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Agriculture is a family business. Roles and responsibilities of that business evolve and change throughout the seasons. It’s bittersweet to announce that Elyssa McFarland, Development Director, is leaving the Soil Health Partnership staff to manage her family’s farm in southeast Iowa. Elyssa’s last day with SHP is March 19th.

Elyssa joined SHP in 2015 as a Field Manager for Iowa and then also Missouri. She was promoted to Key Relationships Director in 2017 and then Development Director in 2018.

“From growing up on the farm to a classroom at ISU to a lab bench in Madison, Wisconsin, I always knew that there was more to managing soils on the farm than fertilizer prescriptions and conservation plans,” said Elyssa. “However, I did not know until I joined SHP in 2015 that this knowledge could be measurable, actionable, and communicated.”

Elyssa’s love and passion for soil health are evident. Whether enrolling over 20 farmers in Iowa and Missouri, leading a breakout session or panel discussion, or hosting over 50 engagement events, Elyssa was dedicated to building the SHP community.

“Elyssa gave a wealth of knowledge and desire to improving how SHP interacts with our soils data. She always had a grounded perspective of making sure what we do is relatable to growers, whether it is a new soil sampling procedure or partnership,” said Field Team Director Jack Cornell. “Elyssa was a person that you could feed off her passion and energy towards improving soil health and how it relates to farm economics.”

“It is not often that we get to lead teams with exceptional people, and I was able to experience that by working with Elyssa. She leads with her passion and her expertise. She perpetually looked to improve our work for the farmers and challenged us to see better solutions. She will be quite missed by us but agriculture is lucky to have an individual like her,” shared Executive Director, Shefali Mehta.

True to her character, Elyssa will quickly remind everyone she will continue to work closely with the soil in her new role and she is only a phone call away.

“I have learned so much through this program and will miss each of the farmers, team members, and partners so much. Please know that I am always happy to chat about what is happening on your farms and would love to hear from you from time to time,” Elyssa said.

“And if you are ever in SE Iowa, please feel free to text or call. It would be great to have you visit the farm!”

Please join us in thanking Elyssa for her service to SHP. She will be missed, but we look forward to working with her in this new capacity.