Board of Directors

Jeff VanderWerff-Michigan, Farmer, President

AgChat Foundation President Jeff VanderWerff - AgChat.orgAfter nearly 10 years on the road in agribusiness, Jeff VanderWerff is back home on his family’s farm near Sparta, Michigan and doing what he loves to do most- raising corn, wheat, soybeans, apples, and peaches with his wife Alyssa, brother, father, and uncle. Always on the cutting edge of farm technology, Jeff first started telling his story with a 2009 feature in Farm and Ranch Living. “In some cases, I think other farmers sometimes are in greater need of information about what we do than the public. Social media is a great tool to accomplish this.
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Marie Bowers-Oregon, Farmer, Vice-President


Marie Bowers is a 5th generation grass seed farmer in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, farming land that has been in her family for over a hundred years. Prior to returning to the family farm she graduated from Washington State University with degrees in Agriculture and Agriculture Economics and Management then spent 3 years in the Farm Credit System. When she discovered #Agchat on twitter it opened many doors and connections. It fueled her passion for telling her story via social media and encouraging others to do the same!

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Zach Hunnicutt – Nebraska, Farmer, Treasurer

Zach Hunnicutt is a fifth-generation family farmer from Aurora, Nebraska, who farms with his dad, brother, and cousin raising irrigated corn, popcorn and soybeans. Zach received a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing an MBA from Nebraska. Their farm has always been on the cutting edge of ag technology, and being able to connect with farmers and consumers from around the world through social media is a great extension of that focus.

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Brian Scott – Indiana, Farmer, Secretary

Brian Scott blogs at

Brian Scott is a 4th generation Indiana corn, soybean, popcorn, and wheat farmer.  Through his blog The Farmer’s Life and associated social media accounts Brian discusses the daily happenings of his family farm, and also tackles hot topics like biotechnology.  Brian can also be found writing posts for CNN’s Eatocracy and He has served for several years on the ACF Training Committee assisting with planning of ACF events. Additionally, he serves on ACF’s #AgChat/#FoodChat committee.



Michele Payn, CSP – Indiana, Professional Speaker & Farmer

Michele Payn

Whether armed with a facilitator’s hat, a cow halter or boxing gloves by her microphone, Michele Payn is known for her agricultural advocacy work as the principal of Cause Matters Corp. Her family’s small farm in central Indiana includes registered Holsteins descending from a heifer she purchased at the age of 12. She works internationally to build connections between the farm gate and consumer plate as a Certified Speaking Professional and writer, inspiring others to agvocate. “Social media once seemed like a silly fad, but I’ve learned the power of a community transcends the tool – as proven by this Foundation.”
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Kathy Swift, DVM – Florida, Veterinarian

Kathy was born and raised on a dairy farm in Virginia, earned her DVM at The Ohio State University and chose to have a career in agriculture as a cattle veterinarian because of her love for animals.  Kathy serves a variety of clients in Florida and southern Georgia. She enjoys being an information resource for people, as the care and health of animals continues to be a growing concern for consumers. Kathy is excited to be involved with this diverse group in educating people about the many ways agriculture helps their everyday lives. “Social media is important because it allows personal interactions between people who ordinarily would not come in contact with each other.”

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Brooke Haney, Digital and Content Strategist

Brooke Haney3 Brooke Haney, an Oklahoma State University alumna, was raised just off the red dirt roads of Oklahoma on a cow-calf operation. Professionally, she has embraced promotions, marketing, and social media as integral pieces of her career. She’s rural gone urban, a narrative that unfolds on her personal blog detailing her life as a young professional in Oklahoma City now Nashville. She’s been the voice of many handles including (but never limited to) @SmithfieldFoods, @Chickasaw, @VisitNC and @AskforPURPLE and strategist for @NCCommerce. Brooke applauds authenticity in social campaigns and understands a truly remarkable social presence can only be achieved with traditional media, public relations and brand management integration.
BurnsThompson HeadshotElizabeth Burns-Thompson

Elizabeth Burns-Thompson is currently Government Relations Manager for the Iowa Corn Growers Association. Elizabeth was raised on a diversified family farm in eastern Iowa, where her parents still farm today. Elizabeth’s passion for agriculture led her to Iowa State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business. Elizabeth also holds a Juris Doctorate degree from Drake Law School, specializing in agricultural law and policy. While Iowa has always been home, one of her favorite past-times is traveling, and over the years she’s had the privilege of observing agricultural production in variety of countries around the world.

Not pictured: Leah Brakke and Brandon Whitt