Farm Foundation® Welcomes June 2022 Cultivators Program Cohort


Farm Foundation, an accelerator of practical solutions for agriculture, has announced its latest cohort of Cultivators to present at an upcoming Round Table Event. Twice a year, Farm Foundation gathers professionals from across the food and agriculture value chain to promote discussion and interaction among thought leaders in government, academics, agribusiness, and other interest groups.

The Cultivators Program gives the next generation of agribusiness leaders a seat at the table. Cultivators, who may be undergraduate or graduate students, are selected from a competitive pool of applicants from accredited North American colleges or universities. Students are nominated by their college dean or department head.

Each Cultivator is connected with a Farm Foundation Round Table participant who acts as a mentor for the meeting, letting students know what to expect and making sure they are interacting with other attendees. Cultivators are expected to participate in all aspects of the meeting and present a poster representing a key aspect of their studies.

“This dynamic group of Cultivators is working on concepts of paramount importance to agriculture today,” says Jenna Wicks, program manager at Farm Foundation. “We look forward to learning more about their research at our June 2022 Round Table meeting in Boise.”

Cultivators selected for June 2022 are:

Rio Bonham
Oklahoma State University
Rio is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biosystems engineering at Oklahoma State University. His research interest lies in the field of water resources and sustainable agriculture, and he plans to pursue a doctoral degree in agricultural and biological engineering or a related field, focusing on water resources and hydrology.

Nipuna Chamara
University of Nebraska
Nipuna is in the second year of his doctoral program in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, where he holds a master’s degree in agricultural and biological systems engineering. Prior to joining UNL, he was a lecturer in the Biosystems Engineering Department at the Wayamba University of Sri Lanka. He is working on developing IoT edge computing devices for accurate field crop evapotranspiration estimation.

Chloe Eggert
Auburn University
Chloe is pursuing a master’s degree in crops, soils, and environmental science from Auburn University, where she is studying the biogeochemistry of geographically isolated wetlands with agricultural watersheds in Southwestern Georgia. During her undergraduate studies in environmental and ecological sciences at Elon University, she researched drought tolerance of wetland plants in the Outer Banks, North Carolina.

Payton Flower
University of Nebraska
In the fall, Payton will be attending The University of Arkansas School of Law. She recently received her Bachelor of Science in agricultural economics with a public policy option and a minor in leadership and communication from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her senior thesis focused on rural broadband in Nebraska.

Elizabeth Haymaker
Oklahoma State University
Elizabeth is pursuing a doctoral degree in rangeland ecology and management from Oklahoma State University. The objective of her dissertation research is to understand patterns and consequences of belowground plant attributes, linking drought resilience traits and microbial symbioses to management of rangelands and dryland agriculture. She is a National Science Foundation Fellow.

Hope Miller
University of Florida
Hope is pursuing her master’s degree in forest resources and conservation from the University of Florida, where she also received her bachelor’s degree. Her studies and research focus on natural resources outreach and communication in the southeastern U.S., with particular emphasis on increasing prescribed fire awareness.

The Farm Foundation Round Table is an invitation‐only group of thought leaders, policy makers, and influential figures from a broad cross‐section of the food and agriculture value chain. The group, with invited guests, meets twice a year to discuss issues of importance to agribusiness, the food system, and rural communities. Round Table discussions also generate new ideas for Farm Foundation project work. By attending these events, student Cultivators have the unique opportunity to interact with leaders in today’s food and agriculture sector. Learn more at

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