NEAFA Elects New President and Vice President

The Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance (NEAFA) is proud to announce their new president and vice president, John Clark and Danielle Penney-Stroup. Returning officers include Secretary Lon Stephens and Treasurer Barry Baetz. “I am proud to work with the dedicated members of NEAFA, committee members and board members who have pushed our organization forward,” said Clark. 

Clark has filled numerous roles at NEAFA in the past, including the treasurer, vice president positions.  Clark also works with the government relations committees and is the chair of the good works committee. “I enjoy facilitating lobby groups, committee sessions, and board meetings,” said Clark.  “I have big shoes to fill following Andy Dugan (exiting president).  He has been a great leader, always listening to all sides while still helping NEAFA move forward. We have truly grown under his leadership, including the new agronomy committee, increased collaboration with others organizations, and we have increased the amount of monies distributed by our good works program.”

Clark has served the agricultural sector for nearly forty years, since graduating from Cornell with a degree in Animal Science and Agribusiness. He currently works with Feedworks USA, a business that works to create additives for feed. Clark also started the Northeast Agri-Solutions Force (NASF) 15 years ago. According to NASF's website, the business searches “for unique, profitable, and proven solutions that today's dairy producers need to control expenses and maximize efficiency.” For Clark, NASF provides the freedom and flexibility to focus on some of things he enjoys in the industry. “I'm my own boss, so I can work with the groups that I want to, and not have to worry about filing for a day off to give back,” said Clark “Whether it's county fairs, jr. dairy, etc., they're all intertwined with my industry. And if there are products that come my way, I have the ability to represent them.”

Incoming Vice President Danielle Penney-Stroop has been on the board for 4 years and currently serves on the conventions committee. “From majority of my research that in the 100 year history of the combined organizations, but definitely since the inception of NEAFA, I am the first female to be an executive member and serve as Vice President,” said Penney-Stroop. “That’s something that makes me very proud & excited.” Penney-Stroup is currently employed by Novus International as the Northeast Ruminant Manager. “We provide cow comfort expertise to dairy producers, as well offer producers a wide variety of products that enhance overall health & production,” said Penney-Stroop. “I have had a variety of roles in the dairy industry for the past 20 years – from large herd management in northern NY & VT to nutrition & dairy management consulting throughout the Northeast, with specialization of calves & heifers.”

While she has a love for all of agriculture, Penney-Stroop’s passion, core, and roots lie with the dairy industry. “I look forward to and will continue my efforts to bridge the educational gaps between the general populous and production agriculture. Additionally, I look forward to increasing my lobbying efforts and becoming more involved in the political process on the behalf of our producers, and other ag industry manufacturers and professionals.” Penney-Stroop currently resides with her husband Brook and her three teenage children (Kaigan, Keara, and Keegan) in Grahamsville NY, located in the southern Catskills.

Returning Secretary Lon Stephens graduated Cornell University in Ag Engineering in 1981. He worked on a large central NY dairy farm for 3 years. He has been a Co-operative Feed Dealers (CFD) employee for 34 years - 29 as General Manager. CFD was formed in 1935 as a wholesale distributor and commodity trading company owned by its members. Members include independent feed mills and farm supply stores throughout NY, PA, NJ and New England. CFD’s newest venture, Dryshod, is on a dramatic growth curve after its market introduction in December 2017. The product line was created with help from former Muck Boot Company founder and owner, Jim Donohue.

Lon was elected Secretary of NEAFA 3 years ago after serving on the NEAFA Board of Directors. He became involved in NEAFA to represent CFD’s independent feed dealers, collaborate with vendors and feed mill customers at NEAFA events, and keep abreast of issues affecting the feed industry. Outside of NEAFA, Lon was elected to serve a three year term on the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) Board of Directors in March 2018. He is active in his local church and enjoys playing golf.

Also returning for another term is Treasurer Barry Baetz. “I joined the organization in the beginning based on the strength and efforts of its advocacy and education for the Northeast agribusiness region,” said Baetz. Prior to becoming Treasurer, he was the chair of the membership committee for a number of years.  “I am proud of our committee being able to both maintain and increase membership levels of NEAFA.  The new membership is bringing a more well rounded perspective to the organization as a whole, while at the same time increasing the strength of the organization while we focus on advocating for Northeast agriculture.”

Baetz was raised on a small farming operation in Ontario, Canada. He attended the University of Guelph and received his Bachelor of Agricultural Science with a major in Animal Science. Baetz joined Shur-Gain directly upon graduating from University in January 1994. Over his time with the company, his responsibilities grew into the role of Dairy Nutrition Specialist, then Business Development Manager, and on to being the General Manager of Shur-Gain’s US Feed Region. in 2013, Baetz joined Dairy Farmers of America Farm Supplies business in the role of Feed Projects Manager. In 2015, Baetz joined Global Agri-Trade Corporation as Animal Feed Sales Manager for the Eastern US and National Accounts. Since then he has focused on expanding the sales efforts of Palmit 80 and Nurisol Dry Fats. His training and experience in dairy nutrition also allows him to provide Technical Service to customers on a national basis.

NEAFA would again like to congratulate John Clark and Danielle Penny-Stroop on their new roles, and thank Andy Dugan for his service to the organization. Thanks also go to the continued hard work and diligence provided by Barry Baetz and Lon Stephens. With such a strong group of officers, NEAFA is looking forward to another year of growth and promotion of the agricultural industry.