Dr. Linda S. Lee, Distinguished Professor of Agronomy and Environmental & Ecological Engineering, Program Head of the Ecological Sciences & Engineering Interdisciplinary Graduate Program, and Assistant Dean of Graduate Education and Research of the College of Agriculture at Purdue University
Linda S. Lee is a Purdue University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Agronomy and Environmental & Ecological Engineering, Program Head for the Ecological Sciences & Engineering Interdisciplinary Graduate Program; and Assistant Dean of Graduate Education and Research for the College of Agriculture. She joined the Purdue faculty in 1993 with degrees in chemistry (BS), environmental engineering (MS) and soil chemistry/contaminant hydrology (PhD) from the University of Florida. Her group’s research focuses on environmental fate processes and contaminant remediation with application to management decision tools and supports human health and ecotox studies. Much of her research over the last 16 years has focused on PFAS. Several of her current projects include field-scale assessment of PFAS and other unregulated organic compounds in biosolids-applied lands. She is well published in top-tier environmental journals and has served on national and international advisory groups addressing water quality issues, policies, product regulations, and predicting chemical risk.
Jim Aidala, Senior Government Consultant at Bergeson & Campbell P.C.
Jim Aidala is a Senior Government Consultant with Bergeson & Campbell P.C. (B&C), a Washington, D.C. law firm. He has been intimately involved with the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) legislation and key regulatory matters for over four decades. Mr. Aidala brings extensive legislative experience on Capitol Hill and past work experiences at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the pesticide and chemical regulatory programs. Prior to joining B&C in 2003, Jim held a senior political appointment at EPA during the Clinton Administration, and during that time, among other duties, he led the team responsible for legislative drafting of the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act. Overall, his experience includes extensive involvement in both crafting and implementing the legislative and regulatory policies that underlie current requirements for approval of pesticides and chemicals. Currently his work is especially focused on the issues of EPA risk assessment policies, pollinator protection, and recently, issues surrounding the regulation of PFAS chemical substances. Also, in 1981 Jim was an original co-founder of The Capitol Steps, a Washington, DC musical political satire troupe. Jim's education includes undergraduate and graduate studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brown University, and Harvard University.
Dr. Tim Boring, Director of Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
Dr. Tim Boring was appointed by Governor Whitmer on March 27, 2023. He previously served as the State Executive Director of the USDA Farm Service Agency. Boring's family operates a six generation farm in Stockbridge, Michigan. Prior to his appointment at the USDA, he was the president and founder of Michigan Agriculture Advancement. He also previously served as the Vice President of the Michigan Agri-Business Association and worked as research director of the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee. Governor Whitmer had previously appointed Dr. Boring to the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2019. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriscience, Master of Science in Crop and Soil Sciences, and Ph.D. in Crop and Soil Sciences from Michigan State University.
Dr. Heather Brake, Communications Director of CDC's National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH") and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
Heather Brake, MS DVM DACVPM is a board-certified veterinarian with the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps who has been assigned to work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA. Since joining CDC in 2003, she has been instrumental in the development of several programs to promote veterinarians in public health and to reduce the risk of zoonotic diseases. In 2017, CDR Brake was assigned to the National Center for Environmental Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (CDC/ATSDR) where she currently works. Since joining Environmental Health, CDR Brake has worked on several critical issues such as lead, natural disasters, chemical spills, and per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Noting that her home state of Michigan had identified many areas of PFAS contamination, she decided to return to Michigan State University, College of Veterinary Medicine to pursue a PhD and conduct research on PFAS -- specifically in companion animals. Through her research project, Dr. Brake intends to complete an exposure assessment of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) among dogs and cats living in West Michigan. The outcome of this study will allow veterinarians to better identify and provide recommendations for patients who have been exposed to high levels of PFAS and lay the foundation for the development of a surveillance system using dogs and cats as sentinels for human exposure. Dr. Brake received her Bachelor of Science at Hope College, her Master of Veterinary Science from the University of Kentucky, her Aquatic medicine certificate from AQUAVET, and her veterinary degree from Michigan State University. She lives in Tucker, GA with her two boys, two cats, dog, and numerous fish.
Maine State Senator Stacy Brenner
Sen. Stacy Brenner is an organic farmer and small business owner who co-founded and now operates Broadturn Farm in Scarborough. Sen. Brenner is a graduate of the University of Arizona, where she studied agriculture and plant sciences. She holds two nursing degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. She spent her early working career as a nurse-midwife. She works part time for Maine Farmland Trust as the Senior Advisor for Land Access. In 2002, Stacy and her husband, John, moved to Maine to become first-generation farmers. In 2006, Stacy and John opened Broadturn Farm, which produces cut flowers and organic vegetables and hosts weddings. The farm is a thriving example of economic development on farmland protected with an agricultural easement funded by the Land for Maine’s Future program. Stacy is in her second term in the Maine State Senate. She is the Senate chair of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee as well as the Chair of the PFAS Fund Advisory Committee. She is the Senate appointee to the Maine Climate Council. She spends her legislative time focused on issues related to the climate and the clean energy transition, agriculture, and PFAS contamination.
Jim Buckle, The Buckle Farm in Maine
Jim Buckle, and wife Hannah Hamiton, operate The Buckle Farm in Unity, Maine. They are a certified organic vegetable and small fruit farm that focuses on wholesale to distributors in Maine. Jim and Hannah concentrate their farming on fall onions and potatoes with a summer raspberry and blackberry crop.
Dr. Courtney Carignan, Assistant Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University
Dr. Courtney Carignan is an exposure scientist and epidemiologist who investigates exposure to contaminants such as PFAS and effects on reproductive and child health. With 20 years of experience in the field of environmental health, she has focused for the past decade primarily on PFAS research, education and action. Dr. Carignan helps lead an NIH funded study investigating PFAS pediatric immunotoxicity and helps develop the PFAS Exchange as an online resource for PFAS impacted communities. She leads several other studies including the PFAS UNITEDD Michigan Study, the Firefighter PFAS Exposure Study and the Postpartum and Early Life Exposure Study. She recently published a breakthrough study on self-collection of blood samples for PFAS biomonitoring and has been investigating exposure via PFAS-impacted biosolids for the past five years. Dr. Carignan recently received the prestigious Joan Daisey award from the International Society of Exposure Science. She serves on the Environmental Health Research and Surveillance Guidance Panel for Michigan DHHS, as a Scientific Advisor for ATSDR’s Community Assistance Panel for Pease Tradeport, and as a liaison for the NASEM Guidance on PFAS Testing and Health Outcomes. She has served on the organizing committee since the inception of the National PFAS Conference and is chairing the 2024 conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Dr. Carignan holds a joint appointment in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Michigan State University. She received postdoctoral training in environmental reproductive epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine. Dr. Carignan completed her PhD in Environmental Health at the Boston University School of Public Health and B.S. in Biological Sciences at Rutgers University. She grew up in a semi-rural working class community in New Hampshire, has both European and Indigenous ancestry, enjoys outdoor recreation and gardening, and promotes environmental health protections inclusive of rural communities.
Dr. Chris Cohu, Associate Professor of Environmental Science at Colorado Mesa University
Chris Cohu is an Associate Professor of Environmental Science at Colorado Mesa University. His research interest focuses on remediation of soil and groundwater pollution using plants and associated microbes in a process called phytoremediation. Chris has over 30 field-scale phytoremediation systems planted around the United States. Chris works on remediating all types of pollutants, but his current interest is in remediating halogenated organic pollutants (e.g., PCE and PFAS), petroleum hydrocarbons, and heavy metals using a variety of plants and specialized microbes.
Alexander Domesle, Senior Advisor at Food Safety and Inspection Service
Alexander Domesle is a Senior Advisor at the Food Safety and Inspection Service, the public health agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture that ensures the safety of meat, poultry, and egg products. His food safety expertise is in chemical residues and contaminants and covers scientific, policy, and trade-related aspects. Mr. Domesle represents the United States at the Codex Alimentarius Commission as the Alternate U.S. Delegate for the Pesticide Residues and Contaminants Committees. Mr. Domesle holds a Master of Science in environmental health from the University of Washington School of Public Health and a Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School. Before returning to FSIS in 2019, he served as an expert in pesticide regulation and risk assessment at USDA and the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Susan Gordon, Venetucci Farm in Colorado
Susan and her husband, Patrick, have been farming organically for 23 years. Eleven of those were spent managing the 200-acre Venetucci Farm, a community farm on the southern edge of Colorado Springs, CO. In 2016, high levels of PFAS from AFFF used at nearby Peterson Air Force Base were discovered in the aquifer beneath the farm. As this was the sole source of water for both domestic and agricultural needs at the farm, the farm was shut down. Susan and Patrick returned to their farm in Canon City, CO, where they continue to grow a wide variety of vegetables for CSA members and wholesale markets.
Jason Grostic, Grostic Cattle Company in Michigan
The Grostic Family farm began in the early 1900’s by Jason’s Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother as a dairy farm. It has continued through three more generations. Through those years the family grew and the torch was handed down to the next generation. In the early 70’s Jason’s parents bought more land and expanded the farm to where it is today. After Jason’s father died in a tragic farming accident, Jason’s mother decided it was too difficult to continue the dairy farm.
It was then that Jason stepped up and took the farm in a different direction and started to raise beef cattle and grow row crops to sell as cash crop. He set up a breeding program and for the next five years the herd grew bigger and bigger each year. In 2009 Jason expanded the business by getting his license to sell meat to the public. This avenue started at the local Farmers Market selling packaged meat. While Jason’s family grew so did his business. Each year he sold more and more meat, continuing to sell at the farmer market, and directly from the farm selling larger packages like whole and half cows. He included his wife and children every step of the way. They would join him every Saturday at the farmers market helping to sell meat as well as help with the chores on the farm.
The State of Michigan said they are going to eliminate the herd and put limited use on the property. The Grostic family has been waiting for six months with no additional answers or information. Jason is currently in a lawsuit with Tribar Manufacturing for the contamination of his land and animals.
Abigail Hendershott, Executive Director of Michigan PFAS Action Response Team
Abigail (Abby) Hendershott, a 30-year veteran of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), is the Executive Director of the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team. MPART is a multi-agency task force charged with investigating PFAS contamination, overseeing clean-up and other response activities aimed at protecting Michigan’s drinking water. Ms. Hendershott has focused on PFAS response activities since 2017 and led the team responsible for Michigan’s largest PFAS contamination response to-date, the investigation into the former Wolverine Worldwide tannery in Rockford. In that role, her team was responsible for a $113 million legal settlement establishing clean-up plans and municipal water connections for thousands of residents in northern Kent County. She supervised the Remediation and Redevelopment Division’s Grand Rapids district office and has more than 25 years of project management experience for complex environmental remediation projects. Ms. Hendershott has a B.S. in Resource Development from Michigan State University and is a graduate of the Michigan State Great Lakes Leadership Academy.
Page Hingst, Tribal Response Program Manager at Santee Sioux Nation of Nebraska
Page Hingst is the 128(a) Tribal Response Program Manager for the Santee Sioux Nation of Nebraska. She has worked in her capacity for 8 years and for the Santee for 6 years. Page is responsible for brownfields, UST’s, solid and hazardous waste, and emergency response. She is a member of the Tribal Science Council Vice Co-Chair, National Tribal Brownfields Workgroup, and co-lead of the Tribal PFAS Workgroup. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Wayne State College in Biology and Psychology.
Dr. Jim Ippolito, Professor of Environmental Soil Health at The Ohio State University
Dr. Jim Ippolito is a professor of environmental soil health. His 30+ year career has focused on improving environmental soil fertility/chemistry/microbiology/soil health within agricultural, shortgrass steppe, grazed, burned, and metal-contaminated mined-land ecosystems. His research program connects the intimate linkages between soil macro- and micro-nutrients, trace and heavy metals, microbiological activity, and soil physical attributes, and how these factors combine to influence ecosystem sustainability, resiliency, food, climate and environmental security.
Greg Jaffe, Senior Advisor for Regulatory Affairs at United States Department of Agriculture Secretary's Office
Gregory Jaffe is the Senior Advisor for Regulatory Affairs in the Secretary's office at USDA. His portfolio covers many issues including food safety, research, the bioeconomy , biotechnology, and PFAS. Greg came to USDA after a long career as the Biotechnology Project Director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit consumer organization located in Washington, DC. He also worked for the Breakthrough Institute as the Co-Director of their Washington DC office. Greg has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan Univeristy and a JD from Harvard Law School.
Dr. Hui Li, Professor of Environmental Soil Chemistry at Michigan State University
Dr. Hui Li is Professor of Environmental Soil Chemistry at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. He received BS and MS degrees in Environmental Chemistry from Nanjing University, China and Ph.D. degree from Purdue University, USA. Professor Li’s research program focuses on environmental fate and impacts of emerging contaminants in soil-water-plant systems. His research program has been continuously funded by USDA, NIH, NSF, and EPA. He has published >160 peer-reviewed articles in major environmental science and soil science journals. These papers have been cited >9000 times with an H-index of 54. Dr. Li served as an associate editor of Journal of Environmental Quality and received outstanding associate editor award. He also served as a guest editor for the journals of Environment International, Chemosphere, and Frontiers of Environmental Science and Engineering. Dr. Li served as Chair of Soils and Environmental Quality Division, Soil Science Society of America. He received the Jackson Soil Chemistry and Mineralogy Award from Soil Science Society of America. He was elected as Fellow of Soil Science Society of America and Fellow of American Society of Agronomy.
Dr. Sara Lupton, Research Chemist at Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center
Dr. Sara Lupton has been a Research Chemist with the Animal Metabolism-Agricultural Chemicals Research Unit at the Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center in Fargo, ND within the USDA-Agricultural Research Service since 2010. Dr. Lupton's background is in environmental analytical chemistry. She is the ARS lead scientist for the USDA’s Dioxin Survey conducted with FSIS every 5 years in domestic meat and poultry. Dr. Lupton’s other research includes the fate of animal drugs and environmental contaminants in lab and food animals and investigation of environmental contaminant sources (feed, water, housing, etc.) that contribute to chemical residue levels in food animals. Dr. Lupton has conducted research on bioavailability, accumulation, distribution, excretion, and remediation of PFAS compounds in food animals for over 10 years.
Nancy McBrady, Deputy Commissioner of Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
Nancy McBrady is the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, where she focuses on agricultural policy, strategy, and implementation. She joined the Department in early 2019 as the Director of the Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources. She oversaw four divisions and three boards engaging in food safety, agricultural technical assistance, agricultural marketing and promotion, plant and animal health, emergency food assistance, harness racing, milk pricing, and pesticide regulation. In her role, Nancy also created the Bureau's PFAS response program. Before joining the Department, Nancy served as the Executive Director of the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine. At the Commission, she directed programs for marketing and promotion, research and development, and policy engagement. Nancy previously practiced environmental, land use, and municipal law in Portland, Maine.
Dr. Caroline Noblet, Associate Professor of Economics at University of Maine
Caroline L. Noblet is an associate professor in the School of Economics at the University of Maine. She is a behavioral/ experimental environmental economics with a particular focus on how people process and use information to make choices about the environment. This question takes her across academic disciplinary boundaries between the fields of economics, psychology, and communication. Noblet researches the changing environmental and economic landscape of Maine and other rural, natural resource-based areas.
Adam Nordell, Songbird Farm in Maine
Adam Nordell and Johanna Davis own and operate Songbird Farm together on a beautiful hilltop farm in Unity, Maine.
For the last 5 years Songbird Farm has produced vegetables on 4 acres and grains on 15 acres the latter of which are leased from the Sebasticook Regional Land Trust. New plans and dreams are in the works with a shift in production models which will greatly expand upon the grain production side of the farm. If all goes well, in 2021 the couple will have 40 acres of patched together land leases growing grain.
Originally from the coastal town of Round Pond, Johanna grew up playing in the woods and streams and helping with a large family vegetable garden, goats, and chickens. After high school she worked on several farms around the country.
Adam grew up in the hills south of Helena, MT, where he spent his free time hiking, catching frogs and playing bass guitar. He came to college in Maine where he and Johanna met. Adam also worked on several farms and after spending a few years in Montana together the couple moved back to Maine in 2011.
Songbird Farm started in a couple back fields, one in Pemaquid and one in Whitefield in 2011. After that it moved to the beautiful river bottom land in Starks. In 2016 Adam and Johanna moved Songbird Farm to Unity. In 2018 Caleb was born into the family.
In late 2021, they learned that their home farm and primary lease field were licensed for the spreading of bio-solids in the early 1990s, (24 years before they purchased their farm and moved to Unity), resulting in PFAS contamination.
Heidi Pickard is a 5th year PhD candidate in the department of Engineering Sciences at Harvard University and has a Master’s degree in chemistry from Memorial University in Newfoundland, Canada. Her current PhD research focuses on using a toolbox of analytical methods to explore the full extent of PFAS contamination in the environment and investigate important pathways of exposure to humans. Her overarching research goal is to better understand how PFAS precursors persist and accumulate in the food we eat, including crops, seafood, and other livestock.
Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, District 1
Chellie Pingree became an organic farmer on the small island of North Haven, Maine in the 1970s. After graduating from College of the Atlantic with a degree in human ecology, Chellie sold produce to summer residents and raised sheep for wool, eventually starting a mail-order knitting company that employed ten people in the community.
Chellie was elected to Congress in 2008, becoming the first woman to represent Maine’s 1st Congressional District in Washington. In Congress, Chellie relies on her experience as a certified organic farmer to support the diverse range of American agriculture, including sustainable, organic, and locally focused farming. As a member of the House Agriculture Committee and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, she has been a vocal advocate for food policy reform. Her Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act was partially incorporated into the 2014 Farm Bill, including programs to support farmers markets, local food producers and help SNAP recipients take better advantage of fresh food at farmers markets. And because of her leadership, the 2018 Farm Bill more than doubled funding for organic research, created the first federal produce prescription program, and established the first federal local food program with permanent funding.
Pingree has pioneered legislation to reduce food waste across the American food system and is the co-founder of the bipartisan Food Recovery Caucus. She’s the author of the Agriculture Resilience Act, comprehensive legislation that sets a bold vision of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in U.S. agriculture by the year 2040.
Art Schaap, Highland Dairy in New Mexico
Arthur (Art) Schaap is a 4th generation Dairy Farmer on Highland Dairy. Art started farming on his own in 1987 and is the owner of three dairy farms, two of which are currently in operation. Art’s farm ground is in eastern New Mexico and West Texas. Art is a partner in Tucumcari Mountain Cheese Factory, which produces feta and other specialty cheeses. He is also a partner in ADM labs that test milk components and quality, feed testing, and checks blood and milk for pregnancy of animals at farm level.
Art resides on the farm in Clovis, New Mexico with his wife Renee. Together they have three children: one son who assists with the dairies, and 2 daughters. Art and Renee are blessed with six grandchildren.
Dr. Andrew Smith, State Toxicologist and Manager of the Environmental and Occupation Health Program at Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Andrew Smith, SM, ScD is the State Toxicologist and Manager of the Environmental and Occupation Health Program at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Smith obtained his master’s in environmental health management and doctorate in environmental health sciences from the Harvard School of Public Health. He has been that Maine State Toxicologist 27 years. His office is the lead toxicology, risk assessment, and exposure assessment group for Maine’s extensive PFAS investigations related to soils contaminated with PFAS from the historic application of contaminated biosolids. Current PFAS-related activities of his team includes the derivation of food action levels, the development of soil screening levels for agricultural related pathways, field studies of plant uptake of PFAS, investigation of a soil related exposure pathway for backyard chickens, and the develop of fish, deer, and turkey consumption advisories due to elevated levels of PFAS in edible tissues.
Rod Snyder, Senior Advisor for Agriculture to the EPA Administrator
Rod Snyder was appointed Senior Advisor for Agriculture to the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in October 2021. He is recognized for his nearly two decades of leadership at the intersection of agricultural and environmental policy.
From 2014-2021, Snyder served as president of Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, which is the largest multi-stakeholder initiative working to advance the sustainability of commodity crop farming in the United States. In this role, he forged science-based consensus among diverse stakeholders across the food and agriculture value chain on complex issues such as climate change, water quality, biodiversity, and pest management. In 2015, Snyder co-founded the Sustainable Agriculture Summit, which has grown to be the largest and most prominent annual sustainable agriculture conference in North America.
Prior to his time at Field to Market, Snyder held positions as Public Policy Director for the National Corn Growers Association and Government Affairs Leader for CropLife America. He has been a longtime champion of agricultural solutions to climate change and has on two occasions organized farmer delegations to participate in UN Climate Summits in Paris and Copenhagen.
Snyder holds a B.A. in Political Science from Eastern University in St. David's, Pennsylvania. He resides on his family farm in Shenandoah Junction, West Virginia.
Dr. Marcus Wasilevich, Toxicology and Assessment Section Manager at Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Marcus Wasilevich began working for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in 2020 after working 20 years as a professor of biology. Currently he manages the Division of Environmental Health - Toxicology and Assessment Section within which sits the PFAS Response Program of MDHHS.