Gavan Flamming

As the Producer Programs Intern, Gavan utilizes his passion for agriculture and conservation, as he helps expand  producer enrollment and outreach efforts within The SustainAg Network.

Gavan previously worked with Millborn Seeds, where he primarily worked in the warehouse packaging orders while creating new ways to operate more efficiently within the company since January of 2023. Additionally, his background includes volunteering for the NRCS of Brookings County, being an active member of the Ida County Iowa Pheasants Forever Chapter and is the treasurer of the South Dakota State University Pheasants Forever Chapter.

Gavan is currently a junior at SDSU working towards his degree in Ecology/Environmental Sciences.

Kristina Porter, DVM

Dr. Kristina Porter serves as a technical advisor for AgSpire, bringing deep expertise to our livestock focused programs.

She has spent most of her veterinary career focusing on reproduction to maximize performance and profitability for her clients. She has complemented this focus with low-stress animal handling to create the healthiest, most efficient animal possible.

Dr. Kristina has worked alongside members of the Beef Reproduction task force to develop synchronization protocols for the industry. This earned her their “Service to Industry Award” in 2022 for her contributions.

Dr. Kristina is from eastern South Dakota and returned to the family ranch after veterinary school. Dr. Kristina received her BS in Animal Science from Kansas State University in 2008 and her DVM from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State in 2010. She completed the Executive Veterinary Program from the University of Illinois in 2023.

She and her husband, also a veterinarian, practice in Huron, South Dakota while raising their four daughters and working on the family ranch.

Drew Slattery

Drew Slattery, with his extensive experience in the regenerative agriculture and corporate sustainability realm, is committed to enhancing the impact on natural resources and the climate across global supply chains.

Throughout his career, Drew has partnered with leading agricultural and food brands to evolve their supply chains for greater sustainability and reduced carbon footprints. This has given him a broad range of expertise – from remote sensing, to ag media, producer  engagement, behavior change programming, and corporate sustainability – and experience working with the beef, dairy, row crop, and specialty crop sectors.

Raised on a cow-calf operation in Texas and spending most of his life immersed in the beef seedstock industry, Drew brings a producer-centered approach that deeply influences his commitment to supporting agricultural producers in their path to continuous improvement. Additionally, he spent time as an agriculture extension agent with the US Peace Corps in Zambia.

He received a master’s degree in agriculture from Oklahoma State University and a bachelor’s degree in communication from Tarleton State University.

In his free time, Drew is passionate about perfecting his open-fire grilling techniques and enjoying the adventure offered by the vast public lands across the western United States.

Austin Knight

Austin grew up helping on the family century farm and now operates that farm with his uncle raising hogs, corn, and soybeans. Austin has seen the effects of incorporating conservation practices on his own farm and uses those experiences to help others incorporate practices on their operations. Previously, Austin worked as a Sustainability Agronomist working with producers across the country helping bring value to their operations through sustainable practices.

Austin holds a bachelor’s degree in Agronomy from Iowa State University. He is also a Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) and Technical Service Provider (TSP) through NRCS, covering multiple practices and states.

In his spare time, Austin enjoys learning about agriculture, gardening, and spending time outdoors.

Ryan Eichler

As the Director of Producer Programs, Ryan leads AgSpire’s work to build supply shed networks of producers who are interested in participating in Scope 3 carbon programs. Ryan brings 20 years of experience in the ag industry, working directly with producers in sales roles at companies that include Cargill, Elanco, DSM, and Millborn Seeds. A 2001 graduate of South Dakota State University, Ryan holds a B.S. degree in Animal Science. He and his Family live at rural Lake Preston, SD, where they are active in a family livestock farm.

Zach Pinto

As the Director of Carbon & Ecosystem Markets, Zach promotes company strategy and client success by developing and executing services at the intersection of MRV technologies, carbon accounting protocols, and ecosystem markets.

Throughout his career, Zach has focused on carbon issues for stakeholders across the agriculture value chain and in a wide array of commodities. His expertise in farm-level carbon accounting, MRV platform usage, voluntary and compliance market schemes, science-based targets, ESG reporting, and strategic planning allow him to assist industry groups, food and ag companies, and farmers on their sustainability goals.

Zach’s passion for agriculture started at Woods Hole Consortium, where he studied with scientists to evaluate carbon sequestration techniques in row crop systems. Prior to joining AgSpire, Zach managed sustainability services at Pinion Global. There, he advised clients on designing, measuring, and evaluating carbon strategies down to the farm level. Zach also has experience in social impact measurement and social entrepreneurship.

Zach has a BA in Environmental Science from Middlebury College and is an accredited verifier for both dairy and ethanol projects under the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard and the Oregon Clean Fuels Program.

Zach enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors – with a goal to visit all 63 national parks.

Sara Arsenault

Sara Arsenault serves as Senior Director of Client Relations at AgSpire, bringing her keen view of the agriculture industry to current and future client projects.

Prior to joining AgSpire, Sara led the federal policy division for California Farm Bureau (CAFB), where she managed the federal policy team and developed the organization’s federal legislative and regulatory strategies. She also served as the Vice President of the Almond Alliance for a short time thereafter.

Sara also spent nearly five years in Washington, D.C., where she worked on Capitol Hill and at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), representing agriculture leaders from all fifty states and four U.S. territories at the federal level.

Sara is a native of Northern California where she currently resides. She began her academic career at Modesto Junior College and obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in animal science and meat science and technology at Texas A&M University.

Derek Ver Helst

Derek is passionate about conservation and natural ecosystems – a passion he uses to guide his work as Senior Conservation Agronomist at AgSpire. He has a deep respect for mother nature and the symbiosis organisms have with one another in the environment. In his work, Derek seeks to harness these natural relationships for crop production so that environmental impacts can be mitigated while still producing high quality commodities for the growing world’s population.

Prior to joining AgSpire, Derek spent more than 15 years working with landowners and corporations to design, manage, and validate research trials, maximizing short- and long-term crop outputs. Always eager to learn, he is continuously expanding his knowledge of soil health, chemistry, biology, technical advancements in crop production and integrated pest management (IPM).

Derek holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology from South Dakota State University and a master’s degree in Agronomy from Iowa State University. He is a Certified Crop Advisor (CCA), Technical Service Provider (TSP) for the NRCS, and is also a small business owner.

In his spare time, Derek enjoys the outdoors, coaching youth sports, and spending time with his family.

Matthew Delbar

Matthew is experienced in managing and restoring rangeland ecosystems, with a strong commitment to the long-term viability of farming and ranching.

Matthew maintains strong ties to his family’s ranch in California, where they raise cattle, sheep, hay, and timber. As the sixth generation in his family working that land, Matthew realized the importance of ecosystem health for the longevity of the operation.

Prior to joining AgSpire, he was a rangeland management specialist at USDA-NRCS Field Office in California. This experience gave him a broad knowledge of various rangelands and ecosystems, as well as a deep understanding of government conservation programs.

Matthew holds a bachelor’s degree in rangeland conservation and agricultural economics from the University of Idaho. He also holds NEPA and Wildland Restoration certifications.

He spends his spare time outdoors, riding horses, and woodworking. 

Julia Andrus

Julia drives AgSpire’s creative strategy with a mission to inform and inspire audiences around

That mission is rooted in her family’s row crop farm in the Texas Panhandle, where she currently resides. Julia seeks to share the tenacious spirit of rural America, along with the positive land use changes that will help farms and ranches thrive for generations to come.

With a background in advocacy communications and cause marketing, Julia has experience connecting diverse audiences around shared values to spur collaboration and action. She has used these strengths to advance education policy, international development, and sustainable agriculture.

Julia is  pursuing a master’s degree in international agriculture from Oklahoma State University to complement her master’s degree in corporate and non-profit communication from Johns Hopkins University and bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas Christian University. She also has a professional certificate in Sustainable Capitalism & ESG from Berkeley Law Executive Education.

Julia is a coffee enthusiast, avid gardener, and adventurous cook, always looking to enjoy new foods and cuisines.