2018 - 2019 Board of Directors


As a fifth generation rice farmer, Greg Van Dyke has spent the entirety of his life in direct agriculture production. Born and raised in the rice fields of Pleasant Grove, CA, Greg received his bachelors in Agriculture Business and Masters in Economic Forecasting from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. After serving as an adjunct lecturer and the Associate Dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at California State University, Chico, Greg returned to Pleasant Grove, where he is the Owner of VA Farms and President of the Rice Growers Association of California. As the President of the Cultivating Change Foundation Board of Directors, Greg recognizes and promotes the importance of education, outreach, and advocacy as it pertains to the intersection of the LGBT and agricultural communities. In addition to serving as the Foundation’s President, Greg also sits on the California FFA Foundation Board, CSU, Chico President’s Advisory Committee, the USA Rice Federation Government Affairs committee, and just concluded a term as an elected delegate of the California Rice Commission.

Greg Van Dyke


CEO, Rice Growers Association of California

Kirk Maag is an advocate for agriculture, youth, and rural communities. He grew up in rural Oregon on his family’s farm and feedlot, working alongside his parents and grandparents. Kirk was active in 4-H and FFA and served as an Oregon FFA State Officer. Kirk earned a degree in environmental economics from Oregon State University and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. After law school, he spent a year in San Francisco working as a law clerk to Judge Carlos T. Bea on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Today, Kirk is a partner at Stoel Rives LLP—Oregon largest law firm—and advises natural resource industry clients. In addition to serving on the board of directors for the Cultivating Change Foundation, Kirk serves as President-Elect of the Oregon FFA Foundation.

Kirk Maag


Partner, Stoel Rives LLP

Stacy is a long time advocate and allie to the LGBTQ and agriculture communities. Raised in Elk Grove California Stacy was regularly exposed to elements of agriculture, until her involvement in California FFA sealed her passion for the industry, and perpetuated her completion of a Bachelors in Agriculture Science from the California State University, Chico. Now with over 10 years experience in the area of operations, events, and human resources, Stacy has the unique opportunity to be apart of the creation and success of 2 LGBTQ ran start-up companies. Here she is not only there number support as a colleague, but in life. In meeting her you will learn her favorite self descriptor is “Ride or Die”, as that is how she approaches her support and advocacy for a community and industry that truly hold a special place in her heart.

Stacy Bushgen


Director of Operations, Studio 5 - Learning & Development LLC


Grant is currently teaching in the College of Agriculture at Oregon State University where he is simultaneously completing Ph.D level coursework and research in the field of Agricultural Education. He was raised in the central valley of California and became involved in agriculture at the beginning of high school. Grant took courses in agriculture education and participated in the National FFA Organization. He came out in 2004, prior to moving to Chico to pursue his education to become a high school agriculture teacher. At the time, he saw a unique community of individuals who identified as LGBT working in and around the agriculture industry, but found no forum that supported them as holistically as the Cultivating Change Foundation does today. This led him to seek out, and become involved in the National USA Mr. Gay Competition (sponsored by the Noble Beast Foundation) where he expressed his passion for leadership and agriculture. Grant used this platform to elevate the community of LGBT agriculturists who had been looking for a voice in California Agriculture. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Education at California State University, Chico in 2007 and continued on to the Masters program at the University of California, Davis where he earned his teaching credential and Master of Arts degree. After developing his career in agriculture education, Grant came back to the LGBT community to merge the two networks he had developed. This culminated in the inaugural Cultivating Change Summit in 2015. Grant continues his efforts as a member of the Board of Directors, and seeks to make consistent progress toward the mission of the foundation.

Grant Lee Ermis

Board Member

Instructor, Agricultural Education, Oregon State University

As Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Communications for National Farmers Union, Rob Larew advocates for family farmers, ranchers, and rural communities in Congress and the executive branch.

Prior to his employment with NFU, Larew served over 22 years in Congress and USDA working on agriculture policy and communication. Most recently he was the staff director of the House Committee on Agriculture where he oversaw the committee’s efforts during the 2008 and 20014 farm bills. He previously served as the Director of Congressional and Public Affairs at the Food Safety and Inspection Service at USDA and worked as an agricultural aide to Rep. Collin Peterson and the late Sen. Paul Wellstone.

Larew was raised on a dairy farm in Greenville, West Virginia. He graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in Dairy Science and completed graduate work in agronomy from Penn State.

Rob Larew

Board Member

Sr. VP for Policy and Communication, National Farmers Union

Augusto is a lifelong advocate for agriculture and ally to the LGBTQ community. She was raised on a dairy in California’s Central Valley, and her passion for agriculture continued to grow through her involvement in 4-H and FFA. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Having grown up with multiple queer family members, Augusto has always identified as an ally and advocate for the LGBTQ community. Augusto has lived and worked in agriculture communications in Washington, D.C., for the past 9+ years.

Melisa Augusto

Board Member

Director of Communications & Marketing, Agricultural Retailers Association


Jones is the co-founder of Roots & Legacies Consulting, Inc., based in Manhattan, Kansas. He was raised in a diversified agribusiness family and was an active member of both 4-H and FFA. Earning degrees in Animal Science and Industry as well as International Agriculture from Kansas State University, he then went on to work with several agribusinesses. Jones is a strong leader in association management, communicating with various agriculture and food industry stakeholders and putting his passion for international agriculture to use in developing global markets for his clients.

J. j. jones

Board Member

Co-Founder of Roots & Legacies Consulting, Inc.

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Marcus lee hollan

Executive Director

COO, Studio 5 - Learning + Development


Jesse Lee Eller

Founder and Board Member

CEO, Studio 5 - Learning + Development

Advisory Board

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Luke alleN

Program Advisor, Illinois Agricultural Education

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Ryan Amaral

Program Specialist, Modesto Junior College

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Jared Bramer

Marketing Communications Lead at Kemin Animal Nutrition & Health - North America

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Perry Harlow

Coordinator of Programs and Grants, NASDA Foundation


DR. Kyle Jordan

Product Development Specialist - North America, BASF

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Kurtis Miller

District Intern, Representative Chrissy Houlahan


Cecil Shelton

Instructor, Penn State University

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Coleman Simpson

Student, North Carolina State University


Dr. Katherine Soule

Youth, Families, and Communities Advisor, University of California Cooperative Extension