University of Minnesota




Minneapolis, MN


2105 First Avenue South

Minneapolis MN 55404

Phone (612) 870-0453

Fax (612) 870-4846




Organization Mission Statement:

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy promotes resilient family farms, rural communities and ecosystems around the world through research and education, science and technology, and advocacy.


What are the basic goals of the organization?

Rooted in Family Farms
In the mid-1980s, family farmers across America were in the fight of their lives. Prices had dropped below the cost of production. Family farmers were told they were inefficient and they had to either get big or get out. Deeply flawed national and international policies were the root cause of the crisis. A galvanizing effort to save the family farm helped spawn the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). In 1986, IATP began documenting the underlying causes of America's rural crisis and proposing policies that would benefit farmers, consumers, rural communities and the environment.

Facing Globalization
IATP works with organizations around the world to analyze how global trade agreements impact domestic farm and food policies. Alongside a global coalition, IATP advocates for fair trade policies that promote strong health standards, labor and human rights, the environment and, most fundamentally, democratic institutions.

Building Sustainability
We are developing alternative economic models that include clean sources of energy such as wind power and biofuel that would spur rural development. We're working with landowners to form cooperatives that promote sustainable forest management. We're advocating for green businesses and farms that reduce toxic runoff into the Great Lakes and Mississippi River.

Safe Food, Healthy Ecosystems
We are working to stop the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture and aquaculture, while limiting the release of mercury and other toxic pollutants that fall onto farmland and enter the food supply. IATP is also monitoring the impact of genetically engineered crops on the environment, human health and farmer income.


Does the organization have a long-term goal(s)? 

The organization fulfills its goals through its five main programs, as follows:

Trade and Global Governance works to democratize the multilateral system of policy-making. We strengthen civil society by linking social movements working on trade, development, peace, human rights, labor, gender, the environment and corporate responsibility.

Rural Communities works to revitalize the countryside through sustainable markets and production for the bioeconomy, community-based development strategies, and progressive rural leadership and policies.

Food and Health makes food healthier by advocating for sustainable food production and a less-contaminated food supply while supporting family farmers and rural communities.

Environment and Agriculture enhances the quality of life in rural agricultural communities by promoting conservation-based economic opportunities and encouraging agricultural diversification, value-added opportunities, regional food systems and effective farm, food and transportation policy.

Forestry promotes responsible forest management by encouraging the long-term health and prosperity of small, privately owned woodlots, their owners and their communities.


Who does this organization employ? (i.e. Graduate degrees; only grant writing background, etc).  Why?


A list of staff as of November 2006 with background information at IATP:

Jim Harkness
(612) 870-3403

Harkness joined IATP in July 2006. Previously he served as Executive Director of the World Wildlife Fund in China from 1999-2005, where he expanded the organization’s profile from a strict focus on conservation of biodiversity to also addressing the consequences of China’s economic growth on a broader sustainable development agenda. From 1995–1999, Harkness worked as the Ford Foundation’s Environment and Development Program Officer for China. Harkness has written and spoken frequently on China and sustainable development, and has served as an adviser for the World Bank and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Harkness grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He’s a graduate of the University of Wisconsin where he majored in Asian Studies. He received his graduate degree in Development Sociology from Cornell University.

Corinne Rafferty
Vice President for Programs and Planning
(612) 870-3435

Rafferty joined IATP in early 2005 to help with program management and coordination. A lawyer by training, Rafferty has devoted her working life to various social justice organizations in San Francisco, New York and the Twin Cities. She was co-founder and co-director of Nicaragua Exchange, which mobilized opposition to U.S. funding of the contras in the mid-1980s. She worked for the North American Congress on Latin America, the National Lawyers Guild and the Institute for Media Analysis before serving as a program officer for the Rockefeller Family Fund and the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock. She moved to Minnesota in 1994, and has worked for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and more recently, Farmers' Legal Action Group, where she served as executive director. Rafferty has a B.A. in English from Yale University and a law degree from Hastings College of the Law (University of California).

Trade and Global Governance

Alexandra Spieldoch
(612) 870-3419

Alexandra Spieldoch is Director of the Trade and Global Governance Program. Most recently, she co-directed the Gender, Trade and Development Project at the Center of Concern and coordinated the secretariat for the International Gender and Trade Network in Washington, D.C.

Spieldoch has been engaged in World Trade Organization and regional trade advocacy since 1999. She has published research and popular education on trade negotiations at the WTO and in the Americas from a human rights and development perspective. A member of the Alliance for Responsible Trade and active in the Hemispheric Social Alliance, Spieldoch studied at the University of Buenos Aires and lived in many places in France. She received an master's in international policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Her bachelor's is from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., with a major in French literature.

Sophia Murphy
Senior Advisor

Murphy leads IATP's work on the World Trade Organization, focused on agricultural trade rules, U.S. trade and agriculture policy and the interests of developing countries in the multilateral trade system. Murphy has published many reports and articles, including analysis of the effects of international trade rules on development and food security, the impact of corporate concentration in the global food system and, most recently, a critique of U.S. food aid programs. Sophia has worked with IATP's Trade and Agriculture team since 1997. She joined the Institute from Geneva, where she had worked for two years with the United Nations Nongovernmental Liaison Service. Before that, she worked as a policy officer with the Canadian Council for International Cooperation in Ottawa. Sophia has a degree in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford University and a master's from the London School of Economics.

Dr. Steve Suppan
Senior Policy Analyst
(612) 870-3413

Steve Suppan has been Director of Research since 1998. Suppan began to work at IATP in 1994 as a translator, editor, bulletin writer and program officer for western hemispheric trade policy. Suppan is IATP's liaison to several governmental and intergovernmental organizations. From 1998 to 2003, he was IATP's liaison to the Trade and Environnment Policy Advisory Committee of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Since 2002, he has been the U.S. co-chair of the trade working group of the TransAtlantic Consumers Dialogue. Since 2000 he has been IATP's main liaison to Consumers International and has served on several Consumers International delegations to the Codex Alimentarius Commission and to Codex committees. He has written extensively on food safety policy and on agricultural trade policy. Most recently, he has written a paper on structural reform in the Codex Alimentarius Commission for CI's Decision Making in the Global Market project. Suppan has also represented IATP at meetings of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, the United Nations Development Program, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, and was the NGO liaison to the U.S. government for the World Food Summit +5. He serves on the board of the Community Nutrition Institute.

Suppan has a Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Minnesota and studied philosophy at the University of Vienna. Prior to coming to IATP, he was an assistant professor in the department of Romance languages at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Alexandra Strickner
Director, Transatlantic Dialogue Project
+43 (1) 317 40 14

Strickner was born and raised in Tyrol, Austria. She studied political economics at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, focusing on Development Economics and worked for five years as a research assistant and political adviser in the Austrian Foundation for Development Research. As part of that experience, Strickner worked on the Austrian campaign against GATS—the services treaty within the World Trade Organization.

R. Dennis Olson
Senior Policy Analyst
(612) 870-3412

R. Dennis Olson is the Director of IATP's Trade and Agriculture Project, which advocates for farmers and peasants both in the U.S., and around the world, within the context of global trade debates. He works on U.S. agricultural trade policy among domestic and international rural advocacy and other social justice networks. In 2005, Olson worked on behalf of IATP to oppose passage of the Central American Free Trade Agreement, and published a paper, Sweet or Sour: The U.S. Sugar Program and Threats Posed by the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement
. Olson advocates for the rights of farmers in issues related to genetically engineered crops. In 2005 he published an article, "Hard Red Spring Wheat at a Genetic Crossroad: Rural Prosperity or Corporate Hegemony?" on his experiences in a successful effort by North American wheat farmers and their allies to stop Monsanto's efforts to introduce the first ever variety of genetically engineered wheat. The University of Wisconsin Press published the article as a chapter in the book, Controversies in Science and Technology From Maize to Menopause. Before coming to IATP, Olson worked as a community organizer for seventeen years with grassroots farmer and environmental organizations in North Dakota and Montana on agricultural, environmental and other social justice issues. In 1994, he spent three months in the former Soviet Union networking with environmental and agricultural activist organizations. Olson graduated from the University of Montana in 1983 with a combined degree of history/political science and a minor in Russian.

Shiney Varghese
Senior Policy Analyst
(612) 870-3471

Shiney Varghese leads our work on global water policy. The current water crisis, its impact on water and food security and possible local solutions that emphasize equity, environmental justice and sustainability concerns are her focus. In her current work she focuses on the implications of GATS/WTO, water sector liberalization, and industrial agriculture for people's access to water. Since 2001 she has been the co-chair of the UNCSD fresh water caucus, the primary civil society voice on water at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. Shiney has been working with IATP since 2001. Before moving to United States in 1998, she worked in India on social and environmental issues for over a decade with indigenous groups, civil society organizations and international groups such as Oxfam. She has presented and published works on environment, gender, and human rights. Shiney grew up on a farm in South Indian state of Kerala, and after high school moved to Gujarat. She is a graduate of Institute of Rural Management, India, and has a master's in development from the Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands. Shiney was a visiting fellow at the agrarian studies program at Yale University, New Haven in 1997-98.

Trade Information Project, Geneva

Carin Smaller
Director, Trade Information Project
+41 (22) 789 0734

Smaller is the project officer for the Trade Information Project, where she monitors WTO negotiations, writes "Geneva Update," and provides information and analysis to developing country trade negotiators and civil society groups working on trade. Carin is also developing alternative approaches to agriculture trade using a human rights approach and has written a policy paper, Planting the Rights Seed: A Human Rights Perspective on Agriculture Trade and the WTO.
Prior to working with IATP, Smaller worked with a trade and human rights NGO, 3D - Trade - Human Rights -Equitable Economy. she also worked on development projects for the UNDP in Windhoek, Namibia, the Australian Aid Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the German Development Service in Nepal. She has a bachelor of laws and bachelor of arts in political science and comparative development from the University of New South Wales (Australia).

Anne Laure Constantin
TIP Project Officer
+41 (22) 789 0733

Constantin joined IATP's Trade Information Project in Geneva in July 2006. Constantin comes to IATP from the French Committee for International Solidarity where she advocated on international agriculture and trade issues. Prior to that she worked with Association pour la Création de la Fondation René Dumont (Association for the Creation of the René Dumont Foundation) in Paris, and the World Organization Against Torture in Geneva. She has a masters degree in International Relations from La Sorbonne University in France.

Environment and Agriculture

Mark Muller
(612) 870-3420

Since starting at IATP in 1997, Muller has worked on a wide variety of issues, including agricultural diversification, nutrient management, agricultural transportation, regional food systems and renewable energy production. He has been involved in both regional project-based efforts and national policy development. He has had opinion pieces on agricultural policy appear in newspapers throughout the Midwest. Muller has a B.A. in physics from the State University of New York at Geneseo and a M.S. in environmental engineering from Manhattan College. Prior to joining IATP, Muller worked as an environmental engineer and high school science teacher.

Dr. Dennis Keeney
Senior Fellow
(515) 232-1531

Keeney was the first director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. He retired in 2000, and is professor emeritus of Agronomy and Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University. Keeney grew up on a family dairy farm near Runnells, Iowa, and obtained a B.S. in agronomy from Iowa State University, a M.S. in soil science from The University of Wisconsin, Madison and a Ph.D. in agronomy and biochemistry from Iowa State University. He was a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin in soils and water chemistry before coming to Iowa State in 1988. He has pioneered research and outreach on agricultural issues related to sustainability, land resource use, rural community development and water quality. Keeney has published over 140 refereed papers on soil and water quality research, and served on numerous state, federal and international scientific committees and task forces. He also served as president of the American Society of Agronomy and the Soil Science of America. He has been a Senior fellow at IATP since 2000 and also is a senior fellow in the Department of Soil, air and water in the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences, University of Minnesota.

Heather Schoonover
Program Associate
(612) 870-3450

Schoonover's work at IATP focuses on farm policy and public health, hypoxia and Mississippi River navigation. She also helps administer the Food and Society Policy Fellows program. Prior to joining IATP, Schoonover worked as a researcher for Audubon's Upper Mississippi River Campaign and as a program coordinator for Hamline University's Center for Global Environmental Education. She holds both an M.S. and a B.S. in earth systems—an interdisciplinary program integrating the environmental, earth, natural and social sciences—from Stanford University.

Rural Communities

Jim Kleinschmit
(612) 870-3430

Kleinschmit's work focuses on promoting working landscapes and sustainable rural development in both the U.S. and abroad. Current projects include: working with farmers and other stakeholders to establish sustainable crop production standards and markets in the Midwest; promoting and facilitating renewable energy and sustainable bioindustrial development projects; and helping increase understanding of the relationship of agriculture to surface and ground water management in the Great Lakes Basin. He has a M.A. from the Jackson School of International Studies of the University of Washington, and a B.A. in European history and Russian studies from St. Olaf College, Minnesota. Kleinschmit was raised on and is still active in the operation of his family's farm in Nebraska. He worked on rural development in the Baltics and Russia and in 1995 began working as the coordinator for the IATP's International Fellows Program, which informed officials from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe about international trade and agriculture issues. In 1996, he joined the Environment and Agriculture Program, focusing on nutrient and watershed management.

Amy Stratton
Rural Communities Organizer
(612) 870-3433

Stratton joined IATP in fall of 2006 as Rural Communities Organizer. Her rural small-town roots link well to her position exploring viable options with rural Midwestern communities. Amy received her B.S. in natural resources management from Colorado State University, Fort Collins. Since then, she has held positions as NGO and government staff on natural resource and community development projects in South Dakota, Oregon and Minnesota. Prior to joining the IATP team, Stratton worked with Resource Conservation and Development Councils in Minnesota. Her work focuses on connecting rural communities to opportunities to improve economics, environment and quality of life.


Don Arnosti
(612) 870-3460

Over the past 15 years, Don has held a number of leadership positions with Minnesota conservation organizations. Most recently he served as the Water Campaign Coordinator for the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, an association of more than 80 large and small non-profit conservation organizations. Prior to that he served for ten years as Executive Director of the National Audubon Society's Minnesota office. Audubon Minnesota, under Don's leadership, became involved in the earliest efforts to tailor Forest Stewardship Council standards to the Great Lakes region and were early supporters of the first public lands certifications in the region in Aitkin County.

Jedd Ungrodt
Certification Forester
(612) 718-5891

Ungrodt manages CFRC's Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) umbrella certificate that offers lower-cost access to FSC certification for private landowners. In this position, he works with landowner cooperatives and forest landowner organizations on issues of sustainable forest management in the upper Midwest as well as with private landowners themselves to assure FSC standards are upheld in their forest management. Jedd is a 2000 graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a B.S. in forest science. Prior to joining the staff at CFRC, he was a consulting forester for Clark Forestry in Wisconsin and a GIS specialist with the Wisconsin DNR's Division of Forestry.

Gigi La Budde
Forest Ecologist
(608) 588-2048

La Budde serves as education coordinator and ecologist for the Community Forestry Resource Center, where she works with forest landowner groups, resource managers, loggers and farmers in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. She also teaches courses for the Forest Industry Safety and Training Alliance of Wisconsin and is involved with the Woodland School, a project of the Aldo Leopold Foundation, as an instructor and member of the steering committee. She received her B.A. and M.S. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Gigi is the owner of Bison Belly Futures, an ecological restoration consulting business serving the Driftless area, an organic Goldenseal grower and a volunteer land steward for the Nature Conservancy.

Katie Marshall
Program Associate
(612) 870-3407

Katie's work with the Community Forestry Resource Center includes communications, program administration, and coordination of CFRC's Forest Stewardship Council group certificate for private landowners in the Upper Midwest. She has a B.A. in environmental studies and women's studies from Hamline University.

Food and Health

Dr. David Wallinga
(612) 870-3418

Wallinga gives frequent talks, interviews with the press and public testimony on the health impacts of environmental pollutants—including food borne pollutants—on the developing brains and other organs in children. He also is expert in the myriad public health impacts of industrialized food production, such as the huge use of antibiotics in livestock production. Nationally, he works with the health-based coalitions Keep Antibiotics Working and Health Care Without Harm. Dr. Wallinga co-authored In Harm's Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development,
and authored Putting Children First: Making Pesticide Levels in Food Safer for Infants and Children. Prior to joining IATP in 2000, he worked in the public health program of the Natural Resource Defense Council in Washington, D.C. He has a medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School, and a master's degree from Princeton University.

Kathleen Schuler
Senior Associate
(612) 870-3468

Schuler's focus is on protecting children, among other vulnerable populations, from environmental toxins in food. She has developed a Smart Fish Guide and online fish calculator to educate parents and women of childbearing age about eating safer fish and seafood lower in mercury and PCBs. She also served as the project coordinator for Reducing Pesticides in Minnesota Schools Pilot Project. Schuler has a master of public health degree from the University of Minnesota. As a Bush Leadership Fellow in environmental health, she also studied at Boston University and interned with the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. Schuler is an active member of both the Minnesota and American Public Health Associations.

Marie Kulick
Senior Associate
(612) 870-3422

Kulick joined the Food and Health team in 2004. A key focus of her work is on preventing pollution of the food chain by among other things promoting the use of safer materials and building support for an agricultural food system that reflects health considerations. In 2005, she authored Healthy Food, Healthy Hospitals, Healthy Communities,
a report that highlights the successful efforts of health care facilities to improve access to fresh, sustainably produced food and identifies strategies for overcoming potential hurdles such as tight budgets and restrictive vendor contracts. Marie has a B.A. in communications from McDaniel College and a master of studies in environmental law from Vermont Law School. Prior to IATP, Kulick worked for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Environmental Fund for Maryland and Clean Water Action.

Carin Skoog
Campaign Coordinator
(612) 870-3458

Skoog is serving as campaign coordinator for IATP’s work on chemical policy reform. Skoog most recently worked for Grassroots Solutions as the Minnesota field representative for the National Environmental Trust, a media and environmental policy group based in Washington, D.C. In 2001 she developed and initiated a Duluth city council resolution to join the Cities for Climate Protection campaign, and directed the energy conservation program for the city of Duluth from 2001 to 2004. Skoog received a grant from the American Swedish Institute in 2000 to develop a collaborative project between two United Nations programs in Växjö, Sweden: the Agenda-21 program for sustainability and the program for children's rights. She has a degree in environmental studies and Scandinavian studies from Gustavus Adolphus College and is a native of Duluth.


Kate Hoff
Vice President for Development
(612) 870-3404

Hoff came to IATP in 1993 as a temp—and stayed. Hoff is responsible for overseeing and coordinating all aspects of foundation, individual and government support and special events. Her work includes grant writing, grassroots fundraising and income generating projects for IATP. Hoff has a B.A. in sociology from Augsburg College in Minneapolis and an M.A. in public administration from Hamline University in St. Paul, emphasizing nonprofit management. Hoff grew up on a hobby farm in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and reigned as the 1985 Town and Country Saddle Club Queen.

Eric Christopher
Grants Manager
(612) 870-3478

Christopher's work includes research, preparation and management of grants. He also works on aspects of IATP's individual donor campaign. Eric holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Minnesota.

Jacob Wascalus
Development Associate
(612) 870-3411

Wascalus's work includes researching and preparing grants. Prior to joining IATP, he was a freelance copy editor, graphic designer and writer. He holds a bachelor's degree in English from James Madison University.

Finance and Administration

Ricki McMillan
Vice President for Finance and Operations
(612) 870-3451

McMillan is responsible for the finances of IATP. Ricki has been with IATP since 1992. She received a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Kansas.

Candace Falk
Finance Associate
(612) 870-3453

Falk has been the assistant to the Finance Director since the year 2000. Her responsibilities include accounts payable, accounts receivable, human resources, managing the telephone and voicemail systems and the postage meter. She also coordinates the IATP TravelBetter campaign annually.

Communications and Information Technology

Dale Wiehoff
Vice President for Communications and IT
(612) 870-3401

Wiehoff grew up in St.Cloud, Minnesota. He attended St. Cloud Technical High School and spent much of his youth fishing in the Mississippi River and seining minnows for his grandfather's bait shop. He moved to Minneapolis after high school and between a job on the railroad, protesting the war and working at co-op groceries, dreamed of owning a farm. In 1970 he bought his first farm with friends in Wisconsin and in 1977 bought his own farm not far away. He farmed until 1985, keeping cattle, dairy cows, bees and sheep. Farming provided his first insights into the worlds of economics, high finance and reckless gambling. In 1977 he joined the board of the US Farmers Association and was introduced to the old populist traditions and values, as well as what made a good farm program. In 1985, Wiehoff moved to New York and over the next decade worked for a number of national nonprofit organizations. In 1994 he had the opportunity to return to Minnesota to work for IATP in what became known as Information Technology. In 1999 he was promoted to Vice President of Communications and remains responsible for overseeing the internal and external communications systems, publications, web sites, and media relations for IATP.

Ben Lilliston
Communications Director
(612) 870-3416

Lilliston works on media outreach and the production of publications. He has a bachelor of philosophy degree from University of Miami (Ohio). He is the former Associate Editor for the Corporate Crime Reporter, a frequently published writer, co-author of the book Genetically Engineered Foods: A Guide for Consumers
(Avalon), and former associate at the Chicago environmental public relations firm Sustain.

Matthew Foster
Art Director / Web Content Manager
(612) 870-3477

Foster is responsible for the visual designs, architecture, content, usability and management of IATP's Web sites and most of its print publications. A human-communications habitué since junior high, Foster came to IATP in 2003 after serving at a variety of organizations, including his hometown newspaper in South Dakota, a translation agency, a public radio network, a legal advocacy group, several performing arts organizations and a market research firm. His design work has been noted on the pages of the Star Tribune
, Pioneer Press and by the South Dakota Better Newspapers Association.

Tyson Acker
Senior Programmer
(612) 870-3425

Acker is responsible for application development, infrastructure and the upkeep of IATP's Web sites, servers and local area network. Though no stranger to computers as a student, Acker first encountered IATP while earning a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Gustavus Adolphus College. He joined the team as an intern in 2000 and has been a full-time staffer since 2001. Outside the office, Acker enjoys nothing more than crashing bicycles all over the Twin Cities metro area at all times of year.

This organization takes volunteers, interns, and employees.  Positions are routinely listed on the website, and the website can be checked frequently. 





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