NMPAN People


Lauren Gwin, Director
Lauren co-founded NMPAN with Arion Thiboumery in 2007. Lauren is the Associate Director of Oregon State University’s Center for Small Farms and Community Food Systems, Extension Food Systems Specialist, and an Assistant Professor at OSU. Her extension and research focus on policy and regulations, small-scale meat and poultry processing, and distribution and marketing within local and regional food systems.
Email: lauren.gwin[at]oregonstate.edu

Rebecca Thistlethwaite, Program Manager
Rebecca develops educational content related to local and regional meat processing issues and coordinates outreach and educational activities for NMPAN.  She has a master’s degree in International Agricultural Development from the University of California – Davis and was formerly co-owner of TLC Ranch, a pastured poultry and livestock enterprise in California. She is also author of two books on farming- Farms With a Future: Creating and Growing a Sustainable Farm Business (2012) and The New Livestock Farmer: The Business of Raising and Selling Ethical Meat (2015)
Email: thistler[at]oregonstate.edu

Advisory Board

(Listed alphabetically by name)

Sarah Blacklin and Casey McKissick: Sarah is the Director of NC Choices and the Carolina Meat Institute. Casey is a consultant to NC Choices and owns Foothills Farm and Butchery. NC Choices is a Center for Environmental Farming Systems’ (CEFS) initiative that advances local and niche meat supply chains in North Carolina by providing networking opportunities, educational programming, and technical assistance for producers, meat processors, buyers and food professionals. CEFS is a partnership of NC State University, NC A&T State University and the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Email: sarah[at]ncchoices.com, casey[at]ncchoices.com.

Joseph Cordray is the Extension meat specialist at Iowa State University (ISU) and has over 40 years experience in all facets of the meat industry. He is responsible for the ISU series of sausage and processed meat short courses. He works extensively with Iowa meat processors on food safety training and regulatory compliance. Email: jcordray[at]iastate.edu; Phone: (515) 294-4266

Jennifer Curtis has worked in the field of sustainable agriculture and food systems for the past 20 years.  As the first director of NC Choices (see Casey McKissick bio below), she created and now runs Firsthand Foods, a business that aggregates, distributes, and markets local, pasture-raised meats. Email: jennifer[at]ncchoices.com; Phone: (919) 967-0014

Jonathan Campbell is Extension Meat Specialist and Assistant Professor at Pennsylvania State University. He works with small processors in the northeast U.S. His Ph.D. is from Iowa State University. Email: jac69[at]psu.edu; Phone: (814) 867-2880.

Bruce Dunlop is a livestock producer and member of Island Grown Farmers Cooperative, in Washington state. He built the first USDA-inspected mobile slaughter unit for red meat species and has consulted on many others. Previously, he was a chemical engineer in the bio-ag and food industries. He farms on Lopez Island. Email: bruce[at]lopezislandfarm.com; Phone: (360) 468-4620

Anne Fanatico is assistant professor of sustainable development at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. She has nearly two decades of experience researching small/mid-scale poultry production and processing; she developed farmer-friendly information on these topics at the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT)/ATTRA project, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. Email: fanaticoac[at]appstate.edu; Phone: (828) 262 6813

Sam Fuller is Technical Assistance Program Administrator for Northeast Organic Farming Association – Vermont. He co-coordinates Vermont’s Meat Processing Working Group. Email: sam[at]nofavt.org

Matthew LeRoux is an Agricultural Marketing Specialist with Cornell University Cooperative Extension.  He works with farmers on business development, direct and wholesale marketing, market channel selection and cost analysis, marketing and processing regulations, and agritourism. Email: mnl28[at]cornell.edu

Chelsea Bardot Lewis is a Senior Agricultural Development Coordinator with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. She coordinates the Vermont Meat Processing Task Force, and facilitates value chain partnership between meat producers, processors and marketers in Vermont and New England. Her master’s thesis, “A capacity assessment of New England’s large animal slaughter facilities as relative to meat production for the regional food system,” was published in 2011. She and her husband Nate own Moonlight Farm in Waterbury, Vermont, an organic fruit and garlic operation. Email: Chelsea.Lewis[at]state.vt.us

Nick McCann is Iowa State University’s Food System Value Chain Coordinator in Northeast Iowa, with expertise in business planning, distribution, logistics, meat processing, and sustainable agriculture. He helps farmers with new product development, product aggregation and distribution, and accessing urban markets. Email: nemccann[at]iastate.edu

Keith Payne leads the Office of Outreach, Employee Education and Training, in the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Email: Keith.Payne[at]fsis.usda.gov; Phone: (202) 690-6522

Kathryn Quanbeck, is the former Program Manager for NMPAN.  She is also a former livestock economist for the USDA.  She is now based in Alaska and does agricultural and food systems consulting. She can be reached at kaquanbeck{at}gmail.com

Pam Saunders is the operations and quality manager for Organic Prairie, the meat subsidiary and brand of CROPP Cooperative/ Organic Valley, which is the largest organic farmer cooperative in the US. Organic Prairie manages relationships with about a dozen certified organic co-packers for beef, pork, chicken, and turkey processing, from harvest to ready-to-eat branded products. Email: pam.saunders[at]organicvalley.com; Phone: (608) 625-2666, ext.3260.

Jeff Schahczenski is a program specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology. He is an agricultural economist and has expertise in the economics and marketing of organic and grass-finished beef. Email: jeffs[at]ncat.org; Phone: (406) 494-4572

Arion Thiboumery is managing partner of Vermont Packinghouse, a new small meat processor in Vermont. Before that he was VP at Lorentz Meats, in Minnesota. He received his doctorate from Iowa State University in Sustainable Agriculture and Meat Science. Arion co-founded the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network.
Email: arion[at]lorentzmeats.com