree in Finance, Matthew moved back home and began working full time for the past 13 years. For the last 4 years, he has been the operations manager for one of the five farming operations his family is involved in. He manages Armant Plantation Inc., a 4,000-acre sugarcane and soybean operation in St. James Parish. He resides in Paulina with his wife Stephanie, a 4-H agent in Ascension Parish, and 3 children, Peyton, Lorelei, and Savannah.

Patrick York - Denham Springs

Patrick York 2020jpgPatrick York lives in Watson, LA and works as a Credit Analyst for First South Farm Credit in Zachary. He has been with the company for 7 years. Prior to that, Patrick worked in commercial banking for 5 years as a loan officer. He grew up south of Lafayette in agriculture, where his step dad was a sugarcane farmer in Youngsville, LA. He helped him on the farm growing up before leaving for college. Patrick's love for agriculture never died, as now works to help finance farmers with their operations and their way of life. He is also an avid Saints and LSU Tigers Football fan.

Rachel Lee - Saint Joseph

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Rachel Lee resides in Saint Joseph, LA with her husband, Kellon, where he and their family farm cotton, corn and soybeans. She graduated from Mississippi State University with a Master's Degree in Agriculture and Extension Education and a Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Information Science with a concentration in Leadership. After graduation, Rachel worked on a co-operative cotton sustainability project with the National Cotton Council and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). Now she is working as a County Operations Trainee (COT), in preparation for a career as a County Executive Director (CED) for the USDA Farm Service Agency.

Randy Richard - Raceland

Randy Richard 2020jpgRandy Richard is a resident of Raceland, LA located in Lafourche Parish. He lives along Bayou Lafourche with his wife Katie, son Parker, and daughter Olivia. He has been working in agricultural consulting and sugarcane research for over 20 years. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in 2000 from Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, LA. He is the owner of Randy Richard Ag Consultant, Inc. since 1996, servicing the southern part of the state. He is a researcher of important pests of sugarcane and dedicates himself to finding solutions to insect problems that affect its industry economically. Through his service at the USDA Sugarcane Research Unit in Houma, LA he studies insect interactions in sugarcane and has authored publications. Randy is involved in organizations such as LACA, ASSCT, 4-H, and NSU Alumni. He is an avid hunter and fisherman who also enjoys modern air guns as a hobby.

Riley Melton - West Monroe

Riley Melton 2020jpgRiley Melton grew up in Oak Grove, Louisiana where agriculture was a big part of his life. His father owned a farm supply business in town and also raised produce they sold both locally and to several larger buyers in the ArkLaMiss. He received his bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business from LSU in 2015 and began his career with First South Farm Credit, ACA shortly after graduating in August 2015. He is the Branch Manager of the Tallulah office of First South Farm Credit, ACA, where his primary role is to extend credit for agriculture such as production loans, equipment, and real estate. He currently reside in West Monroe, Louisiana. In his free time he enjoys hunting, fishing, and sports.

Robert Duncan - Boyce

Robert Duncan 2020jpgRobert Duncan is from Boyce, Louisiana and a 4th generation cattleman and farmer. Robert runs a cow/calf operation and sells finished beef direct to the consumer. He also grows hay and soybeans. Robert is a graduate of Louisiana Tech University with a Bachelor's degree in Ag Business.

Romeo Stalling - Rayville

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Romeo Stalling graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Business in 2016 and received his MBA from Louisiana State University in Shreveport in 2018. He is currently a Loan Officer with Louisiana Land Bank in Monroe, LA. He is responsible for providing quality customer service to his current and prospective customers along with his team in the Monroe Branch of Louisiana Land Bank. His clientele ranges from part-time farmers purchasing their first agricultural piece of property to small, beginning farmers to well-established, large operations of row crop, cattle, and timber producers. Romeo also develops new relationships through marketing of the quality products and services Louisiana Land Bank offers it customers as well as help formulate plans and/or solutions for the agricultural financing needs of his customers. As a loan officer of Louisiana Land Bank, he handles all types of agricultural estate transactions as well as financing for equipment, improvements, and operating loans.

Thomas Dabbs - Sterlington

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Thomas Dabbs moved to Louisiana four years ago starting his career working with crop consultants, in northeast Louisiana, checking rice, cotton, corn, sweet potatoes, and soybeans. Thomas had the opportunity to move to a new position working for Progeny Erwin Keith. Currently, he is the salesman for the state of Louisiana, selling corn, soybeans, rice and wheat.

Will Killen - Monroe

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Will Killen has been a Representative for Syngenta Crop Protection for the past 8 years and lives in Monroe, LA. His territory covers Northeast Louisiana, working with row crop farmers and distribution channels to provide agronomic knowledge and premium crop protection products and service. Will also owns and operates Killen Weed Control, a specialty landscaping business, with a primary focus on consulting and turf grasses. He gained his passion for agriculture while working in the Mississippi Delta as a crop consultant in and around the Cleveland, MS area. In addition to crop consulting, Will spent 5 years post college as an Environmental Consultant located in Jackson, MS being an essential liaison between the developer and the government. Will is a loving husband approaching his 10 year anniversary with his wife, Lindsey and he is a proud dad of 2 boys, Parker (4) and Jack Henry (4 months).

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