Veronica Nigh

Veronica Nigh joined The Fertilizer Institute as Senior Economist in December 2023. She previously served as a Senior Economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and an International Economist at the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.

Veronica grew up in agriculture in the Show-Me state. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics with minors in Political Science and International Agriculture from the University of Missouri and a Master of Science in Economics from American University.

Jason Troendle

Jason Troendle joined TFI in March 2021. He supports the institute’s efforts by formulating statistical information for the industry and providing market analysis on the agriculture and fertilizer industry.

Jason earned a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics from Kansas State University and completed his Master’s degree in Applied Economics and Management with a focus in Food and Agriculture at Cornell University.

Prior to joining TFI, Jason worked at The Context Network, an agriculture consulting firm, and the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) leading their market intelligence and research efforts. He has a strong connection to agriculture growing up in rural Minnesota and being actively involved in the National FFA Organization. 

Reagan Giesenschlag

Reagan Giesenschlag serves as Manager of Government Affairs at The Fertilizer Institute. After interning at TFI during the fall of 2021, she joined the policy team full-time in January 2022. In her role at TFI, she is responsible for tracking a variety of policy issues and engaging in advocacy efforts on behalf of TFI members.  

Reagan is a Texas native and graduated in the spring of 2021 from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Biological and Agricultural Engineering.

Melissa Bigge

Melissa Bigge is currently the Education Program Manager with the FERT Foundation . Melissa started with the Nutrients for Life Foundation (NFL) in 2015 and served as the Kansas Regional Representative until the 2023 founding of the FERT Foundation. Prior to her time with NFL she spent 6 years as a Program Technician for the Ellis and Rooks County Farm Service Agency offices. She graduated from Kansas State University with Bachelor’s Degrees in Agricultural Communications and Animal Science. Bigge lives in Stockton, Kansas with her husband and son where they have a cow/calf operation, meat market and a farming operation where they grow primarily wheat, grain sorghum, and forage sorghum.

Morgaine Mertz-Myers

Morgaine Mertz-Myers, originally from northern Virginia, serves as the Manager of Communications for The Fertilizer Institute since 2022. Morgaine graduated Summa Cum Laude with an A.A. in Communication from Northern Virginia Community College in 2020. She then went on to earn a B.A. in Communication, also graduating Summa Cum Laude, from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, in 2022.

During her time at Marymount University, Morgaine engaged in extensive research focusing on food security, combining her communications expertise with a passion for addressing global challenges. Her work aimed to find innovative ways to disseminate important information about food security to a broader audience.

Prior to joining The Fertilizer Institute, Morgaine gained international experience by working for Apple Computers in Cork, Ireland. The skills and perspectives she gained there have further equipped her to excel in her current role, where she is responsible for effectively communicating the institute’s mission and vision to both industry stakeholders and the public.

Teresa Michael

Teresa Michael has served as the Digital Engagement Manager at The Fertilizer Institute since the start of 2023. At TFI, Teresa’s responsibilities encompass web page development, managing social media presence, and crafting diverse creative materials that help foster an appreciation for the fertilizer industry and an understanding of its issues. With a professional background spanning back to 2018, she has been deeply involved in the world of design, working across different mediums and industries.

Teresa earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Studies from the University of Virginia in December 2022.

Harriet Wegmeyer

Harriet serves as Executive Director of the FERT Foundation. Harriet was Executive Director of the Nutrients for Life Foundation from 2008 through the 2023 founding of the FERT Foundation. Harriet directs the day-to-day activities of the Foundation, including its strategic planning, educational efforts and fundraising initiatives. Her previous professional experiences include Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Association, the U.S. Apple Association, and The Fertilizer Institute.

Harriet is passionate about the value of soil nutrients and sees their impact every day on her strawberry, raspberry, blackberry and pumpkin farm. She is a graduate of Cornell University, and native of Coldenham, N.Y. She resides in Hamilton, Va., with her husband and three sons.

Valerie Sutton

Valerie Sutton is the Director of Member Services and Conferences at The Fertilizer Institute where she manages conference registrations, oversees the membership database, coordinates and tracks membership invoices, and manages accounts receivable.

Val joined TFI in 1985. Prior to her current position at TFI, Sutton served as the Secretary to the Vice President of Public Affairs and the Assistant to the Vice President of Economics.

Tom Lynch

Tom Lynch is Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.  With more than 30 years of experience, he has worked across a range of sectors including trade associations, federal and state government, lobbying, law, and private industry.  Before joining TFI, Lynch was Vice President of Congressional Affairs for the American Short Line and Regional Railroads Association.  As a congressional staffer, he served as Subcommittee Staff Director on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee; Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT); and, Legislative Director for U.S. Representative Nick Rahall (D-WV).  As a lawyer, he spent seven years in the Washington D.C., office of Indianapolis-headquartered Ice Miller LLP.  Prior to that, he was Vice President and General Counsel for the National Tank Truck Carriers, the trade association of bulk highway carriers.  Additionally, he has worked in all three branches of state government, and prior to attending law school, he was also Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Allwaste Container Services, Inc. a $51 million division within Allwaste, Inc., a NYSE publicly-traded company. 

Tiffany Ballow

Tiffany Thibodeaux Ballow was brought on to TFI as the Events Manager in 2023. She has served as the Louisiana Regional Representative and Program Manager for the Nutrients for Life Foundation since 2013. She enjoys getting back into the classroom educating students and teachers about the importance of agriculture and fertilizer’s role in food production as we feed the growing world population. Growing up in the city, Tiffany understands how urban and suburban students can be detached from the importance of farming and how plant and soil science needs to introduced into these classrooms.

Tiffany’s role at NFL involves developing and presenting teacher professional development workshops and educating students. She creates and maintains teacher and industry relationships in the community as well as distributes Nutrients For Life resources.

Tiffany graduated from the University of New Orleans with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Southeastern Louisiana University with a master’s degree in Psychology before beginning her career as an administrator in the school system. Tiffany resides in Belle Chasse, LA, with her husband and three sons.