Deborah Van Noy
Deborah Van Noy treasures the rich agricultural heritage of Utah and dedicates her efforts to preserving this important natural resource. Born in northern Montana into a farming and ranching family, she brings that love of the land to efforts locally to save Utah’s agricultural ways. Professionally, she has advanced degrees in business and management, has served on the Council of Economic Advisors in Washington, DC under President Ronald Reagan and currently works in regulatory affairs for a medical device firm in Logan, Utah.
Bruce Bishop is a native son with a deep appreciation of the beauty of Cache Valley. After serving in the Army Corps of Engineers in Viet Nam, Bruce came to USU as Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, worked on projects at the Utah Water Research Lab, and later led the College of Engineering as Dean. Bruce served on the Cache Chamber of Commerce Board and has been involved in initiatives to improve transportation and land use decision-making in Cache Valley. His 40 acres of dry-farm land west of Mendon was placed in a conservation easement in 2022 and he continues to be dedicated to protecting ag land and open space in Cache Valley.
Juan Villalba, PhD
Juan J. Villalba, Professor in S.J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources at Utah State University, focuses his research on understanding mechanisms that influence food selection and intake by herbivores with the goal of creating more efficient alternatives for managing livestock and the landscapes they inhabit. His work within the Department of Wildland Resources encompasses livestock grazing, foraging behaviors, animal health and welfare, rangeland restoration and weed control and vegetation management.
Michael Petersen, PhD
Mike Petersen has served in the Utah State House of Representatives since 2020. He is a partner in the instructional design company, LetterPress Software, Inc, a developer of education and training products for Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, schools, etc.
Mike is a lifelong Utahn who’s first summer job was picking cherries for the Stratton Farms in Orem. He grew up enjoying the sight of the neighbor’s horses grazing in the fields behind his home. As a father, he’s been grateful for good friends who’ve taught his children the joys of bucking hay, raising sheep, and participating in 4H. Mike is concerned about the disappearing agricultural land across the country, and particularly here in Utah and is excited about the work of the Utah Agricultural Land Trust.
Gina H. Worthen
Gina H. Worthen is a former member of the Cache County Council and a former Executive Officer of the Utah Association of Counties. She loves to be involved in the community and has served in many leadership capacities from community events to schools to sports to politics. Gina grew up in the Salt Lake Valley and watched as agricultural lands and open spaces along the Wasatch Front were lost to development. While not opposed to growth and development, Gina sees a pressing need to recognize the economic and cultural value of agricultural lands in Utah and to preserve and protect them.
Cathy James grew up in rural Vermont and arrived in Utah in 1996. She and her husband raised their children in Mountain Green, Morgan County, and have run a small hobby farm since 2009, producing eggs, garden produce and dairy products. Professionally, she is an attorney with a solo practice in Mountain Green since 2005, and recently joined the Utah State Bar to run its Consumer Assistance Program. Cathy is avid outdoor enthusiast, a member of the Morgan Conservation District and a volunteer with the Weber River Partnership. She is concerned at the rate that farm and agricultural lands are disappearing along the Wasatch Front, and believes it is possible to have well-planned growth without sacrificing Utah’s magnificent farm and ranch lands.
Sierra Debenham has deep roots in Utah, and is passionate about land conservation. As a descendant of Utah pioneers and farmers, she respects Utah’s agrarian heritage and looks to protect its agricultural future. She is an emergency medicine physician practicing in the Salt Lake Valley, and believes that the health of individuals and their communities begins with the land. She recognizes that the Wasatch Front is home to some of the most historically and agriculturally unique land in Utah, and is especially interested in preserving urban farmland for future generations.