Great American Media Services

40 Under 40 Class of 2020

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20 | Jordan Rasch Orchard Management, Green Tree Orchards LLC Donald Seifrit Extension Educator - Tree Fruit, Pennsylvania State University Extension Ben Smith Farmer/Executive Secretary, Michigan State Horticultural Society Nicholas Tipper Director of Research and Development, Application Insight Sarah Reel Grower/Crop Consultant, Double R Farm Darren Sinn Accountant/Business Manager, Berry Fresh LLC Benjamin Sklarczyk CEO/COO, Sklarczyk Seed Farm LLC Laurie Swanson Assistant Operations Manager/ Labor Coordinator, Great Lakes Ag Labor Services LLC Rasch is part of Green Tree Orchards LLC, a family-owned fruit farm growing apples and sweet cherries. After graduating from Northern Michigan University, Rasch returned home to join his brother and father as a sixth- generation grower. Additionally, he is an active advocate for US Apple and has served in the US Apple Young Leader program. When he is rarely not found working at the operation, he enjoys boating, wake surfing, snowmobiling and skiing. Don is the tree fruit extension educator for southeastern Pennsylvania. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Delaware. Starting with Penn State Extension in 2018, he is the coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Young Grower Alliance. His work focuses on providing resources for next- generation fruit growers (Latinx and young growers). Don recently began recording a tree fruit podcast. He and his fiancée, Erin, are to be married in December 2020. Ben Smith works at Hinkelman Farms where he grows wine and juice grapes, corn and soybeans. He is also the executive secretary for the Michigan State Horticultural Society whose mission is to support the Michigan fruit industry by funding research at Michigan State University and hosting educational events such as the Great Lakes EXPO. Nick Tipper's career and life have been dedicated to harnessing innovation and new technology for the benefit of agriculture. He distinguishes himself at everything he does, from his early career improving apple and potato harvest and post harvest processes as part of the research team in the USDA Agricultural Research Service Post- Harvest Research Lab at Michigan State University, to reducing waste in food processing with better portioning, to improving process controls in mushroom culture and other controlled environments. He currently endeavors to make spray applications easier, safer and more effective at every level, bringing bleeding edge technologies into horticultural spraying. He dedicates his spare time to advising the local Waverly Schools robotics team and sits on several ASABE national committees, and has been on two design teams that received the prestigious AE50 Product Design of the Year award, one at JBT Foodtech and one with Application Insight. He also farms grains with his brother on the family farm in St. Clair County, Michigan. Sarah works as an agronomist and irrigation saleswoman for Reynolds Farm Equipment during the day and in the evenings and the weekend she farms, growing about 40 acres of pumpkins for wholesale. Sarah attended Ivy Tech Community College for Agriculture. She's involved with her county's 4-H and oversees the meat goat program. Agriculture, especially specialty crops, has always been a passion for her and she's very happy to be making her dreams a reality. Sinn is a third-generation blueberry and blackberry farmer from Oregon's Willamette Valley. Additionally, he works for Berry Fresh as an accountant/ business manager. Darren is passionate about expanding the fresh market blueberry & blackberry industries in Oregon. He is the secretary/treasurer of the Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission and a regional representative to North American Raspberry & Blackberry Association. Darren resides in Silverton, Oregon with his wife Rachael and two children. Ben Sklarczyk owns Sklarczyk Seed Farm LLC (SSF), a third-generation family farm with his wife Alison and their two children–daughter Morgan, 7, and son Dane, 5. Under Ben's leadership SSF produces over 6 million virus-free seed potatoes of over 100 different varieties each year. It has a 100,000-square-foot facility of greenhouses, tissue culture labs and potato storages. SSF also grows 1,200 acres of corn, wheat, soybeans, oats and malting barley. Swanson comes from a migrant family of five who traveled every year from Texas to Michigan to work at a blueberry farm. Since joining GLALS in 2016 she has enjoyed the opportunity to assist employers with processing H-2A applications, conduct worker orientations and educate employers on H-2A regulatory compliance. Swanson graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in food industry management from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 10A

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