Amy Skoczlas Cole
Executive Vice President
Over the course of a 25 year career spanning Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, and foundations, Amy has worked to reimagine the systems that deliver clean water, sustainable food, and low carbon energy to society. She currently serves as Executive Vice President at Farm Journal, US agriculture’s leading business intelligence and communications company. There, she leads Trust in Food, a purpose driven business accelerating the adoption of regenerative agriculture across the US, and America’s Conservation Ag Movement, one of the largest and most diverse public-private partnerships in conservation agriculture’s history.
Most recently, Skoczlas Cole served as managing director of The Water Main, a social impact enterprise of American Public Media, which connected with over 8 million Americans to build and measure public will for clean, accessible, affordable water. While there, she launched the groundbreaking farmer to farmer sustainable ag podcast Field Work; the first ever nationally representative study of how Americans think, feel, and take action on water; and In Deep, a program exploring the labyrinth of how our water is cleaned, managed, and delivered from toilet to tap.
Before joining APMG, she was the founder of a strategic advisory firm focused redefining the relationship between people, planet, and the global economy. As part of this work, she served as the founding chair of the Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition, a group of over 30 global businesses and organizations collaborating to drive a circular economy, regenerative and sustainable by design. Earlier in her career, she served as vice president, sustainability for Pentair – a $7-billion global manufacturing company – and executive director of the Pentair Foundation. Before that, she served as the head of sustainability for eBay, Inc.
Skoczlas Cole started her career at Conservation International, where she forged some of the earliest collaborations between environmentalists and the private sector. Over the course of 13 years, Amy was a leader in CI’s efforts to design and build best environmental and social practices across key industrial sectors, including global agriculture, forestry, energy, mining, and the built environment. This work took her to threatened ecosystems around the world, from the cloud forests of Mexico to the savannahs of Africa and included a 2 year posting in Brazil.
Skoczlas Cole a frequent speaker and presenter, and is the author of numerous articles and blog posts on social innovation, the science of behavioral change, and sustainable development, including co-editor of Footprints in the Jungle, published by Oxford University Press. Cole holds an MBA from George Washington University and a bachelor’s in environmental policy from Vanderbilt. She currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Great Plains Institute for Sustainable Development, on the expert advisory board for Ensia magazine from the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Environment, and in an ongoing advisory role for American Public Media. After living and working on both coasts and in Brazil, she now calls Minneapolis, Minn., home, where she lives with her husband, two school-aged children and a mischievous dog.
Chair, Board of Advisers
Jay Vroom chairs the Trust In Food Board of Advisers, guiding the largest public-private conservation partnership in American agriculture. Vroom is a long-trusted voice in agribusiness, having served 19 years as CEO of CropLife America, the trade association for companies that produce, sell and distribute crop protection and biotechnology products used by farmers, ranchers and landowners.
Vroom serves as chairman of the FFA Foundation’s Individual Giving Council and sits on the boards of the Soil Health Institute and National Wheat Foundation. He also has served in leadership positions on the U.S. Production Ag CEO Council, the Coalition to Advance Precision Agriculture, the Agricultural Retailers Association and Asmark Institute.
An agriculture honors graduate from the University of Illinois, Vroom still owns the crop farming operation he grew up on in north-central Illinois.
Director of Development & Programming
Nate Birt is director of development and programming for Farm Journal’s Trust In Food. Birt leads the division’s efforts to build collaborative partnerships across the agri-food value chain in support of U.S. farmers and ranchers, co-create programs and successfully achieve measurable positive outcomes for agricultural producers, the value chain and the American public.
A seven-year Farm Journal team member, Birt previously served of managing editor of Top Producer, Farm Journal’s CEO publication serving 120,000 farm executives. He began his career at Farm Journal as assistant machinery editor and social media editor.
Before joining Farm Journal, Birt worked as a journalist in consumer media. His portfolio includes work for AOL/Patch.com, the Boonville (Mo.) Daily News, the Boulder (Colo.) Daily Camera, the Columbia Missourian, the Columbia (Mo.) Tribune, Credit Sesame, the Detroit Free Press, ScribbleLive, Social5 and Visual.ly.
Birt is the author of the nationally published book, “Frozen, But Not Forgotten: An Adoptive Dad’s Step-by-Step Guide to Embryo Adoption,” and has appeared as a guest on The Eric Metaxas Show. He holds a master’s in journalism and bachelor’s degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Missouri. He and his wife, Julie, are parents to four children, eight chickens, three cats and a dog. They aspire to farm 8 acres in rural Northeast Missouri.
Drew Slattery is program manager for Farm Journal’s Trust In Food. Adept at applying social science research to achieve behavior change outcomes through communication campaigns, Slattery leads a trans-disciplinary and diverse team in efforts to empower America’s agricultural producers to continuously improve their operations’ environmental, financial and social outcomes. He works closely with all Farm Journal divisions and industry partners to catalyze positive change, protecting America’s natural resources and empowering rural communities to thrive through profitable conservation and sustainability activities.
Before joining Trust In Food in 2018, Slattery served as communications manager for an international NGO focused on providing water access through public-private partnerships and corporate social responsibility investments. Slattery served as an agricultural extension agent volunteer in the U.S. Peace Corps (Zambia) and as a behavior change communication consultant for U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded national media campaigns.
Slattery holds a master’s in international agriculture with an emphasis on technology adoption from Oklahoma State University and a bachelor’s in communication studies with an emphasis on public relations and mass media from Tarleton State University in Texas.
Kinsie Rayburn is Trust In Food’s program officer and has 12 years of experience initiating, planning, leading and successfully delivering agricultural development projects. Rayburn has applied her experience in support of farmers across multiple states and countries with a focus on increasing efficiency, revenue and longevity of farm businesses through tailored on-farm solutions.
Rayburn holds a bachelor’s in environmental science and law from Humboldt State University in California and a master’s in sustainable development from the University of Leeds in England. She has worked in agricultural development building closed-loop agricultural systems in Zambia, aquaponic systems development with the Kwame Nkurmah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, and hydroponic and local food systems development in Louisiana.
More recently, Rayburn served as a GIS and disaster programs specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in western North Carolina and the South Carolina Upstate. In her current role, Rayburn works with various conservation agriculture partners to conduct original research and programming across the U.S. to better understand and communicate the perspective of U.S. farmers and to identify opportunities for scaling conservation agriculture practices across the nation’s 900 million acres of farmland.
Ethan White is development officer for Farm Journal’s Trust In Food. A seasoned relationship- and network-builder, White works to increase the resilience of international food systems by increasing connections across the agri-food value chain and supporting triple-bottom-line management that improves the livelihoods of farmers. White works closely with agribusinesses, government agencies, conservation- and food-focused NGOs, and other industry partners to build a more robust agricultural value chain.
Before joining Trust In Food in 2019, White worked as a business development manager for regional, food-focused nonprofits and built a small business focused on climate-controlled growing solutions for climate-insecure communities. He was also a fellow for the Mountain Resilience Coalition, building international mountain community networks for the UN Mountain Partnership. White served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Fiji and is a two-time AmeriCorps alumnus.
White holds a master’s in environmental management with an emphasis on sustainable and resilient communities from Western State University in Colorado. His holds a bachelor’s in communication with an emphasis in public relations from Greenville University in Illinois.
Strategy & Business Development Adviser
Dave was at the at the forefront of the boom in U.S. specialty and imported cheese in the early 1980s and the development of in-store grocery sampling and couponing. In the 1990s, he helped lead phenomenal growth of George Foreman Grills. In the early 2000s, he kickstarted the manufacturing of foodservice equipment and hydraulic cylinders in mainland China. Dave has been a founder or strategic adviser on two businesses focusing on disintermediation of supply chains.
Kirk Dupps is an authority in retailing and the $1-trillion-plus retail food industry with more than 45 years of leadership in all aspects of food distribution. Kirk began his career with Kroger Food Stores and then helped Walmart increase its presence in retail food and served as head of Sam’s Wholesale Club $60-billion grocery business. While on the board of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), he teamed NFWF with Walmart to place 1 million acres of land in conservation over 10 years.