Jess Anna Glover will serve as the next executive director for Land Stewardship Project. Glover will replace Mark Schultz, who's retiring after leading the organization for three decades.
“I applaud LSP’s board and its transition committee for finding someone so qualified to lead the organization and so committed to the work that needs to be done," said Schultz in a press release announcing the hiring.
The Land Stewardship Project is a nonprofit organization founded in 1982 to "foster an ethic of stewardship for farmland, to promote sustainable agriculture and to develop sustainable communities." LSP has offices in south Minneapolis, Lewiston and Montevideo, Minn.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she worked for a U.S. senator in Oregon and ran fundraising for a non-profit in Los Angeles, before she decided to attend the University of Minnesota Law School, where she was a Policy Fellow with the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
She began her legal career in agriculture with Farmers’ Legal Action Group, also known as FLAG, in St. Paul, Minn., where among other issues she worked on corporate concentration, fair federal disaster assistance, federal farmer lending programs and immigrant farmer outreach.
"That was where LSP was actually my first client," said Glover of her time with FLAG.
Glover then took a position with Education Minnesota, a statewide member-run organization that represents around 80,000 teachers and school employees. Most recently, Glover was the executive director of MENTOR Minnesota, which supports mentoring programs throughout the state.
Raised in rural Stewartville, Minn., Glover said her grandparents, who operated a farm just miles outside of Stewartville, were "really present" in her life. The farm has since been passed down two generations in the family, and is now operated by Stewartville Mayor Jimmie-John King.
"Our roots run deep," said Glover of the southeastern Minnesota community.
Some of her fondest childhood memories were riding in the backseat of her grandfather's truck as he talked to her while the two drove from Stewartville to Winona.
"It was just a running dialogue, and that's how I learned the difference between field corn and sweet corn," said Glover.
When she got into environmental work in and after college, Glover said it always included working with "the original stewards of the land, farmers".
As for issues she plans to buckle down on as LSP director, Glover said there are numerous with farmers being in crisis right now.
"Some people ask if that's real, if a crisis is really happening, and the answer is absolutely yes," said Glover.
Glover said there is a silence around the farm crisis because farmers are finding off-farm income to make ends meet.
"Neighbors are losing neighbors but they try to figure it out," she said.
LSP needs to be thinking about how it "keeps family farms on the land and makes markets viable for small and midsized farms," Glover said.
One of the issues that rises to the top for LSP priorities is health care, said Glover.
"In many instances, family farmers are an illness away from losing a farm," she said. "It's too costly for so many."