2023 NH Agricultural Policy Forum


Wednesday, December 13, 2023

In preparation for the 2024 legislative session, we heard from New Hampshire’s most well-informed food policy minds at the 2023 NH Agricultural Policy Forum. Each speaker provided insights on the state level legislation being considered this session, as well as insight into what individuals, communities, organizations, and businesses can do to get involved in the legislative process and support positive change in our food system. 

The forum began with a success story from the 2023 legislative session—a policy change that was passed through a bipartisan effort in support of funding agricultural land preservation in New Hampshire.

The 2023 NH Agricultural Policy Forum was hosted and supported by the Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition, the NH Food Alliance, and the Carsey School of Public Policy at UNH, as part of their monthly Coffee & Conversations series.

Watch the Video

View the Presentation Slides

Each speaker provided insights on the state level legislation being considered this session, as well as insight into what individuals, communities, organizations, and businesses can do to get involved in the legislative process and support positive change in our food system. View the presentation slides here.

About the Speakers

Julie Davenson i front of brown background.

Julie Davenson, NOFA-NH. Julie is a Farm Finance Specialist with The Soil Carbon Initiative working with farmers across the country who are transitioning to organic and regenerative systems. She is currently the Board President of NOFA NH, on Regenerate America's Campaign's National Steering Committee, and a core leader of the Northeast Healthy Soil Network. She is an accredited Educator with the Savory Institute and EOV Verifier. She also writes industry articles including a recently published feature story in U.S Acres. Her agriculture experience includes working with organic dairy systems, market gardens, and grass-fed livestock producers. She lives in Nelson, NH with her family where they tend to a small herd of goats and chickens and grow a variety of fruits and vegetables.

 

Brodie Deshaies in front of trees.

Brodie Deshaies, NH Hunger Solutions. Brodie is the Communications & Policy Manager for NH Hunger Solutions. He works daily with NH Food Alliance's directors, staff, and stakeholders to meet their communication needs and goals. He also manages NH Hunger Solutions’ public policy advocacy and outreach. 

Brodie’s previous experience includes working as a political consultant and project manager, coordinating political campaigns, and serving as a NH State Representative. His work in the state legislature included advocating for expanded access to healthy meals. He graduated from Saint Anselm College in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in History and English and a minor in Philosophy. 

In his free time, Brodie serves on the Governor Wentworth Regional School Board and the Wolfeboro Library Board of Trustees. He is also the Wolfeboro Public Library’s Treasurer. Brodie enjoys watching movies, especially Westerns, and volunteering at his churches, St. Katharine Drexel Parish and the Wolfeboro Centre Community Church. Brodie is engaged to his fianceé Grace, and they have two black cats named Marlow and Mason (named after NH towns starting with the letter “M”). He previously had a black cat named Meredith.

Shawn Jasper in front of wood background with green shirt.

Commissioner Shawn Jasper, NH Department of NH Agriculture, Markets and Food. Shawn was sworn in by Governor Chris Sununu on December 11, 2017, as the 7th Commissioner of Agriculture for the State of New Hampshire. Shawn’s agriculture roots are in the poultry industry where he grew up and worked in the prominent family business, Jasper Poultry Farms, begun by his grandparents and continued by his parents. The farm at one point was the third largest poultry operation in New Hampshire during a time when poultry was big business in the state. Shawn operated the farm from 1979-83 before he transitioned the business to property management and residential storage.

Shawn is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire with an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration. He joined the agricultural fraternity, Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR), while a student and has maintained his agricultural connection by serving as advisor to Alpha Gamma Rho on the University of New Hampshire campus, since 1988. He has travelled with undergraduate members to every AGR National Convention since 1984.

Shawn was a selectman in the town of Hudson for 17 years. He has also served for many years as a member of the Town Budget Committee. He has served 12 terms in the New Hampshire House of Representatives since his first election in 1984. He was elected Speaker of the House in 2014, a post he held until his resignation in 2017, to become Commissioner of Agriculture.

Rob Johnson, NH Farm Bureau. Rob Johnson is Policy Director for the NH Farm Bureau Federation and a farmer in Pittsfield, NH.

Jeremy Lougee with black vest.

Jeremy Lougee, Southeast Land Trust. Jeremy works for the Southeast Land Trust of NH (SELT) as a Senior Conservation & Farmland Project Manager. In addition to conservation easement and land acquisitions, Jeremy works with local farmers to increase access and affordability of farmland across SELT’s service area (Rockingham & Strafford counties). Jeremy grew up on the Huckins Farm in New Hampton – a small dairy farm that sells a variety of products including raw milk, yogurts, and cheeses. As a graduate student at UNH, he was one of the first to milk cows at the UNH Organic Dairy Farm and wrote a thesis entitled “Sustaining Agriculture in the Granite State: A Citizen’s Guide to Restoring Our Local Foods, Farms, and Independence.”

Stacey Purslow in front of grey background.

Stacey Purslow, NH Farm to School. Stacey is the Program Coordinator for the NH Farm to School Program. She started the position in June 2009. She holds a culinary degree, a BFA in photography from the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC, is a graduate of UNH’s Thompson School, and recently completed a master’s degree in community development through the Carsey School of Public Policy, also at UNH. In her farm to school role, she develops programming, provides technical assistance to schools and farmers, builds networks, collaborates in other state and regional farm and food related projects, facilitates the NH School and Youth Garden network, and works on farm to school policy.

Rob Werner in front of white background with suit.

Rob Werner, League of Conservation Voters. Rob is the New Hampshire State Director for the League of Conservation Voters, a national advocacy organization that works to turn environmental values into national, state, and local priorities. Rob formerly served as the National Field Director of Americans for Campaign Reform. A public policy analyst and advocate, Rob has organized successful advocacy and legislative campaigns for the American Heart Association, Smoke-Free NH Alliance, and the American Cancer Society. Rob has extensive experience in the health care sector, working in the private, government, and non-profit areas.