The members of the 2017 Nevada Small Farm Conference Planning Committee provide essential local resources and contacts that ensure the conference reflects the richness and diversity of the local agricultural community. The committee is made up of farmers, ranchers, businesses, public and nonprofit organizations, and community members.

 Committee Members:

Heather_headshotHeather Emmons –  A native Nevadan, Heather is the state Public Affairs Officer for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Reno. For 17 years, her career has entailed planning and implementing community relations, public participation, public relations, employee relations and advertising for corporate, federal and nonprofit/education industries statewide in Nevada. She serves as the PR director for the Western Nevada Regional Science and Engineering Fair and is a member of the Public Relations Society of America.

Holly GatzkeHolly Gatzke – Holly is Cooperative Extension educator for Lincoln County.  Her areas of interest are developing programs for diversifying agriculture production in Lincoln County, servicing premium niche markets in Las Vegas, and works on economic and community development in Lincoln County. Holly has helped educate farmers on hoop house production and season extension practices. She is actively-involved in expanding value-added processing for Nevada’s producers.

Rob and Loni Holley 150Rob & Loni Holley – The Holley family has been farming in Dayton Valley since 1970.  They raise grass-fed beef and lamb, heritage pork, and USDA organic hay and vegetables.   Rob and Loni are both graduates of UNR and pleased to be involved with the Specialty Crop Institute, the Nevada Small Farm Conference, and Basin and Range Organics.  The Holleys can be contacted through holleyfamilyfarms.com

AshleyAshley Jeppson – Program Officer for the Nevada Department of Agriculture, Ashley received a BS degree in Rangeland Management and Animal Science from the University of Nevada, Reno.  Ashley started with the Nevada Department of Agriculture in 2010 as an Agriculture Inspector and is currently working with various programs including the Farm to School Grant, Good Agriculture Practices, Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, and Federal to State Marketing Improvement Program.

Rick Lattin2Rick Lattin – Rick  is co-owner of Lattin Farms, a five-generation family farm in Fallon. He sells at farmers markets and retail outlets, operates an on-farm roadside stand and commercial bakery, and is co-owner of Great Basin Basket, a 300-member CSA.  Rick is a small business development counselor for Churchill Economic Development Authority and founder of NevadaGrown, a nonprofit Nevada corporation working on behalf of Nevada farmers.


Ann Louhela pic r copyAnn Louhela – Chairperson of the planning committee, Ann is the project director for Western Nevada College Specialty Crop Institute. She has worked with local farmers and ranchers for more than a decade, including managing farmers markets. She is a board member of NevadaGrown and a member of the Washoe County Food Policy Council.


Diego headshotLozada – Born and raised in Northern Nevada, Diego has been immersed in small scale agriculture his entire life with over 17 years of experience. The farm that he is tenured at first began with
vegetables, meats and eggs but has since transitioned into specialty cut flowers. Diego has recently gained a degree in Agricultural Science from the University of Nevada, serves as a board member for NevadaGrown, and is a program manager at the Nevada Department of Agriculture.

Peggy McKie 150Peggy McKie – Peggy recently retired as an Agriculturist IV with the Nevada Department of Agriculture where she managed the Nursery, Export Certification, and Producer Certification programs.  Peggy graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a B.S. degree in Horticulture and started her career working for the San Luis Obispo County Agriculture Commissioner’s Office.  She has enjoyed working with Nevada’s organic and conventional farmers for nearly 20 years and is a founding member of the Nevada Small Farm Conference planning committee.

Jennifer Ott for web copyJennifer Ott – Jennifer is the Manager of the University of Nevada, Reno’s High Desert Farming Initiative. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin and Master’s degree in Business from the University of Nevada, Reno. Prior to living in Nevada, Jennifer worked in the California wine industry for ten years consulting on wine making processes and providing education to winemakers. The High Desert Farming Initiative is beginning their second year of operations.

mark williamsMark Williams – Mark is the Energy Coordinator for USDA Rural Development in Nevada where he is the primary contact for its energy programs including the Rural Energy for America Program.  He has worked for USDA for more than 20 years. Prior to coming to Rural Developed in 2010, Mark worked for the Farm Service Agency where he made and serviced loans to family farmers and ranchers.  Mark is a graduate of the University of California Santa Barbara and Santa Clara University.