ALBANY — We are pleased to announce that Jessica Ziehm, LEAD Class 10, will be the seventh recipient of the Empire State Food and Agricultural Leadership Institute’s Outstanding Alumni Award (OAA). This award was established to recognize the outstanding leadership our graduates provide to the LEAD New York Program, their local communities, and the food, agriculture and natural resource industries.
With nearly 500 alumni, the selection committee’s task was especially difficult as so many of our graduates have made significant contributions to our industry and communities throughout the Northeast. Personal testimonials spoke volumes about the leadership style of this year’s recipient: “Jessica embodies all that this award seeks to recognize. She has served the LEAD New York program through service on our board and as a frequent speaker in our program. She is an active member of her community, serving on her regional food bank board, among other volunteer activities. And in her role as Executive Director of NYAAC, she has had a tremendous, positive impact on our industry” said Larry Van De Valk, Executive Director of the program.
A graduate of SUNY Cobleskill, Virginia Tech and LEAD NY Class 10, Ziehm currently serves as the executive director of the New York Animal Agriculture Coalition (NYAAC), a farmer founded and funded organization whose mission is to enhance the public’s understanding of and appreciation for animal agriculture by fostering a dialogue with consumers, engagement with farmers and cooperation among members of the industry.