New Staff November 2008
New Hampshire Welcomes New Staff
November 9, 2008
New Hampshire NRCS continues to grow, adding three new positions across the
state and filling an important leadership role.
Assistant State Conservationist – Operations
Rick returns to New Hampshire after serving as the State Resource
Conservationist for Ohio since 2005. Other positions with SCS/NRCS include
District Conservationist in three of New Hampshire’s counties (Carroll,
Rockingham, and Strafford); and as a Soil Conservationist in two Maine counties
(Aroostook and Penobscot). He has also served on several National Headquarters
details including the National Efficiency Team, East Region Technology
Workgroup, 2009 Farm Bill Team, and a 60-day detail on the Programs Staff.
Rick grew up in Eastern Maine and graduated from the University of Maine with a
B.S. in Forestry. His personal interests include coaching sports, hiking,
movies, travel, reading, and the outdoors. Rick and his wife, Denise, have two
daughters, Erika and Nicole.
grew up in rural central Maine. She attended the University of Maine where she
studied Plant Science and later completed an M.S. degree in Soil Science. She
left Maine to take a position with the ATTRA Program which was located in
northwest Arkansas. ATTRA at that time was a national center for information on
alternative and sustainable agriculture. She worked as a technical specialist,
gathering information and responding to farmers and others in agriculture who
were seeking information on alternative crops, organic agriculture practices,
sustainable nutrient management, recycling and composting as well as questions
on grassed-based livestock systems, and organic dairy production, as well as
just about every other inquiry in between these subjects. Several years later,
Donna also began her other career passion – dairy farming and cheesemaking.
She owned and operated a 45 head commercial goat dairy and cheesemaking
operation, obtaining 4 national product awards for her cheeses. In 2004, she
decided to return back to the Northeast to be closer to family and her roots.
Upon her return she first worked as a contract organic dairy farm inspector all
over the state of Maine for Maine’s organic certifying agent, MOFGA
Certification Services. Later she was hired to work on their staff as Associate
Director of Livestock Certification, responsible for Maine’s organic dairy
compliance program. She has worked previously with NRCS Soil Survey as a soil
scientist, mapping in the North Maine Woods region of Aroostook County working
out of the Presque Isle, Maine office.
Donna is absolutely delighted to be located in the
Woodsville, New Hampshire NRCS office in her new position as a Soil
Conservationist. Grafton County is a spectacularly beautiful area and she has
enjoyed meeting the farming community. It is the perfect place to indulge all
of her outdoor interests which include cycling, X-country skiing, hiking, and
(with a lot more practice) kayaking. Domestically, she hopes to have a small
farm again but for now is happy with her new cat companion.
is a New Hampshire native and is very happy to return to his home state to work
with the NRCS. Brandon earned a Bachelors of Science in Horticulture & Agronomy
from the University of New Hampshire in 1997. As an undergraduate student, he
also worked at the UNH Woodman Horticultural farm where he helped maintain fruit
and vegetable plots for both field and high tunnel production research. When he
finished his degree, Brandon was hired by Alan Eaton as an integrated pest
management field technician with UNH Cooperative Extension. He scouted for
insect pests of horticultural and agronomic crops, helped introduce and monitor
beneficial insects, and conducted weed surveys.
After working with Alan Eaton, Brandon spent four years as
a research technician for Paul Fisher at the UNH greenhouses. He was supported
by a sustainable horticulture endowment to research methods for biological
control of insect and disease pests, and to develop nutrient management programs
and micro-irrigation systems for greenhouse crops. While he was employed as a
research technician, Brandon also earned a Masters of Science in Plant Biology.
His thesis focused on pH management and micronutrient nutrition of
container-grown greenhouse crops.
Brandon left NH in 2002 to begin a Ph.D. with Lailiang
Cheng at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. His dissertation research dealt with
the impact of soil pH and iron deficiency on chlorosis, photosynthesis, and the
antioxidant system of ‘Concord’ grapevines. During his research he found that
yellow (or chlorotic) leaves suffering from iron deficiency could actually
contain more total iron than healthy green leaves. This situation makes
diagnosis of actual iron deficiency quite difficult, and to help overcome this
problem, he developed a method to extract bio-available iron from leaves.
Brandon completed his doctorate in 2006.
Most recently, Brandon was a research assistant professor
of organic and alternative crop production at the University of Tennessee in
Knoxville. He established and began transitioning a 21-acre research farm to
certified organic production. Brandon’s research at the University of TN
focused on cover crop management, conservation farming, and season extension.
He was involved with reduced-till/no-till vegetable and agronomic crop
production, and developed a passion for using cover crops to improve soil
fertility, enhance beneficial insect populations, and manage weeds.
Brandon is truly excited about cover crops and conservation
farming and looks forward to working with farmers, educators, and NRCS staff in
New Hampshire. He and his dog Cassidy live in Rye (a
fittingly named town for a cover crop enthusiast).
hails from Spokane, Washington. He attended Washington State University with
degrees in Civil Engineering and Spanish. He is excited to be in the Northeast
and looks forward to working with the NRCS engineering staff in New Hampshire.
In his spare time, Philip enjoys a variety of outdoor activities including
mountain biking, skiing, and sports in general.
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