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Soil Health Program Key Staff

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John is standing in a suit in front of a blank wall.
John Miller, Program Manager

John was raised on a cattle ranch near Hotchkiss Colorado where he still lives with his wife and daughter. John led the Delta Conservation District's Irrigation Water Management Program for over a decade where he learned to design and troubleshoot various types of irrigation systems and gained expertise that he uses to promote efficient water usage and sustainable agricultural practices. In his role as the Soil Health Program Manager, John is enthusiastic about guiding the expansion of the State Soil Health Program, ensuring it continues to offer maximum education and assistance to Colorado's valued agriculture community.

Kristen stands, smiling, in front of a tree with red leaves
Kristen Boysen, ADCRO Managing Director

As the Managing Director of CDA’s Ag Drought and Climate Office, Kristen supports the resilience and stewardship of Colorado farmers and ranchers. She supports the Colorado Soil Health Program, CDA’s Energy Program, and works with other state and federal agencies, stakeholders, and producers to develop climate plans and programs. 

Cindy is standing on a path in front of yellow flowers
Cindy Lair, Conservation Division Deputy Director

Cindy Lair leads the Agricultural Drought and Climate Resilience Office (ADCRO), which includes the Soil Health Program, STAR Agricultural Ranking Framework, Agricultural Water Policy, and the Advancing Colorado’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ACRE3) programs. Within her duties she also oversees the Colorado State Conservation Board and serves on the Colorado Natural and Working Lands Working Group for the US Climate Alliance. Cindy graduated from Colorado State University in Natural Resources Management and is an alumna of the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Class of 2014. 

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John is standing on a dirt road with burnt trees and mountains in the background
John Rizza, Western Soil Health Specialist

John grew up in New England, then decided to pursue a career in natural resources at Colorado State University where he achieved a B.S. in Natural Resources Management with a minor in Forestry. After a few years working on the west coast, John was afforded a unique opportunity to work on a M.S. in Forestry from the University of Tennessee. He then spent a few years working in the inland northwest as a consulting forester helping private landowners manage their resources. For 8 years, John worked as the CSU Extension/USDA-NRCS regional specialist helping private landowners in Colorado sustainably manage their land.
 

Liza is standing in the snow with a winter coat.
Liza Nguyen, Eastern Soil Health Coordinator

Born and raised in Southern California, Liza attended UC Davis where she fell in love with plant biology. She focused her Bachelors of Science in Genetics and Genomics on plant genetics. After earning her Masters of Science in Horticulture from Pennsylvania State University, where she studied corn and its relationship to mycorrhizal fungi, she worked for a non-profit evaluating therapeutics for citrus greening before starting as the Eastern Soil Health Coordinator with CDA. Liza is looking forward to applying her knowledge and background in scientific research to help producers creatively implement soil health practices to enrich their land and their livelihood. 

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Rosie is standing in a green t-shirt with a field behind her.
Rosie Skovron, ADCRO Program Assistant 

Rosie joins the Drought and Climate Resilience team after three years of food systems work in Boulder County. She managed the weekly Longmont and Boulder markets for Boulder County Farmers Markets and worked on two small-scale veggie farms in Boulder County. She loves bringing organization and maximized efficiency to teams and is excited to be working with farmers and ranchers across CDA's soil health, energy, and statewide climate programs. 

Suzie stands in the shade with a sunny grassy field behind her.
Suzie Bilberry, Soil Health Program Grants Manager

Originally from New Mexico, Suzie and her husband now reside in Olathe, Colorado. She spent 9 years working as the District Manager for the Delta Conservation District before transitioning to the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Soil Health Team. Suzie’s passion lies in promoting sustainable agricultural practices and conservation efforts to protect our environment for future generations. With a background in resource management and a commitment to soil health, she strives to make a positive impact in the agricultural community by assisting with the implementation of innovative solutions and promoting stewardship to improve soil health.
 

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Reece stands on a grassy slope with bright blue sky behind him.
Reece Melton, Northwestern Soil Health Specialist

Reece Melton is a Colorado native and has resided in the Northwest corner of the state for the last 3 years. He has experience in rangeland management, agricultural production, education, and natural resources. He has a passion for improving the resiliency of our landscapes both for the landowner and the ecosystem. 

Vanessa is standing in a field with cows and mountains in the background
Vanessa McCracken, Northeastern Soil Health Specialist 

Vanessa McCracken joined the CDA as the Northeast Colorado Soil Health Specialist. With deep family roots in Northeast Colorado, Vanessa is thrilled to partner with conservation districts and other partners to provide soil health resources to Colorado farmers and ranchers. Most recently, Vanessa served as the District Manager for the Boulder Valley and Longmont Conservation Districts implementing on-the-ground conservation projects with both agricultural and forestry landowners. Vanessa completed agronomy degrees from Colorado State and Iowa State Universities. She lives in Broomfield with her husband and three teenage children.
 

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Coming Soon

Southwestern and Southeastern Soil Health Specialists

 

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