Shelby Watson-Hampton, of Brandywine, a farmer and director of the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, is among eight prominent voices in the U.S. food and agriculture sectors to come on board as Farmer Envoys for Solutions from the Land.
She joins SfL’s broad mission to advance land-based solutions to the interconnected challenges the world now faces, ranging from food and nutrition security, energy security, sustainable livelihoods, and climate change, all while overcoming the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
An active member of the agricultural community, Shelby currently farms with her family on their 4th-generation operation, Robin Hill Farm & Vineyards, in Brandywine, where they grow wine grapes, run the farm winery, and host private events in their barn venue.
Shelby also freelances for several regional and national agricultural publications, including the Lancaster Farming newspaper, Pink Tractor, and American Agriculturist. Shelby recently finished serving a two-year term on the American Farm Bureau Federation’s National Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee.
She joins other nationally renowned farmers in sharing SfL’s vision for a 21st Century “Agricultural Renaissance” that enables all forms and scales of agriculture to innovate, sustain productivity, enhance resilience to climate change and other shocks, and move the world towards achieving global sustainable development goals (SDGs).
These envoys will proactively engage United Nations agencies and conventions, introducing and engaging conversations on new approaches, which include circular-systems agriculture, a way of going forward that focuses on reducing external inputs, closing nutrient loops, regenerating soils, and minimizing ag’s impact on the environment. Envoys also will promote Climate Smart Agriculture and whole-system technologies that enable the sector to provide the pathways toward meeting SDGs.
“We are thrilled to welcome Shelby and these other outstanding farmer leaders to our envoy team,” says SfL President Ernie Shea. “We look forward to helping her share her insight and experiences producing food, feed, fiber, clean energy, and a wide range of high-value ecosystem services with decision-makers and agricultural stakeholders across the world.”
Others joining Watson-Hampton as new SfL farmer envoy cohorts are:
- Jocelyn Anderson – Willows, CA. A 4th generation farmer from Northern California, Anderson’s family farm grows almonds and walnuts, and operates a walnut huller. She currently serves on the California Farm Bureau Board of Directors as chair of the Young Farmer and Rancher (YF&R) committee, having served as a vice chair on the national YF&R committee. Jocelyn is also a Board Member of the Glenn County Resource Conservation District, which promotes and helps farmers and ranchers with sustainability and conservation practices, including healthy soils programs, and a variety of conservation-focused grants.
- Kyle Bridgeforth – Tanner, AL. He is the owner/operator at Bridgeforth Farms, a fifth-generation row-crop operation headquartered in Tanner that focuses on using modern technology and agronomics to grow high quality agricultural products. Kyle primarily works with crop traceability and efficiencies, along with new product implementation. Beyond the farm he works closely with several industry associations
- Brad Doyle – Weiner, AR. A soybean, rice, wheat, and grass hay farmer, he is the manager of Eagle Seed, LLC., a family-owned seed business in Northeast Arkansas. Currently serving as the President of the American Soybean Association, Brad also serves on several USA Rice committees. Crop breeding and research is also part of the family business, which includes row crops, pasture crops, cover crops, and wildlife seed.. In 2019 he was awarded the Walton Family Foundation Conservation Champion and grant recipient in 2020.
- Ben LaCross – Leelanau County, MI. A second-generation farmer from Leelanau County, MI, Ben grows tart and sweet cherries, which are all processed by his family-owned company, Leelanau Fruit Company. Ben has served on numerous industry committees and is currently a District Director for Michigan Farm Bureau.
- Amelia Levin Kent – Clinton, LA. Amelia and Russell Kent own Kent Farms LLC, through which they raise and market cattle in most segments of the beef industry, including cow/calf, stockers, replacement heifers, direct marketing beef and feeding cattle to finish. While they represent the fifth and sixth generations of farmers in each of their families, Amelia and Russell founded and built their business from its start. Amelia currently chairs the Louisiana Beef Industry Council, Louisiana Farm Bureau’s Livestock Advisory Committee, and serves as a Regional Council Representative and on the Policies and Resolutions Committee for Land O’Lakes Inc. A former member of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the CBB Executive Committee, Amelia also previously served on the Louisiana Farm Bureau Board of Directors.
- Allyson Maxwell – Beaverton, MI. Allyson and her husband, Peter, farm in central Michigan, where they raise sugar beets, corn, soybeans and wheat. In October, the Maxwell family, including their three boys, opens Maxwell’s Pumpkin Farm to the public, where they sell pumpkins, squash, ornamental corn and other treats to the public. Allyson also serves as a board member for Michigan Corn Growers Association and is a biotechnology spokeswoman for the Michigan Sugar Company and the American Sugarbeet Growers Association.
- Verity Ulibarri – Melrose, NM. Verity is an owner/operator of a crop and livestock farm with her husband, Anthony Ulibarri, in Curry County New Mexico, primarily producing grain sorghum, winter wheat, forages, and cattle. She is a fifth-generation farmer and continues to be active in farm management, production and farm related organizations. Verity has 15 years of agricultural lending experience in the Farm Credit System and a number of years of experience as a board member of the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, U.S. Grains Council and a long-term member of National Sorghum Producers.