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NMPF Adds Bernstein, Promotes Rice

August 4, 2020

NMPF made two crucial staff moves in July, adding its first-ever communications director for the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program and promoting a key staff member in trade policy.

Leighona Bernstein comes to the FARM team from CropLife International, the global trade association of the plant science industry, to direct FARM communications efforts to both internal and external stakeholders. Key to that mission will be weaving the stories of dairy producers into larger industry narratives, as well as providing timely and important information on FARM’s efforts to ensure best practices across dairy farms nationwide.

“Leighona brings the perfect mix of member-focused communications with external outreach experience,” said Emily Yeiser-Stepp, NMPF’s vice president for FARM and the director of the program. “The FARM Program looks forward to her impact in developing further value for all of our stakeholders.”

Leighona’s focus on agriculture began during her years as a nationally competitive equestrian at Oklahoma State University. After graduation she worked at Oklahoma Today magazine before joining CropLife International. She began at NMPF, which administers the FARM program, on July 13.

Also this month, NMPF promoted Tony Rice, who joined NMPF as its Trade Policy Coordinator in June 2019, to Trade Policy Manager.

Rice comes from a dairy farm family in Pennsylvania. He’s been an integral part of the trade team since joining NMPF, playing a crucial role in a range of trade policy activities from developing more robust trade-data analysis to supporting the creation of materials that inform the dairy industry about trade policy on topics such as geographical indications and the USMCA trade agreement.

“Tony has jumped into our wide swath of activities on trade policy topics with both feet, playing a key role in allowing NMPF take on an even more active role on the key trade issues so important to shaping returns to dairy farmers. He’s efficiently and quite effectively contributed to our work on beneficial trade agreements, trade data analysis and communicating to our members and the wide industry information they need to know about the policy landscape,” said Shawna Morris.

In his new role, he will take on a broader role in managing projects supporting U.S. efforts to boost U.S. dairy exports and improve market access through leveling the playing field.