Our Team

Staff

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Joe Maxwell

President

Joe Maxwell focuses his work on a vision of an inclusive U.S. economy that works for all people, providing them an equitable opportunity to share in the prosperity they help build, rather than an economy that works for just a handful of individuals and multi-national corporations.

Joe has held key positions in both political and initiative petition campaigns. During the last election cycle, he assisted Presidential, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives candidates in developing their antitrust, agriculture, and food policy positions.

Joe’s work has been profiled by Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Politico, and The Nation. He has been cited by CNN, The New York Times, NPR, USA Today, and the Washington Post, among others.

Joe holds degrees in agriculture economics and law from the University of Missouri. He served as a Missouri state legislator, as Missouri’s Lieutenant Governor, and is retired from the Army National Guard, where he served as a First Sergeant in the Field Artillery. Joe and his brother, Steve, are Missouri family farmers. 

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Angela Huffman

Vice President

Angela Huffman provides strategic thought and direction for the organization’s efforts to integrate research, communications, and advocacy toward successful policy reforms that break up corporate food monopolies and build fair competition in rural America. Her winning strategy centers on building capacity through broad-based, diverse collaborations.

Angela brings more than a decade of experience in food and agriculture policy reform and market development. In prior work, Angela led numerous institutions, retailers, and other food buyers to shift their purchasing toward farms that meet the highest standards for fairness and sustainability. She has also held marketing and consulting positions for farms, regional dairy and meat processors, distributors, and restaurants.

Angela’s research and analyses are frequently featured in national news media. Recently, her work was profiled by The Hill, NPR, and Fox News, and she has been cited by The New York Times, Forbes, The Washington Post, Politico, and others.

Angela holds a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Public Policy and Management from the Ohio State University. She raises registered Katahdin sheep on her family’s 200-year-old farm in Northwest Ohio.

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Christian Lovell

Senior Director of Programs

Christian Lovell draws on his deep experience in production agriculture and food policy as Farm Action Fund’s Senior Director of Programs. In this role, he provides leadership and direction for the organization’s growing program portfolio to advance a more just food system.
 
Previously, Christian spent nearly a decade working on federal agricultural policy in Washington, DC, and served as Legislative Director to U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro during her time as Chair of the House Committee on Appropriations. He also held other roles at the National Governors Association, The World Bank, and Informa Economics Group. 
 
Christian is a native of West Central Illinois where he now resides and manages his family’s Registered Hereford cattle herd. He passionately advocates for regenerative grazing and is actively involved in the Illinois Grazing Lands Coalition.
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Nerma Moore, Ph.D.

Senior Development Director

Having watched her grandfather operate and manage his farm until he was 93 years old in a rural town in Mississippi, and her dad raise chickens and grow fruit trees, Nerma’s connection to and empathy towards farmers drives her commitment to ensure they receive fair and equitable treatment.

As Farm Action Fund’s Senior Development Director, Nerma serves on the executive team, and her contributions focus on three primary activities. Nerma cultivates long–term relationships with individuals and foundations by securing philanthropic support to help advance the organization’s programs and projects, develops, and implements comprehensive fundraising plans to meet revenue goals, and manages the systematic operational and administrative development processes to guarantee that all money raised is used for the intended purposes.

Nerma uses the 13+ years of combined experiences gained and results she accomplished through her varied roles in the non–profit, real estate, start–up, communications, and higher education sectors to guide her work.

Nerma has earned degrees in leadership, administration, communications, and business and received various donations to help her pursue her college dreams. So, she personally knows the big impact and ripple effect of donor dollars and appreciates the generosity of people who donate their time or money to help those in need.

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Dee Laninga

Senior Writer and Content Creator

Dee joined the Farm Action Fund team to raise awareness about the organization’s core issues and drive engagement toward equitable, sustainable, and family farm-centered solutions.

Dee draws from her background in strategic communications, creative writing, and design to craft resonant narratives and compelling graphics to advance an array of advocacy initiatives. Her past work in such diverse sectors as clean energy, antihunger, and agriculture inform her broad perspective.

A full-time digital nomad since 2019, Dee spends her spare time hiking in the phenomenal state and national parks this country has to offer. She holds a BA from Grand Valley State University and an MFA from Washington University in St Louis.

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Sarah Carden

Senior Policy Advocate

Sarah Carden joined Farm Action Fund to raise awareness and advocate for policies that meaningfully reform the nation’s food and agriculture system.

Sarah holds a B.A. in Evolutionary Biology from Harvard University. She has been working on food system reforms for over a decade and brings expertise in local food systems and distribution networks, agriculture, non-profit development, and food entrepreneurship. Sarah has also worked as an organizer on two presidential campaigns and one congressional campaign.

Sarah lives with her husband and their two young children on their organic vegetable farm.

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Jessica Cusworth

Communications Manager

As Communications Manager, Jessica focuses on furthering engagement with the organization’s work to create a fair and sustainable food and agriculture system.

Jessica holds a B.A. in Global Environmental Studies and an M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from Clark University. She brings a wide range of experience from her past work in land conservation, where she focused on wildlife habitat restoration, environmental monitoring, volunteer management, and engaging communities in land stewardship. She’s cultivated skills in digital communications, program development, and creative storytelling through her experience working in the nonprofit world.

Jessica spends her free time tending to her urban vegetable garden, cooking new recipes, and working on her photography skills.

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Webster Davis

Senior Policy Advisor

Webster Davis is owner of Triple D Produce, located two miles west of Auxvasse, Missouri. He has worked with various FFA groups to secure vegetable starts and encourage youth to pursue food production as an occupation. He worked with Lincoln University as a mentor for the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS). He hosted an intern through Lincoln University and has served on the planning committees for Minority and Limited Resources Farmers and Ranchers Conferences.

Webster is a proud Ambassador for the Missouri AgrAbility program which is dedicated to helping farmers and ranchers return to their passions and livelihoods after an accident.

Webster is a veteran having turned 18 years old in U.S. Marine Corps boot camp and serving almost 23 years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and Missouri Army National Guard; he is now a member of the Farmer Veteran Coalition. He conceived and is Chairman of the State of Missouri NAACP Agriculture Committee, whose goal is to increase awareness of agriculture issues and opportunities.

Webster is the treasurer of the Union Local where he works at the Callaway Nuclear Plant, and is proudly serving as the Secretary for the State of Missouri NAACP Conferences. In this role he is fulfilling the important work of ensuring that books and papers are ready for the next generation.

Board of Directors

Joe Maxwell headshot
Joe Maxwell

President

Joe Maxwell focuses his work on a vision of an inclusive U.S. economy that works for all people, providing them an equitable opportunity to share in the prosperity they help build, rather than an economy that works for just a handful of individuals and multi-national corporations.

Joe has held key positions in both political and initiative petition campaigns. During the last election cycle, he assisted Presidential, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives candidates in developing their antitrust, agriculture, and food policy positions.

Joe holds degrees in agriculture economics and law from the University of Missouri. He served as a Missouri state legislator, as Missouri’s Lieutenant Governor, and is retired from the Army National Guard, where he served as a First Sergeant in the Field Artillery. 

Joe’s work has been profiled by Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Politico, and The Nation. He has been cited by CNN, The New York Times, NPR, USA Today, and the Washington Post, among others.

Joe and his brother, Steve, are Missouri family farmers. 

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Lillian Salerno

Chair

Lillian has over two decades of experience in leading organizations and public interest advocacy. She has led multi-state organization and advocacy efforts on issues surrounding entrepreneurship, antitrust enforcement, economic development in rural areas, and healthcare. 

Lillian served six years as a subcabinet official for the Obama administration as Deputy Undersecretary for the United States Department of Agriculture. Lillian served as a founding member of the White House Rural Council and has been an unwavering voice for the state of rural Americans and small farmers and their specific concerns regarding innovation and entrepreneurship/business start-ups and access to capital and consolidation especially for new and beginning farmers. Lillian oversaw a federal budget of 30 billion dollars and oversaw over 5000 federal employees and is known for working both sides of the aisle to get things done for those without a voice in this America.

Lillian’s experience “in the trenches” working for stakeholders and alongside government for over twenty years has given her an in-depth understanding of the crucial role advocacy plays in assuring government has the information necessary to make fact based decisions. She recognizes the political importance of identifying issues and creating strong relationships and teams to effect change. Lillian is an experienced coalition builder, which she attributes to her growing up in rural Texas as one of nine children. Lillian holds a B. A. degree in Latin American studies from the University of Texas at Austin, an M. A. in Criminal Justice from the University of North Texas, and a J. D. degree from Southern Methodist University.

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Barry Lynn

Barry Lynn directs the Open Markets Institute. Previously, he spent 15 years at the New America Foundation researching and writing about monopoly power. He is author of Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction  (Wiley 2010) and  End of the Line: The Rise and Coming Fall of the Global Corporation  (Doubleday 2005).

Lynn’s writings on the political and economic effects of the extreme consolidation of power in the United States have influenced the thinking of policymakers and antitrust professionals on both sides of the Atlantic. His work has been profiled on CBS and in the New York Times, and his articles have appeared in publications including  Harper’s, the Financial Times, Harvard Business Review,  and  Foreign Policy. He has appeared on CBS, PBS, CNN, the BBC, NPR, MSNBC, C-Span, and the Christian Broadcasting Network, among others. Prior to joining New America, Lynn was executive editor of Global Business Magazine  for seven years, and worked as a correspondent in Peru, Venezuela, and the Caribbean for the  Associated Press  and  Agence France Presse.

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Wes Shoemyer

Wes Shoemyer is a family farmer in Northeast Missouri where he operates a diversified farm with his father, son, and wife. Wes is a former member of the Missouri House of Representatives and Missouri State Senate. He has served on the board of the National Farmers Organization and Missouri’s Food for America. Wes is also a founding member of the Institute for Rural America. 

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Anim Steel

Anim Steel is a co-founder and past executive director of the Real Food Generation, which harnesses the power of youth and universities to build a fair and sustainable food system (programs include the Real Food Challenge, the Real Meals Campaign, and Uprooted & Rising).

Prior to Real Food Generation, Anim led national initiatives at The Food Project in Boston, consulted with Economic Development Assistance Consortium, and developed employment training programs at the Bowery Residents Committee. 

Anim holds a B.A. in Astrophysics and History from Williams College and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.  

He is the recipient of a James Beard Leadership Award and received an Echoing Green award for social entrepreneurship. Born in Ghana, Anim grew up in West Africa and Washington, D.C.