PFU Board of Directors
HEIDI SECORD, President, Vegetable Farmer, NE
Heidi has over 20 years of farming experience and a degree in Business Management. After University, Heidi joined the Peace Corps and served for 3 years in Mali, West Africa. She owns and runs the Josie Porter Farm, a 150 member CSA and Buying Club with her husband Gary Bloss.
Heidi is currently on the board of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), a board member of the Pennsylvania State Council of Farm Organizations (PSCFO) and a board member of National Farmers Union (NFU). Heidi, an Oxfam "Sister on the Planet", brings her interest and experience in sustainable agriculture, policy work and organizational leadership to PFU...thinking globally and farming locally!
MICHAEL KOVACH, Vice President, Livestock Farmer, NW
Michael Kovach, with his wife Karen and daughter Amelia raises grassfed and finished Black Angus beef and lamb, as well as non-GMO fed, pasture/silvopasture-raised pork and poultry on The Walnut Hill Farm in Mercer County, PA. Approximately 95% of the farm's sales are direct-to-customer by way of their on-farm farmstand, which Karen manages. Michael has been active in Farmers Union since joining the PFU board in 2014, has attended numerous legislative Fly-Ins both in Washington DC and Harrisburg and had the honor of sitting on NFU's Policy Committee on 2016. In that capacity, he successfully introduced language to strengthen policy on both local/regional food and industrial hemp, and grew a great deal in his understanding of issues important to family farmers across the US. Michael is also PFU's representative on the PA Grazing Lands Coalition (PA GLC) board of directors. As a US Army veteran, he has represented PFU at various Farmer-Veteran functions, including a discussion panel at the PA Farm Show in 2017. A longtime enthusiastic member and supporter of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), he currently holds a seat on their Educational Advisory Committee. He is also a prolific public speaker on food and farming and has presented at events ranging from small clean-eating groups to TEDx Youngstown and the PASA stage at the Mother Earth News Fair. Farming on both sides of the nearby state line, Michael is also a member of Ohio Farmers Union.
MARLENE VAN ES, At Large
Marlene is the founder and principal attorney at Trellis Legal, LLC located in Pittsburgh. Her law practice serves small businesses and non profits, and specializes in food business and rural and urban agriculture legal needs, including Right to Farm Act, ACRE, nutritional labeling, food establishment/kitchen permitting, agritainment liability, farm leasing, purchase and sale contracts, etc. She has experience in agriculture and environmental advocacy including: on-farm research and crop production, working on nation-wide sustainable agriculture policy initiatives, and tackling environmental legal issues in Western Pennsylvania. Marlene also helped co-found a social entrepreneurship society, regularly presents on agricultural legal issues, is an active member of the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, and serves an alternate on the Allegheny County Health Department Food Safety Advisory Committee.
Mike Eby is happily married to his wife Lynette of twenty-six years, blessed with four God-fearing children ages 15 to 23. The Eby family lives on the seventh generation dairy farm milking 60 registered holsteins up until 2016 when they transitioned to grass-fed beef and crops. They also welcome guests from around the world to stay at their farm bed and breakfast which Lynette and the children manage. ebyfarmhomestead.com As a retired dairy farmer, Mike is heavily involved with his work in changing dairy policy as we know it today. His role with the National Dairy Producers Organization consist of Board chairman as well as the National spokesperson for the organization. Mike also serves as a director on the national Allied Milk promotion board, a USDA qualified .10 cwt checkoff organization. Mike's former role at WDAC 94.5fm radio allowed him access to all media which has played a huge part in God directing him where he is today