SOIL HEALTH PARTNERSHIP | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2018
Shefali Mehta, Ph.D.
Soil Health Partnership Executive Director
Shefali Mehta is executive director of the Soil Health Partnership. Growing up in New England, she had a fascination with plants from early in her childhood. Through her higher education and work with agriculture throughout the U.S. and the world, she followed her passion, launching a notable career as an agricultural and environmental economist.
Mehta received her Ph.D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics, and a Master’s degree in Statistics, from the University of Minnesota. She also holds an MPhil in Economics from Cambridge University, and a BA in Economics from New York University.
Mehta is currently the co-founder and CEO of an agricultural technology start-up, Ceres Wave, and also founded and leads Open Rivers Consulting Associates. She is a past Vice Chairwoman of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, and serves on other boards, including those at the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center, the School of Statistics at the University of Minnesota, and Compatible Technology International.
In prior positions, she worked in roles across private, public and nonprofit sectors at organizations including McKinsey and Company, Syngenta, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, St. Olaf College, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and the American Cancer Society.
Mehta resides in the Washington, D.C. region. She enjoys scuba diving, kayaking, and traveling. She is an avid music and sports fan – especially hockey!
Soil Health Partnership Field Team Director
Jack Cornell is the Field Team Director for the Soil Health Partnership, helping lead the partnership’s on-farm data collection efforts. Jack assists the SHP team—including field managers located throughout the Midwest—manage the data collected. He also provides strategic direction, and acts as a conduit of information to the organization’s active Science Advisory Committee.
A plant scientist, before joining SHP, Jack served as a technology development representative for Monsanto, with an emphasis on cover crops and sustainability. Originally from Greenville, Ohio, he has a master’s degree in plant science from Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo. He lives in Edwardsville, Ill. with his wife and daughter.
Soil Health Partnership Key Relationships Director
Elyssa McFarland was raised on a grain and livestock farm east of Columbus Junction, Iowa. She attended Iowa State University where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Agronomy, and spent summers as an intern with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Elyssa recently completed a dual Master's degree in Agronomy and Soil Science ELYSSA'S VIDEOfrom the University of Wisconsin – Madison and has moved back to Southeast Iowa to farm and coordinate field activities for the Soil Health Partnership.
Jenna Higgins Rose
Soil Health Partnership Communications Manager
Jenna Higgins Rose is founder of Rose Media, LLC, a public relations firm specializing in alternative fuel, progressive agriculture and green products communications. She served as Director of Communications for the National Biodiesel Board from 2000 - 2009, during which time biodiesel awareness among consumers rose from 27 percent to 86 percent. She also spearheaded a Sustainability Awareness campaign and a national social media program for the nonprofit.
Prior to her work for NBB, she worked as a television and print journalist. Her work has been published in publications such as Newsweek, Forbes and USA Today, and many daily newspapers including the Des Moines Register. She has appeared on television shows such as Motorweek and AgDay.
Jenna graduated with high honors from the University of Missouri-Columbia, with a Bachelor of Journalism. She lives with her husband and two young sons in Columbia, Missouri.
Soil Health Partnership Project Manager
Anne Dietz is the Project Manager for the Soil Health Partnership, specializing in providing support to the entire Soil Health Partnership team. Anne’s background includes customer service experience, both in the retail and agriculture sectors, as well as a short stint in crop insurance. Anne most recently worked at Cargill as a Support Specialist, focused on process improvement opportunities within the region she worked as well as managing a Biomass Biotech Sustainable supply chain for soybeans supplied into the European Union.
Anne graduated with high honors from Southern Illinois University Carbondale with a degree in German Studies and Foreign Language and International Trade. She lives in St. Charles, Missouri with her husband and son.
Soil Health Partnership Field Manager Bios
Soil Health Partnership Field Manager – Northern Indiana
Alex Fiock is an Indiana Field Manager for the Soil Health Partnership, covering the northern area of the state. A graduate of Purdue University, Alex majored in natural resource environmental science with a focus in agronomy and soil science. He spent summers at Purdue interning with local ag retain locations, and worked in seed sales after graduation, covering 15 Indiana counties.
Alex is still actively involved in his family farming operation in Bluffton, Indiana, where he was raised and now resides. The farm operation includes popcorn, corn and soybeans. Alex credits his grandfather for fostering his love of farming and his interest in soil.
Soil Health Partnership Field Manager – Northern Illinois
Jim Isermann is a field manager for the Soil Health Partnership covering Illinois. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 2002 with a Bachelor’s degree in Crop Sciences, and returned home to work on the family farm with his father. He currently has an 85-head cow-calf operation. The farm includes 900 acres in Livingston and LaSalle Counties, Illinois, with 120 of those acres in permanent forage; the rest are in production using a corn-soybean-wheat rotation.
Jim has also worked as a seed dealer, specializing in forages and cover crops. He worked directly with area farmers, providing them advice on cover crops and aerial applications.
Living on the family farm with his wife and three kids just outside Streator, Ill., Jim joined the Soil Health Partnership in 2015.
Soil Health Partnership Field Manager – Eastern Iowa
Lisa Kubik is a field manager for the Soil Health Partnership covering eastern Iowa. She graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business and a minor in Agronomy. Lisa has extensive experience working in the ag sector with Land O’Lakes company Winfield United, and grew up on a farm in Lake Mills, Iowa. She became a Certified Crop Advisor in 2015. She and her husband have a cattle operation, and she enjoys horseback riding in her spare time.
Soil Health Partnership Field Manager – Western Iowa
Jacob Ness is the Western Iowa Field Manager for the Soil Health Partnership, covering western Iowa and Nebraska. Jacob is a graduate of South Dakota State University, majoring in plant science with an emphasis in soil science and geographic information science. A Certified Crop Advisor, Jacob has been one of the first CCAs to complete both the 4R Nutrient Management Specialty and Sustainability Specialty certifications.
Jacob has a strong agronomic background, most recently working as a Certified Crop Specialist and Nutrient Management Specialist at AgVantage FS in southeast Iowa. Jacob has also worked in agronomy and precision agriculture for Cargill and Monsanto. Originally from Brookings, SD, he now lives in Marengo, IA with his wife, Krystle and their three children.
Soil Health Partnership Field Manager – Southern Illinois
Abigail Peterson is a field manager for the Soil Health Partnership covering southern Illinois. She graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Agronomy. At Iowa State, Abigail focused on soil analysis and cover crop use working at the Iowa State soils lab, and the USDA National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment. She enjoyed promoting agriculture in the classroom with the soil and water conservation club and ISU College of Agriculture Ambassador program.
A Certified Crop Advisor since 2016, Abigail worked as a soybean production agronomist with DuPont Pioneer in southern Iowa for two years. Originally from northern Illinois, her family continues to farm near Wyanet.
Soil Health Partnership Field Manager – Central & Southern Indiana
John Stewart is a field manager for the Soil Health Partnership covering central and southern Indiana. He graduated from Iowa State University with a Master of Science in agronomy and holds a Bachelor of Science in agriculture economics from Purdue University. From 2012 until joining SHP, John worked as a research associate for Beck’s Superior Hybrids in Atlanta, Indiana. Throughout his career, he has had wide-ranging experience in plot monitoring, data collection and plant research. He grew up in Yorktown, Indiana on a small family farm. His father and in-laws remain active farmers and John enjoys helping when he can. John and his wife are kept busy with three young sons. He also enjoys fishing, golfing, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities with his family.
Soil Health Partnership Field Manager – Wisconsin
Tricia Verville is a field manager for the Soil Health Partnership covering Wisconsin. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, she majored in Soil and Land Management with a minor in Environmental Law Enforcement. Prior to joining the SHP, Tricia worked for a year as a code enforcement officer for Winnebago County Wisconsin. She also spent three years as a Crop Specialist for Insight FS. A Certified Crop Advisor since 2013, Tricia enjoys spending her free time outdoors—hiking, kayaking, hunting and water sports.