ESMC Hires Four Staff for Policy, Research and Project Focus
The new positions bring added firepower to what will soon be the largest effort to compensate farmers and ranchers for agricultural practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase soil health, and improve the quantity and quality of water.
ESMC members include more than 60 major companies and associations such as The Nature Conservancy, General Mills, Archer Daniels Midland and Danone.
“We are excited to welcome these four sustainability professionals to our team,” ESMC Executive Director Debbie Reed said. “Andrew Lentz, Amanda Raster, Stacy Cushenbery and Neville Millar share deep experience in managing sustainable agriculture initiatives as well as the commitment to make a difference in agriculture. Farmers and ranchers across the USA want not just to do well, but to do better for the environment. Andrew, Amanda, Stacey and Neville will help drive that change.”
Andrew Lentz –
ESMC Policy Director
Andrew Lentz serves as ESMC’s Policy Director developing the consortium’s strategic national policy plan to support and align with ESMC’s mission, vision, and national program buildout. Andrew has more than a decade of experience in the nation’s capital, serving in roles in the public and private sectors, including at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Andrew came to ESMC from Deloitte where he served as a Senior Lead in the firm’s Policy & Government Relations office. Prior to his work at Deloitte, Andrew spent over seven years at FAS where he supported international agricultural capacity building and development projects in Iraq, Afghanistan, and throughout Africa. He has also held positions in the U.S. House of Representatives and at a national political party.
Andrew brings knowledge of the legislative and political processes of developing public policy to ESMC and excels at stakeholder management, government relations, and corporate affairs. He earned an MBA and an MA in Government from Johns Hopkins University and received his bachelor’s in Political Science from Villanova University. Andrew was born and raised in downtown Chicago and currently lives in Washington, DC.
Amanda Raster –
ESMC/ESMRC Research Manager
Amanda Raster leads Working Group and Strike Team activities within ESMC’s research arm. She brings her fifteen years of experience in food systems and multi-stakeholder sustainable agriculture initiatives. In her previous role as Science Director at U.S. Farmers & Ranchers in Action, Raster led a comprehensive life cycle assessment harmonization project for major U.S. ag commodities and engaged farmers, ranchers, and supply chain partners around the science of sustainable food systems. Prior to joining USFRA, she worked for the Sustainability Consortium, where she developed environmental and social metrics for food and agriculture products sold at retail and explored opportunities to improve data flow across food supply chains. Raster also served as facilitator of a national effort to develop sustainability standards for U.S. agriculture through the Leonardo Academy.
Raster grew up on a dairy farm in northern Wisconsin. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for her undergraduate studies in Anthropology and Conservation Biology and her graduate studies in Agroecology. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Political Science and Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University.
Stacy Cushenbery – ESMC/ESMRC Project Manager
Stacy Cushenbery joins ESMC/ESMRC as an experienced agricultural planner focused on regenerative practices and community building. She grew up within a dairy community in Wisconsin and quickly fell in love with farming. After earning her Bachelor of Science in Anthropology focusing on food systems, she completed her farm training in organics at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy, Wisconsin. Having operated farms in the Midwest, she has demonstrated her ability to work within the farming community. Stacy previously worked as Sustainable Agriculture Consultant for Solutions in the Land, where she managed projects focused on nutrient reduction and helped guide farmers and stakeholders in agriculture to better environmental and economic outcomes. She previously worked with local and county governments to design agriculture plans that meet the community’s needs while preserving farmland. Her comprehensive and practical understanding of the steps necessary to implement conservation practices on farmland allows her to meet new challenges with practical guidance and empathy.
She currently lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children, where she finds joy in the outdoors, cooking, and traveling.
ESMC/ESMRC Project Manager
Neville Millar is the team lead for planning, coordination, implementation, and evaluation of cropland pilot projects. Millar has over 15 years’ experience conducting work in agricultural systems with multiple stakeholders investigating management practices that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase soil carbon storage.
Prior to joining ESMC, Millar was a Senior Research Associate and the Science Coordinator of the Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) site at the W. K. Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University. During his work there he investigated the impacts of nitrogen and cover crop management on nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from row-crop systems in the U.S.A. and Mexico and helped lead the implementation of carbon offset protocols for N2O mitigation at several carbon market organizations.
Millar earned his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from St. Andrews University in Scotland, a Masters in Applied Environmental Science from Wye College, University of London, and a Doctorate in Agriculture from Imperial College London. He is originally from the northernmost town in England, and now lives in Michigan where he enjoys similar variation in weather.
ESMC is a non-profit dedicated to scaling sustainable ecosystem services from agriculture. It is a public private partnership of the agricultural supply chain and value chain – including agricultural producer groups and co-ops, major corporate food and beverage companies, agribusiness, conservation NGO’s, ag tech companies, land grant universities, and others. Collectively, ESMC members are investing in and testing ESMC’s national scale market conceived and designed for agriculture.