CANR Alumni Association elects new board officers and executive committee members

The CANR Alumni Association held officer and executive committee elections at is fall board meeting.

CANR Alumni Association executive committee members for 2020-2021.

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) Alumni Association held officer and executive committee elections at its fall board meeting Sept. 29.

Board members serve as advisors to the college’s alumni officer regarding alumni programming, as well as liaisons between the college, the academic departments, the alumni and agriculture and natural resources industries.


Jennifer Whitford



Jennifer Whitford, of Alma, now serves as the CANR Alumni Association (CANRAA) president. She represents the CANRAA as an at-large representative on the board. Jennifer serves as a vice president of traditional lending at GreenStone Farm Credit Services in Alma. Prior to joining GreenStone, she was a regional representative for Michigan Farm Bureau. Whitford is a 2001 CANR graduate with an MSU degree in agribusiness management with a specialization in environmental economics.


Matt Smego

Matt Smego, Lansing, is the past president and represents the CANRAA as an at-large member. He serves as director of the public policy and commodity division for Michigan Farm Bureau and as such has a long history of working in agriculture and public policy. He began his Michigan Farm Bureau career in 1999 as a regional representative. He received his bachelor’s degree in agriscience from MSU.


Valerie Wright

President-elect is Valerie Wright, Kalamazoo, a 1989 interior design graduate, represents the CANR School of Planning, Design and Construction. She has served as a principal for the last eight years and is the senior interior designer at Diekema Hamann Architecture. Valerie is also the current president of the MSU Interior Design Advisory Board.

Leslie Siefka

Secretary is Leslie Siefka, University Center, a 1997 Institute of Agricultural Technology (IAT) agribusiness management graduate and a 2001 agriculture and natural resources communications graduate, represents the CANR IAT program on the board. She also received an MBA from Baker College. Siefka currently serves as a regional program coordinator for the MSU IAT program at Delta College. Her previous experience includes at several universities and colleges in student recruitment, alumni and donor relations and teaching communication and leadership courses.

Jason Smith

Jason Smith, Sault Sainte Marie, serves as an at-large member of the executive committee and represents the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife on the board. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fisheries and wildlife from MSU in 2012 and 2015, respectively. Currently, Smith serves as a fisheries assessment biologist for the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

The CANR Alumni Association promotes and supports the college by fostering a fraternal spirit among CANR alumni; promoting and supporting the college among current and prospective students, fellow alumni and other stakeholders of the college; offering opportunities to network with and learn from our outstanding faculty and other alumni; and supporting CANR students through the Distinguished Undergraduate Scholarships program. Learn more at:

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