2013 Speaker Biographies

Maxine Bell


Maxine T. Bell, Jerome, Idaho serves in the Idaho House of Representative from District 25 comprising Jerome and rural Twin Falls County. Mrs. Bell worked as an active farm partner on the family row-crop farm southeast of Jerome with her husband, Jack, until 1997, when the Bells retired from the day-to-day operation of the farm. They are parents to one son, Jeff, and three grandchildren.

Maxine worked as a librarian at the Jerome Jr. High School for nine years. She retired from the school in the spring of 1988 to run for the legislature, winning a seat held by a six-year incumbent. Representative Bell was appointed to the Agricultural Affairs Committee where she served as vice-chairman. She also served as a member of the Resources/Conservation Committee. In her second term she was appointed to the powerful House Appropriations Committee. She now serves as chairman of appropriations and Joint-Chairman of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC).

Other memberships in the Legislature include membership in EPSCoR, Chairman of the Attache Committee, a member of the ad hoc Energy committee, and Joint Legislative Oversight Committee (JLOC) which executes performance audits for state agencies.

Honors she has received include the Friend of Agriculture from the Farm Bureau in four terms, Ag All Star for all farm organizations each of the past eight years, a FFA Honorary Degree in 1991, Legislator of the Year by Idaho Association of Soil Conservation Districts in 1992 and 1996 and Co-operatives Friend in 1995. She received Advocate of the Year from the Idaho Career Development Association in 2002. In the fall of 2005 she was honored with the President’s Medallion at Idaho State University. IN 2006, Mrs. Bell was named Legislator of the Year by the Idaho Library Association, and in 2007 received the Idaho Professional Technical Education Distinguished Service Award.

Representative Bell was chosen to participate in a senior executive training program, Toll Fellows, sponsored for all three branches of government by Council of State Government. She was made a Henry Toll Fellow for outstanding achievement and service to state government, in the class of 2008.

Other activities included serving on the American Farm Bureau Board of Directors and vice-chairman of the Women from 1986 until 2004. In 1994 Mrs. Bell participated in a working trip to the Ukraine for the United States State Department Farmer to Farmer Program. She worked with host families to assist women with learning organizational skills, lobbying and business planning. International networking continued in 1995 when she conducted workshops for farm women in St. Petersburg. Mrs. Bell returned to Kharkow in 1997 and again to Odessa in November of 1999 to assist the Ukraine Women’s Councils. On returning to the United States, she assisted in a fun raising effort to build a cannery in Ukraine.

Representative Bell serves on the Executive Board of the Council of State Governments (CSG) the executive committee of CSG-West and is past chairman of Fiscal Affairs Committee for CSG-West and past chairman for both the Fiscal Affairs Committee and Rural Development COmmittee for the National COnference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

Celia Gould


Celia Gould was appointed Director of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and assumed her post on January 2, 2007.

Celia’s areas of emphasis at ISDA include enhancing the customer service structure of the agency through quality and uniformity; partnering with Idaho producers to showcase and ensure quality products; retaining and training employees to ensure the highest quality of professional expertise; and administering the business of the Department efficiently and effectively.

In addition to serving as the ISDA Director, Celia is an owner/operator of a third generation farming and ranching operation, G+ Ranches of Buhl, Idaho.  The family-run operation produces commodities including wheat, corn, hay, Black Angus and Angus-Wagyu cattle.  Celia and her husband, Bruce Newcomb, also have a beef operation in the Declo area.

Director Gould is a graduate of Buhl High School and has her B.A. in Political Science from BoiseStateUniversity.  In December 2008, she earned her master’s degree in Public Administration.

Celia served sixteen years as a state legislator representing the western half of Twin FallsCounty.  During her tenure in the Idaho Legislature, Celia served on the Agricultural Affairs, Education, and Revenue and Taxation committees in addition to serving as the Chairman of the Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee. 

In 2012, Celia received an honorary State FFA Degree from the Idaho FFA Association. She was also inducted into the Southern Idaho Livestock Hall of Fame, along with her husband Bruce.

Bruce and Celia have five children and eight grandchildren.

Charlotte Eberlein

CharlotteCharlotte Eberlein is the University of Idaho Extension Director and Associate Dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Idaho.  Charlotte received her B.S. in Agronomy from Washington State University, her M.S. in Crop Science from Oregon State University, and her Ph.D. in Agronomy and Plant Genetics from the University of Minnesota.  Dr. Eberlein served as Extension Weed Specialist for North DakotaStateUniversity before joining the faculty at the University of Minnesota.  In her weed science position at the University of Minnesota, she conducted research on weed ecology and physiology, herbicide mode of action, and weed management systems for corn and small grains; she also taught graduate courses in weed biology and herbicide mode of action.  In 1989, she moved to a research and extension position with the University of Idaho where she focused on weed biology and physiology, and weed management in potato cropping systems.  Charlotte served as a District Director for Extension before being named UI Extension Director in 2003.  She is an active member of the Western Extension Directors Association (WEDA) and has served as both Secretary and Chair of WEDA.  She also serves on the national Extension Committee for Organization and Policy (ECOP), and is a member of the ECOP Executive Committee.  She is committed to helping Extension serve diverse audiences. 

Leah Clark

Leah_ClarkLeah joined the Marketing division of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture in May 2004 as a Marketing Consultant.  She now works full time for the Department managing the Idaho Preferred® program. Idaho Preferred® is a program designed to identify and promote Idaho food and agriculture products through advertising, public relations, retail and foodservice promotions and Farm to School programs. Prior to joining the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, Leah served as the Executive Director of the Idaho Beef Council for 15 years.  She has a Bachelors degree in Agribusiness Management from Arizona State University and a Master of Agriculture degree in Marketing and Finance from Oklahoma State University.

Diane Norton

Diane_NortonDiane Norton joined the Idaho Division of Tourism in 2007. Diane began her tourism career in 1998 with the development of a travel and e-commerce website for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial.  During the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial, Norton’s company licensed and merchandised commemorative souvenirs for the Bicentennial and facilitated public relations and marketing programs for Lewis and Clark Bicentennial events.  A native of North Dakota, Diane attended Brooks College in Long Beach, California and graduated in fashion merchandising.

Hillary Lowe

Hillary_LoweHillary Lowe owns and operates The Farmstead Corn Maze & Pumpkin Festival in Meridian with her husband Jim and three young children.  After graduating from Caldwell High School, Hillary attended Utah State University with an interest in marketing.  She and Jim started and operated corn mazes in Colorado and Utah from 2002 through 2005.  In 2006, they moved to Idaho and assumed ownership of Idaho’s Original Corn Maze– now The Farmstead.  Hillary is involved in all aspects of planning and operating The Farmstead.  She leads the marketing, staff hiring and scheduling, food service, ticket sales, and customer satisfaction efforts, all the while running a home and family.  Hillary is also active in her local elementary school PTA and church.  

Katlin Davis

Trade Specialist 
Katlin Davis is a graduate of the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho with a B.S. in Agriculture Industry Management and Communications with a Masters degree from the University of Phoenix in Business and Administration.  Before joining the Market Development Division team in July 2011, Katlin was the Program Manager at the Idaho Beef Council where she managed retail and foodservice promotions, handled public relations campaigns and handled producer communications. Katlin is a native of Idaho and grew up in Cascade, Idaho on a beef cattle ranch.  Katlin is excited to continue in a position supporting Idaho’s agriculture families and products. Katlin is responsible for international market development throughout China and Korea. In June 2012, Katlin was awarded the NASBITE International Global Business Professional Certification which recognizes a person’s knowledge and experience of international trade.

Barbara Huguenin

Barbara_HugueninA former financial advisor and owner of a financial education coaching company, Barbara and her husband retired to Emmett over five years.  Barbara’s enthusiastic energy and passion to help her small community and the Gem County businesses, prompted her to start the Gem County, Idaho Facebook page approximately three years ago.  That page now has over 2,200 “Likes”.  She also manages many other Facebook pages . . . too many to count.  Barbara was also the Emmett Farmers Market manager for a couple of years, and has given several presentations on social media, specifically Facebook, throughout the Treasure Valley.

Cinda Williams


Cinda Williams is a University of Idaho Extension Educator in LatahCounty with a focus in small farms and sustainable agriculture.   She has been involved in numerous regional research and education projects focused on small scale farm production and direct marketing since 1996.

She is on the Leadership Team for Cultivating Success: Small Farms Education Program and has taught the Cultivating Success course “Sustainable Small Acreage Farming and Ranching” to community members and UI students in Moscow and other Idaho communities since 2001.

Cinda was one of the founding members of Rural Roots, an organization supporting sustainable and family farms in Idaho and eastern Washington/Oregon.  She currently serves on the Rural Roots Board of Directors.

As the Idaho Coordinator for the Western Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program since1996, Cinda has also organized and conducted numerous professional development workshops, tours and conferences related to sustainable agriculture.

Connie Falk

Connie_FalkConstance L. Falk is the M. Eugene Sundt Honors Professor, 2011-2013, and professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business, where she has worked since 1988.  She has collaborated for many years on agricultural diversification research efforts on NMSU main campus and the Alcalde Sustainable Agriculture Science Center. Her work has focused on season extension, new crop development (predator friendly beef, greenhouse cucumbers), vegetable packing house feasibility (apples, potatoes, onions, mixed vegetables), cooperative development, and medicinal and natural dye plant production and marketing.

She co-founded the OASIS organic CSA project and class at NMSU, 2002-2006, funded by the Hispanic Serving Institutions grant program of the USDA.  In 2008, she published a comprehensive 5-year summary of the >500 varieties of organic vegetables, flowers, and herbs grown at OASIS. She also published a contributed a chapter to the book, Fields of Learning: The Student Farm Movement in North America, about the OASIS CSA farm. She serves as the student club advisor to the NMSU student sustainability club, OASIS, which was founded in 2008 by former OASIS class students and continues every year to host the city-wide Earth Day event and fall campus film series on sustainability.

In 2010, she edited a collection of essays by Fred L. Kirschenmann, Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays from a Farmer Philosopher. Kirschenmann is the distinguished fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and president of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.

Besides the organic OASIS class, which was an Honors College class, she has taught honors classes in world food problems, urban agriculture, and climate change. She continues to teach financial feasibility analysis at the undergraduate level, and has taught economic development at the senior, masters, and doctoral level, with an emphasis on sustainable economic development. Since the mid-1990s, she has taken students in a spring break study tour class to Latin America, including two trips to Nicaragua, three to Costa Rica, three to Mexico, and one each to El Salvador, Honduras, and Puerto Rico.

In the summer of 2012, she became a Climate Leader, in the Climate Reality Project, and now gives presentations about climate change science, impacts, policy, and mitigation to public and educational groups.  Her senior-level class on climate change in spring 2013 will include student presentations on climate change to two sections of high school science classes in Las Cruces.

Since the 1990s, Connie has been involved in a number of consulting projects, studying the feasibility of new business opportunities.  She has studied the financial feasibility of goat cheese manufacturing in Colorado, wool bedding for lamb producers in New Mexico, turkey processing for turkey growers in Virginia, vegetable packing and meat sales in Mississippi, Longhorn beef marketing in the Southwest, and meat packing in Colorado and New Mexico. Connie served as a small business volunteer in the Peace Corps in Honduras in the early 1980s.

Beth Sant

Beth Sant has been involved with Idaho Agriculture in the Magic Valley, as a Farm Loan Officer for 14 years.  She recently became the Manager of the Farm Loan Team located in the Jerome Farm Service Agency, administering both direct and guaranteed loans in Twin Falls, Jerome, Gooding, Lincoln, Camas, and Blaine Counties.  Beth’s favorite part of her job is working with Idaho’s Farmers, Ranchers, and Dairymen. 

Other Speakers

Arlie Sommer, Idaho’s Bounty

Jessica Davis, FSA

Katie Dyer, Northwest Farm Credit Services

Steve Schuyler, NRCS

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