Meet the Trust In Food Team

Mitch Rouda

President

Mitch Rouda is president of Farm Journal’s Trust In Food. A seasoned business executive, he brings extensive experience in consumer and business-facing communications strategy as well as digital media and e-commerce to his leadership role.

A 10-year Farm Journal executive, Rouda leads Farm Journal’s effort to restore consumer trust in the food system. The Trust In Food platform helps consumers better understand how farmers, ranchers and food processors make what we eat, with authentic storytelling and engaging science-based information addressing the key concerns of today’s food consumers. As part of this effort, Trust In Food works with farmers and ranchers to rapidly advance economically sensible conservation agricultural practices.

Rouda previously served as Chief Revenue Officer of Farm Journal, driving the company’s growth initiatives and providing strategic leadership to all business units of the company. He served for six years as president of e-Media at Hanley Wood and as editor in chief of the American Institute of Architects for three years, among many other roles. He holds a bachelor’s in architecture from Carnegie Mellon University.

Jay Vroom

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.

Nate Birt

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

Program Manager

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

Program Officer

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

Development Officer

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.

Dave Alpert

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

Senior Adviser

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.

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