farmers inspired is the membership and purpose of North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association, Inc. (NAFDMA)
NAFDMA was founded in 1986 and is a membership based non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing the farm direct marketing and agritourism industry.
We are entrepreneurial farm families who invite customers to visit our farms and experience the food and the fun we create in our effort to sustain our land and livelihood.
MISSION: Growing the prosperity of our members.
VALUES: teamwork, excellence, positive attitude, creativity, empowerment, commitment, accountability
VISION: We aspire to be the world’s leading association for farm direct marketers and agritourism operators through building relationships while providing education, business development, employee training, and farm diversification resources.
farmers inspired includes innovative, resilient, and creative farmers, extension agents, industry suppliers, researchers, farmers’ market participants, government officials and other professionals who are part of the thriving farm direct marketing and agritourism industry in North America.
farmers inspired advances agritourism, on-farm retail, pick your own, consumer-supported agriculture, direct delivery, farmers markets, and other direct farm-to-consumer channels offering food, fiber, flora, fuel, and fun.
farmers inspired facilitates events, resources, communications, and peer-to-peer exchanges that bring new relationships, opportunities, growth, and success to those who participate.
We are farmers.
We help develop fertile businesses that cultivate crops, raise livestock, grow, bake, prune, brew, produce, boil, propagate, ferment, preserve, mix, and sell products that add value for the community and advance the agrarian economy.
We believe in collective improvement, standing up for what we believe in, doing what’s right, and are willing to buck the norms of conventional wisdom.
We embrace farming as our way of life, invest in others, and ourselves, and possess a ‘get it done’ attitude.
We strive to sustain a healthy balance of tradition and innovation in educating and connecting the non-farming public with agriculture, farms, and families that are stewards of the land.
We are dedicated to the advancement of farm-based businesses that create the foundation for incredible farm visits, lasting memories, nurturing foods, and family traditions.
We celebrate farms and promote smiles.
We are newly established farms, multi-generational farms and small business entrepreneurs that might at any time include inventive new farm enterprises that support the industry.
We are progressive farmers who embrace cutting-edge activities in farm diversification where agriculture and people meet.
We are pioneers and innovators who do not settle for “good enough” – We strive for excellence!
farmers inspired is committed to supporting family farms. Direct marketing is not for all farms, but for those who choose to sell their products directly to consumers, farmers inspired is here to help.
Board of Directors
NAFDMA is governed by a board of directors. The Advisory Board members fill established seats from five different regions of North America and five representative areas of interest. Officers are elected from among the board members. The board meets monthly by conference call and at least twice, face-to-face each year. The Board of Directors sets policy and direction for the organization, delegates day-to-day operations to White Loaf Ridge Management Company, and works hand-in-hand with management throughout the year.
Charlie Touchette, White Loaf Ridge Management Co., Southampton, Massachusetts
I live with my family on our fourth generation farm in Southampton, Massachusetts. I caught the NAFDMA fever when I traveled to Toledo, Ohio in 1990 with a bus full of friends from New England. In my role as Executive Director of one of the local sponsoring associations, I was an organizer of the 1996 Saratoga, New York Convention, was later named NAFDMA’s Executive Director in 1998, and have enjoyed serving in this capacity ever since. I am fortunate to live a life of balance serving NAFDMA and being grounded on the home farm. The family farm is being operated under low maintenance strategies allowing the flexibility to carry out my full-time obligations to NAFDMA. My passion is enabling dedicated farm families to lead prosperous and fulfilling lives on their farms. That’s NAFDMA at its core.
President, Board of Directors Chair
Ben Beaver, Tanners Orchard, Speer, Illinois
I did not grow up or work on a farm until 2003 when my wife brought me to her family farm, Tanners Orchard, for a few days to help out. I have been working with her family here in Speer, Illinois ever since that day. Here at Tanners Orchard we have u-pick apples and pumpkins, the Back 40 Fun Acres play area, corn maze, farm market and bakery. The Tanner family had been part of the NAFDMA network for over a decade when I came aboard so it was natural for them to add me to the list for the membership benefits and conventions. My experience with NAFDMA and its members has helped me grow both personally and professional by great leaps and bounds. The knowledge of NAFDMA’s diverse membership from across North America and beyond is something one cannot purchase. The members’ willingness to share business ideas is second to none.
Vice President of Membership, Membership Team Chair
Midwest Seat – Term Ends 2018
Tom Tweite, Tweite’s Family Farm, Byron, MN
I grew up on the farm that is now Tweite’s Family Farm near Byron, Minnesota. I never intended to make this farm that has been in my family for five generations into an Agritourism business, but here we are 27 years later with a now 40 acre fall theme park/corn maze business. My wife and business partner Colleen and I were introduced to NAFDMA in 1990 in Toledo Ohio. It was great to find others with similar interests in providing wholesome family fun on the farm. Over the years, NAFDMA has provided us with encouragement, cutting edge information and some of the best networking ever. I look forward to my time on board to help keep NAFDMA exciting and to keep the organization the leader in an ever changing business environment.
Vice President of Education, Education Team Chair
Canada Seat – Term Ends 2019
Sarah van Heeswijk, Surrey, BC
Although I wasn’t born into a farming family, I grew up surrounded by farming; living on fruit farms that were leased out to be farmed by others. My love for agriculture grew when I joined the 4H program as a teen and started raising sheep and rabbits. In 2004 I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree and started my career with the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture. For the past 10 years my work has focused on agriculture awareness and education. In 2011 I married a farmer and worked for 3 years in the family agritourism business. In 2012 I expanded my teaching abilities by completing an instructor diploma with a focus on adult education. Today my love of agriculture is stronger than ever. I have a passion for food and farming, and I am looking forward to a life and a career where I can continue to share that passion with others. Although I am no longer working in our family business, I still have a great personal interest and passion for agritourism and direct farm marketing. I believe that there is a great deal I can learn from the NAFDMA board and membership. I also strongly believe in the value of the NAFDMA organization and would be happy to contribute my time energy to further its purpose. I am currently employed as a Youth Development Specialist for the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and serve as the ministry representative to the Fraser Valley Farm Direct
Treasurer, Finance Team Chair
Southeast Seat – Term Ends 2018
Tammy Peterson, Hubb’s Corn Maze, Clinton, NC
Tammy Peterson is owner/operator of Hubb, Inc. along with her husband John. Tammy grew up on a farm, but after college she settled into the corporate world of accounting. After some 20+ years in the corporate world, her focus changed and she decided to become self employed. Along with a swine farm and residential rental property, she and John started Hubb’s Corn Maze in 2008. A couple of years after starting the maze, Tammy and John attended their first NAFDMA conference. Tammy does not attend the conference every year, but as she says, “The NAFDMA Facebook group provides a way for you to have your own NAFDMA conference right in your office.” Prior to attending her second conference, Tammy was asked to join the NAFDMA Board. Tammy was thrilled to have been asked and eager to fill the seat. The NAFDMA membership has provided a wealth of information and friendships to Tammy that she would not have experienced anywhere else.
Secretary, Promotion Team Chair
Entertainer Seat – Term Ends 2019
Amy Ladd, Lucky Ladd Farms, Eagleville, TN
Amy Ladd with her husband Jason own and operate Lucky Ladd Farms in the community of Eagleville, Tennessee where they are involved in agritourism. What began as a hobby has quickly evolved into Tennessee’s largest petting farm and a premier agritourism destination for thousands of families in Middle Tennessee. Lucky Ladd’s offers three seasons of fun, attractions for all ages and seasonal activities including Easter Egg Hunts, Watermelon and Sweet Corn Festivals, a Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch. Amy currently serves on the Board of the Tennessee Agritourism Association as Secretary, manages the TAA website and aids in the administration of the organizations social media content. Amy’s professional expertise includes an extended history in small business development including management and marketing of private organizations in the home improvement and real estate industries. Amy received a B.S. degree in Business Administration in 2002 and went on to complete her M.B.A. in 2005, both from Middle Tennessee State University. “This organization has been a key factor in the success of our business. The relationships we have made and information we have yielded through our participation over the last six years has been invaluable. I believe in paying it forward and would love the opportunity to not only help this organization grow but also to serve as a mentor to other start?up operations, states Amy.
Advisory Board of Directors Seats
Service Provider Seat – Term Ends 2018
Karen Kollars, Nebraska Tourism Commission, Sidney, NE
Karen is an “agricultural / tourism service provider” in Nebraska who provides resources and information to farmers and ranchers to help them find the answers to challenges and to provide them with the latest information in marketing and other areas. She works closely with tourism entities and helps encourage more rural residents to reach out to travelers wanting to take vacations that involve immersing themselves in ranching and or farming experiences. Having grown up on a small farm, she understands the commitment, passion and hard work that go into being involved in any type of Agritourism business.
When her youngest son graduated from high school in 2004, Karen accepted the Agritourism Development Consultant position with Nebraska Tourism. This opened the doors for Karen to once again become involved with two areas close to her heart – agriculture and tourism. Karen attended her first NAFDMA Convention in 2007 with the objective of learning the current trends and ideas to better help her own state’s Agritourism businesses. “I was greatly impressed with the level of open dialogue and sharing on the bus tours and in the speaker sessions, as well as by the level of professionalism and the diversity of topics that NAFDMA provided. I am excited to take on a leadership role in NAFDMA. It is a progressive organization that continues to keep up with changes in the industry and with technology and social media.”
West Seat – Term Ends 2017
Michael Wegele, Anderson Farms, Erie, CO
I started out as a Kansas farm boy in Western Kansas. Upon graduating from Fort Hays State University in 2002, I worked for a family business until 2004. I moved to Colorado in 2004 and shortly met a woman who would become my wife. Come to find out her family had a business which included a corn maze and a U-pick pumpkin patch. After we were married in April of 2007, we joined the business and moved to the farm. Her father, Jim Anderson, has been a NAFDMA member since 2001; we joined and went to the first convention in 2008. I feel very strongly that without the help of NAFDMA, and NAFDMA members, we would not be the successful business that we are today. We not only get so many ideas and meet great people at convention, but we also network with NAFDMA members throughout the year. What a great organization to be a part of!
Grower Seat – Term Ends 2019
Jeff Probst, Blooms & Berries Farm Market, Loveland, OH
Jeff Probst grew up in a rural setting with a childhood focus on creativity, education and the outdoors.
When he turned 14, his parents Dave and Cathy Probst moved to the family farm, fired up the 1957 Ford tractor and showed a young Jeff how to plant strawberries. Next were pumpkins and produce. Eventually, his family built a small garden center and Blooms & Berries was founded so Jeff could learn life skills, develop a solid work ethic and ultimately pay his own way through college. What followed was a realization of a passion and the recognition that being a good person?in conjunction with hard work, dedication, passion and a plan brings amazing opportunity.In 2012, Jeff married his wife Emily as added proof of his blessings. By 2013 Blooms & Berries sales experienced a 20% increase. Another year, another conference and 2014 brought about a 53% increase in Fall sales and an overall annual increase of 30% yet above 2013. Jeff expects another amazing and blessed year in 2015 as he and his wife Emily welcome the birth of their first child in March and the construction of new market barn to be opened May. Jeff says, “I have a passion for direct to consumer agriculture, innovative ideas, continuous improvement and helping others. I believe NAFDMA embodies all of the above, explaining why I respect and admire the people of NAFDMA so very much. My areas of strength are fueled by my ongoing optimism, and they generally revolve around new business development, mid?term strategic planning and some risk assessment. I feel serving on the Board of Advisors will be a great way for me to begin to pay back this organization for the huge contributions to my business and my future.”
Northeast Seat – Term Ends 2020
Scott Odorizzi, Alstede Family Farm, Chester, NJ
I started with the farm five seasons ago. I was hired as the retail operations manager with strong emphasis on food. Food is what I am very passionate about. It started when I was 12 and was washing dishes for a caterer. While there I went to NYU and graduated from Stern school of business. Working throughout college my passion kept growing. I realized I didn’t want to be in some office somewhere, I wanted to cook. I then helped my cousin open an Italian restaurant where my cooking skills grew tremendously. I later left there and went on to Boston Market, then Bennigan’s, finally ending up at Ruby Tuesday restaurants where I was a Managing Partner for 12 years.
Using the knowledge I learned, we continue to raise the bar in all food areas; from making our own ice cream to creating as much as we can from waste. But my position here grew into much more than just food. It became about running all operations, other than growing, please don’t ask me about that, I stay off the tractor! I really enjoy the challenges of running day to day operations through my team and making the guest experience as great as it can be.
Retailer Seat – Term Ends 2020
Stephanie Maynard Quinn, Quinn Farm, Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot, QC
While I didn’t grow up on a farm, my father was an agricultural service provider and made sure we had every opportunity to learn about agriculture. I was actively involved in 4-H and went on to work for the provincial 4-H office for many years. There I discovered my passion for organizing activities and events for people which led me to complete my degree in Leisure and Recreation. While working for 4-H I met Phil Quinn, who’s family had been in the agri-tourism business since 1982 and had been longstanding members of NAFDMA. I quickly fell in love with the business where I could combine my passion for agriculture, educating people and organizing events. I have only been involved with NAFDMA for a few years, but so quickly saw how much the organization had to offer and how willing the members were to share, support and help us build our business. I hope to be able to bring my knowledge and experience from serving on other boards to NAFDMA and I fully anticipate to benefit from personal growth while being involved.
NAFDMA is a financially transparent organization. Any current member may request a copy of NAFDMA’s annual budget or current financial statements.