We take a holistic approach to covering current ag news, food and energy policy news and we never miss a beat. We make it our duty to inform you of the most up-to-date agricultural and food policy decisions being made from Washington, D.C. to the west coast and examine how they will affect you: the farmer, the lobbyist, the government employee, the educator, the consultant, and the concerned citizen. We investigate several aspects of food, fuel, feed, and fiber industries, looking at the economic, statistical, and financial trends and evaluate how these changes will impact your business. We provide insight on the people and players who are making things happen. Agri-Pulse provides you with timely updates of how policy decisions will affect your productivity, your pocketbook, and your livelihood. Whether it be new developments in international trade, organic foods, farm credit and loan policies, or climate change legislation, we keep you abreast of the information you need to stay on the cutting edge.
ABOUT OUR STAFF
Agri-Pulse is the most trusted farm and policy source in Washington, D.C., providing a balanced perspective on a wide variety of issues including the farm bill, nutrition, trade, food safety, environment, biotechnology, organic, conservation, and crop insurance. Our team of editors - the largest group covering this industry in Washington, D.C. - provides breaking news and analysis on the latest regulatory and legislative topics impacting the profitability of farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses, and the food industry. With a combined 200+ years of experienced agricultural coverage, the Agri-Pulse editorial team provides accurate, in-depth reporting on the issues that concern you the most. We understand agriculture and the key players, like none other!
SARA WYANT, EDITOR
Sara Wyant is President of Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc., a communications firm with offices in Washington, D.C., Sacramento, Calif. and Camdenton, Missouri. As a veteran farm policy reporter, she is recognized on Capitol Hill, as well as with farm and commodity associations across the country.
The newsletter and website she founded, Agri-Pulse, include the latest updates on farm policy, commodity and conservation programs, trade, food safety, rural development, and environmental and regulatory programs.
In addition, Wyant publishes early morning news summaries Daily Harvest and Daybreak, providing busy readers with a quick overview of the latest farm, food, and rural policy news each weekday. She frequently speaks at farm and commodity associations around the country.
Wyant formerly served as chairwoman on the Farm Foundation's board of trustees and as past president of the American Agricultural Editor's Association.
In 2015, Wyant was named to the Folio: "Top Women in Media" recognition in the Entrepreneurs category. She has been awarded a producer communications award from the United Soybean Board, and Oscar in Agriculture award for excellence in agricultural reporting from the American Agricultural Editor's Association and a leadership award from Agriculture Future of America. She is currently President of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) Foundation. In 2013, Wyant was recognized for outstanding service to agriculture by the Missouri Farm Bureau.
Wyant gained first-hand knowledge of crop and livestock production while growing up on a farm near Marengo, Iowa. She and husband Allan Johnson, parents of sons Jason and Jordan, also own the farm where her husband's family originally established a homestead near Almont, North Dakota.
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SPENCER CHASE, MANAGING EDITOR
A broadcast and news editorial journalism graduate of South Dakota State University, Chase is originally from a farm near Wolsey, South Dakota. He served as a summer intern with Agri-Pulse in 2013, before joining the team as an Associate Editor after his college graduation in 2014. Chase was promoted to Deputy Managing Editor in 2017 and Managing Editor in 2018. In this role, Chase covers farm policy issues on Capitol Hill and across the country and coordinates coverage with the Agri-Pulse team.
Chase currently serves as Vice President on the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) Executive Committee. In 2017, Chase was named the recipient of NAFB’s Horizon Award, recognizing excellence in farm broadcasting for members with five years or less in membership.
Chase previously held internships with WNAX radio in Yankton, South Dakota, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the NBA G-League affiliate of the Miami HEAT, and the National FFA Organization, where he is also a past state officer. Chase was also elected by his peers to serve as a regional vice president on the board of directors of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.
At SDSU, Spencer was a sportswriter for the campus newspaper, a student coach with the Jackrabbit football team and a member of FarmHouse Fraternity.
Email Spencer Chase at firstname.lastname@example.org
PHILIP BRASHER, EXECUTIVE EDITOR
Brasher has reported on food and agriculture policy for more than 15 years. He most recently served as editor of "CQ on Agriculture and Food" for CQ Roll Call, a unit of The Economist Group. Brasher also worked for The Associated Press, The Des Moines Register and Gannett. In 2009, his project funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting looked into prospects for biotechnology in Africa.
Brasher has served as a key reporter on award-winning projects examining the future of biofuels, the impact of climate change on agriculture and the environmental and economic effects of changing land ownership patterns.
A native of Texas, with a bachelor of journalism from The University of Texas at Austin, he is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and North American Agricultural Journalists.
He resides in Falls Church, Virginia with his wife, Lenora.
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Go to @PhilipBrasher to follow Brasher on Twitter.
BILL TOMSON, SENIOR TRADE EDITOR
A government-savvy reporter with more than 18 years of experience reporting on federal agencies and Congress, Tomson most recently covered agriculture and food issues for Politico. Prior to that, he worked as a reporter for Dow Jones and its flagship publication, the Wall Street Journal. The beat demanded extensive coverage of Congress, the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
He started his journalism career in the 1990s as a reporter with Knight-Ridder in Sao Paulo, Brazil, covering the country's dramatic expansion in soybean production. Tomson produced portions of the Brazilian Investment Guide for the American Chamber of Commerce.
Tomson loves to break news as well as dig into complex topics, such as trade policy, biotechnology, farm subsidies, crop insurance, food safety, ethanol and more. Tomson was a guest on NPR's The Diane Rehm Show, discussing the FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act, and is frequently interviewed for radio, television and online media.
A native of Washington, D.C., Tomson earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Central Michigan University. He lives in northern Virginia with his wife, Marcia, and daughter Chloe.
Email Bill Tomson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
STEVE DAVIES, ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Before joining Agri-Pulse in November 2015, Davies was editor and publisher of Endangered Species & Wetlands Report, a monthly newsletter covering regulation, legislation and litigation, which he launched in 1995. Before that, he worked for a variety of publications, including Green Markets and Green Markets Dealer Report, newsletters focused on the fertilizer industry.
Davies began his professional journalism career as a copy editor and reporter at the Gazette Newspapers in Gaithersburg, Md., before moving on to The Sentinel in Carlisle, Pa., where he covered Cumberland County government.
He grew up in Chevy Chase, Md., and overseas, where his father served as a Foreign Service Officer: Moscow, USSR; Calcutta (now Kolkata), India; and Warsaw, Poland. He graduated from Brown University in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in Russian Studies. He has lived in Takoma Park, Md., since 1992, and has two children.
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HANNAH PAGEL, ASSOCIATE EDITOR
A Northeast Iowa native, Hannah Pagel joined the Agri-Pulse team in January of 2019. Hannah graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Agriculture and Life Sciences education with a biology endorsement, and is CASE Curriculum certified. She is passionate about telling the story of agriculture and wants to help bridge the gap between consumers and farmers by providing non-biased information and sharing her personal experiences.
Hannah previously interned for the Ag News Daily podcast, hosting and sharing agriculture news along with building and designing marketing materials for the start-up company. She also worked for the Agriculture Entrepreneurship Initiative (AgEI) program at Iowa State, and for the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation (IALF). At Iowa State, Hannah was an active National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) student member and competed three years at the national level for the marketing competition. She was a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority, attended the AFA Leadership Conference, and went on a domestic travel course to California focusing on the science around CRISPR technology and consumer perceptions. She was also an active FFA member, competing in various leadership events and receiving her American FFA Degree.
Email Hannah Pagel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BRAD HOOKER, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, AGRI-PULSE WEST
Brad Hooker previously served as the Communications Director for the World Food Center at the University of California, Davis and prior to that, as a senior writer for the university’s Department of Plant Sciences. He’s developed multimedia projects on topics including drought and climate change. He also worked for the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, D.C., producing a blog that sifted through hard data on the money behind politics. He is a talented communicator and photographer with extensive experience covering California agricultural and food issues.
Most recently, Hooker worked as the Science Writer and Content Editor for the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. He earned his B.A. Degree in English/Broadcast Journalism from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla., and his M.S. in Magazine Journalism from the University of Oregon.
NOAH WICKS, ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Noah Wicks, who hails from a small farm near Nunda, South Dakota, joined the Agri-Pulse team in 2021 after serving as an intern the summer before. He graduated from Augustana University with dual degrees in English and Journalism and he also served as sports editor and editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, the Mirror.
Wicks previously held internships with the Madison Daily Leader in Madison, S.D., the South Dakota Department of Revenue and the South Dakota Department of Agriculture. Wicks was an active FFA member in high school, competing in various leadership development events. Through 4-H, he competed on the 2016 state livestock judging champion team, as well as spending time as an exchange student in Norway where he lived and worked on a farm for a month.
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ED MAIXNER, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
Ed Maixner was editor of the Kiplinger Agricultural Letter for more than a decade before joining Agri-Pulse as a contributing editor. Previously, he led the Washington Bureau at Farm Progress Companies, served as an associate director for a nonprofit devoted to western regional issues, and served as a legislative assistant to former U.S. Senator Bryon Dorgan of North Dakota.
Maixner's career in journalism and ag policy span more than four decades.
A native of North Dakota, Maixner earned his bachelor of arts degree at North Dakota State University. He earned a master of arts in journalism at The Ohio State University, where he was awarded a Kiplinger Fellowship in Public Affairs Reporting.
Maixner was awarded the Truth in Journalism Award from the American Corn Growers and the J.S. Russell Memorial Award from the North American Agricultural Journalists for agricultural reporting. In addition, he received a first place team story award from the American Agricultural Editors Association for coverage of what the 9-11 attacks would mean for American agriculture.
He resides in Herndon, Virginia with his wife, Betsy.
Email Ed Maixner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JEFF NALLEY, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
Jeff Nalley is a 37-year veteran of radio and farm broadcasting.
He is a past president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) and has received numerous awards for excellence in broadcast media from within the NAFB as well as other farm organizations.
Nalley has received distinguished service awards from Purdue University, the United Soybean Board, Kentucky Soybean Association, Kentucky Pork Producers, and the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation.
Nalley was named the 2010 Farm Broadcaster of the Year by the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.
Nalley conducts weekly Open Mic audio interviews for Agri-Pulse. He also works with the Cromwell AG Network, which serves farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Ohio with daily farm broadcasts.
JIM WEBSTER, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
Jim Webster has been writing about and dabbling in agricultural politics in Washington since the early days of the Nixon Administration. Since 1981, he has written or published seven newsletters and written for several other publications.
His most recent venture, The Webster Agricultural Letter, was acquired by Agri-Pulse Communications in 2007. He now writes primarily for Agri-Pulse. Previously he has written for the Informa (U.K.) newsletters Agra Europe and Dairy Markets, an on-line dairy advisory service, Agro Washington magazine and National Catholic Reporter. He has addressed numerous farm and agribusiness groups in the U.S. and abroad.
Webster was assistant secretary of agriculture for governmental and public affairs at USDA during the Carter Administration, chief clerk of the Senate Agriculture Committee, agricultural legislative assistant and press secretary for former U.S. Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, and director of public relations for the American Public Power Association.
He's a native of Nebraska, attended Creighton University in Omaha, where he began working for the Associated Press in 1955. He subsequently was a reporter and manager for United Press International and edited a daily newspaper and electric cooperative publications in Nebraska, Wisconsin and South Dakota. Jim now lives in Fairfax, Virginia.
ALLAN R. JOHNSON, VP, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Allan R. Johnson retired from the United States Department of Agriculture in April 2009. Mr. Johnson was appointed to serve as Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development on September 12, 2005. He now provides strategic consultation to Agri-Pulse.
Previously, Johnson served as Director of Legislative and Public Affairs at USDA Rural Development. He was appointed to that position in 2003 by President Bush. During his tenure at USDA Rural Development he lead the effort to Brand the Mission Area that had formerly been three separate agencies with their own identity. In addition, a major outreach effort was launched under his leadership to educate citizens in rural America of the numerous important programs available from USDA Rural Development.
Before joining Rural Development, Johnson was active in agricultural publishing and public affairs for over 30 years. He served as President of Farm Progress Companies, the leading farm publisher in the US that publishes magazines like the Dakota Farmer and Prairie Farmer as well as produces the Farm Progress Show. The company grew from seven publications to 39 publications during his tenure as president. Farm Progress was owned by American Broadcasting Company, The Walt Disney Company and Rural Press Limited, Sydney, Australia. Johnson retired from Farm Progress companies in June 2000.
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JASON LUTZ, SALES & MARKETING MANAGER
Jason is our friendly Sales and Marketing Manager, focused on subscription and advertising sales. Jason attended Kishwaukee College in Northern Illinois, and has 10 years’ experience in the hospitality industry.
He's an active participant in the local community and was selected as a Camden County Young Leader in 2012. Jason and his wife, Danielle, love spending time on the Lake of The Ozarks and playing competitive softball. They have two daughters, Taylor and Austin.
Email Jason Lutz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TOM DAVIS, MARKETING CONSULTANT
Tom Davis retired in 2014 as Vice President/Group Publisher at Meredith Corporation where he managed the business operations for several magazine titles and websites including Successful Farming, Living the Country Life, WOOD, American Patchwork & Quilting plus several other holiday decorating and crafts titles. Currently he is a VP/Director of The Rosewood Marketing Group, Inc., a publishing, event and marketing services company. He now consults providing strategic marketing and business development support for Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
Davis grew up on a small farm near Floyds Knobs, Indiana. He holds an Agricultural Economics degree from Purdue University and in 2004 was named a Distinguished Alumni of the College of Agriculture.
He has served as president of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) and was named NAMA Marketer of the Year in April 2006. Davis is an active member of the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity and served as National Grand President from 2006-08. He has served on the Sponsors Board of the National FFA, on the Board of Directors for NAMA, Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, American Business Media-Ag Council and the Ag Media Summit.
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DANIELLE BRINKMANN, WESTERN SALES ASSOCIATE
Danielle is a 2018 graduate of the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana where she majored in Crop Science with a concentration in Crop Agribusiness. During her time at University of Illinois, she was actively involved in 4-H House Cooperative Society, University of Illinois Collegiate Farm Bureau, and Greek Support Homecoming.
After college she pursued a career in the customer service sector. Her most recent position was with Climate Fieldview where she worked directly with farmers in improving their farming operations efficiency.
She grew up on a grain and angus cattle operation in southern Illinois, where her family continues to farm. Danielle contributes much of her success to 4-H and FFA which eventurally led her to receive her American FFA Degree and serve as state chair for the Illinois State 4-H Leadership Team. She now resides in Sacramento, Calif.
In her free time, Danielle enjoys golfing, biking and surfing.
Email Danielle Brinkmann at firstname.lastname@example.org
PAIGE DYE, CIRCULATION MANAGER
Paige graduated from the University of Missouri – Columbia with dual degrees in strategic communication (emphasis: public relations) and psychology, as well as minors in business and multicultural studies. She has worked in TV, print, and digital media sectors in the US, Scandinavia, and Australia, primarily in marketing and customer service.
Hailing from a farm in northeast Missouri, agriculture is something Paige is very passionate about. Her family has raised corn, soybeans, grain sorghum, cattle, hogs, and miniature horses, and is also involved in the ethanol industry. Growing up, she was involved in sports, 4-H, and FFA, receiving her American FFA Degree in 2011.
Outside of work, Paige enjoys going to concerts, traveling, watching Blues hockey, and boating. She splits her time between St. Louis and Lake of the Ozarks.
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SANDRA (SANDI) SCHMITT, ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
Sandi comes to Agri-Pulse with a 30-year background in accounting and customer service. From the construction industry in her native state of Florida to the non-profit world of the Warsaw, Missouri Chamber of Commerce, Sandi has acquired a wide range of experience over the years. As you will quickly learn from talking to her, she is definitely a “people” person.
Email Sandi Schmitt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PAM HOCKER, OFFICE ASSISTANT
Pam was born in rural Kansas where her family raised cattle and other livestock, along with produce from their own garden. She moved to the Lake of the Ozarks as a young adult and has been there for over 30 years.
Prior to joining Agri-Pulse in December 2019, she had several positions in customer service and accounting, including managing a local marina as well as a feed store. However, she is no stranger to the news, having most recently worked at the lake's local news bureau assisting customers and helping with daily publication of the newspaper and website.
Pam resides with her husband Gordon in their Climax Springs lake home. Her three grown children and three grandchildren live close by. She enjoys spending time with them and her friends, especially while fishing or boating.
Email Pam Hocker at email@example.com
DAVE THOMAS, SALES CONSULTANT
Dave is a semi-retired former corporate executive in the marketing research industry. His retirement home is just across the cove from our business offices at the Lake of the Ozarks, and he joined our staff in 2018. If you came to us by way of a free trial subscription, chances are you've heard from Dave.
Dave had a career of more than 30 years as a research director, designing and directing quantitative and qualitative studies in consumer and business-to-business markets throughout North and South America. His former clients include some of the best-known brands in the world--names like Nestle, Frito-Lay, Taco Bell, Hyundai, and many more. For most of his career, he managed the west coast office of a company (Synovate) that grew to become one of the world's ten largest marketing research firms.
Dave grew up in eastern Ohio on a small family farm, then earned a BA in Political Science and an MBA in marketing and finance at The Ohio State University. His wife, Valerie, recently passed away after nearly 60 years of marriage. She is survived by two grown children and six grandchildren.
JESSE HARDING-CAMPBELL, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
Jesse brings her experience in broadcasting, marketing and communications to the Agri-Pulse team. Most recently, she served as communications director with a business-focused law firm based in Omaha, Nebraska. In conjunction with her marketing and event planning duties, she provided strong agricultural and rural knowledge to support the firm’s extensive client base of producers and agribusinesses.
Previously, Campbell served as assistant farm director at KRVN/Rural Radio Network. During her tenure, she reported and traveled with Governor Pete Ricketts on two Nebraska international trade missions – to Europe (Italy, Belgium and Denmark) and China (with stops in Hong Kong and Macau). Campbell is the recipient of the 2015 National Association of Farm Broadcasting Horizon Award.
She graduated from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana with a degree in Agriculture and Environmental Communications and a minor in Leadership Studies. During her time at the University, Campbell interned as a farm broadcaster at WYXY. She was also a research assistant at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer Research and Development Center Construction Engineering Research Laboratory.
Campbell was raised on a farm in southern Illinois and now resides in central Nebraska with her family. She is an avid sportswoman and co-founder of an outdoor blog.
SARA WAGGONER, OFFICE MANAGER
Sara Waggoner started her career in the legal industry working as an assistant for an attorney with a specialty practice in rural water rights law. She later spent four years as the regional office manager for a multi-state litigation services firm. Prior to coming to Agri-Pulse, Waggoner was responsible for payroll and accounting controls at a major manufacturer of custom kitchen cabinets.
Waggoner graduated magna cum laude from Northwest Missouri State University where she earned a Bachelor of Business Management degree. During her time in college, Waggoner was a Legislative Intern for a member of the Missouri House of Representatives. She is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration from Northwest Missouri State.
Waggoner is a native of Marshall, Missouri where her family owns a small farm just outside of city limits. She is a resident of Osage Beach, Missouri with her husband Chase D. Waggoner and their cat, Waldo. Her hobbies include kayaking, traveling, and reading.
Email Sara Waggoner at firstname.lastname@example.org