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PFI names new executive director

By Staff | Feb 9, 2016

Sally Worley

AMES (PFI) – Practical Farmers of Iowa announce Jan. 29 the selection of Sally Worley as its new executive director.

Worley has worked at PFI for more than eight years, where she has earned a reputation for being farmer-focused, successful in fundraising and passionate about working to fulfill the PFI mission to strengthen farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information sharing.

Since joining PFI, Worley served as operations director.

The board of directors unanimously chose Worley to succeed outgoing executive director Teresa Opheim after a nationwide search and selection process.

Opheim, who led the organization for 10 years, stepped down to focus on advancing PFI farm transfer work.

“We were looking for someone who embraced the concept of a farmer-led, farmer-focused organization that envisions an agriculture of diverse farms, healthy food and vibrant communities,” said Tim Landgraf, chairman of the Practical Farmers of Iowa executive director transition committee.

“Sally brings, and instills in others, deep passion for an agriculture based on diverse farms, diverse sizes of operations, scopes of farm enterprises and ecological habitats,” Landgraf said. “She brings a clear understanding of PFI’s role to serve its members by listening to them and using their guidance to shape research priorities and areas of focus.

“She also practices an ethic of care for staff, accountability to supporters and leadership in setting a path forward.”

Worley said, “I am honored and excited to serve as Practical Farmers’ next director.

“Practical Farmers of Iowa is strong, and getting stronger. As we continue to grow, strengthen and adapt to new opportunities and challenges, I will make sure we remain a farmer-led organization that welcomes all into our big tent.”

Worley officially assumed executive director duties on Monday. She has a degree in horticulture and experience working on farms in Iowa, New York and Idaho.

Before joining PFI’s staff, she served as vocational director at The Homestead Living and Learning Center in Pleasant Hill.

Worley lives in Grimes with her husband, Chris, and three children, Maya, 11; Mesa, 9 and Wyatt 6.

Opheim , whose leadership helped the organization attain a new level of strength and growth, decided early last year that it was time for a new leader to carry it into its next phase. While she will remain on the PFI staff, she will be based in Minneapolis.

“Practical Farmers has been very fortunate to have Teresa serve as executive director for the last 10 of its 30 years,” Landgraf said. “Teresa has helped guide the organization toward a very stable, sustainable future – but we are excited to have Sally as our new executive director, and to begin the next phase of our work.”

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