FFI/SBDC Farm Outreach Specialist
Andy loves to get to know his clients in-depth and provide critical consulting in areas key to farm financial and organizational health. Andy has expertise in strategic farm business and marketing planning, farm financial statements and projections, agricultural credit and loan structure, loan guarantees and credit enhancements, farm succession and intergenerational transition, and grantsmanship.
Before joining FFI, Andy worked as an Agriculture and Commercial Loan Officer at German American State Bank, where he had the opportunity to provide commercial credit to scores of local farmers and family businesses in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Andy worked with numerous conventional dairy and row crop farmers but also placed special emphasis on building his loan portfolio with more unconventional farmers pursuing alternative enterprises for niche markets, ranging from grass-fed meats to farmstead cheese to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Prior to his time at the bank, Andy spent a decade working in Extension for Iowa State University and the University of Illinois, focusing his educational programming on the business and marketing side of small farms, local foods, and sustainable agriculture. He worked with beginning farmers in the startup phase, on through to long-established farmers looking to transition the family farm business to the next generation. Concurrently, Andy also held the role of state coordinator for North Central SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education), where he gained experience in grantsmanship and professional development for outreach educators in sustainable ag.
Andy formed his work ethic and his land ethic growing up on a dairy farm in northernmost Illinois. He learned about farming as a way to make both a living and a lifestyle and has strong memories of milking Holsteins in a stanchion barn, putting up hay and straw in small square bales, and tearing out old barbed wire fence. Andy returned to his roots in late 2013, relocating his young family to the acreage where his grandparents retired, just over the hill from the home farm. Andy and his wife grew their backyard chicken hobby into a free-range egg business, now selling brown eggs to local retail stores, restaurants, and farmers markets.
Outside of business hours, you can find Andy washing and packing eggs, building or fixing something on the farm, or volunteering his time with one of several area non-profits working in sustainable and alternative agriculture. Andy and his wife also have three school-age daughters.
- Bachelors in Anthropology and Environmental Science, University of Notre Dame
- Masters in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois
- Master of Business Administration, Iowa State University