Whether out in the fields or in the office, our expert staff are dedicated to growing the organic movement and assisting farmers through rigorous research, education, and outreach.
Chief Executive Officer
Jeff Tkach, Rodale Institute’s Chief Executive Officer, is on a mission to reconnect humans with the earth.
Tkach is responsible for leading the organization’s growth, impact, and strategic planning, and is committed to advancing the Institute’s world-renowned research and education on regenerative organic agriculture. In this role as CEO, Tkach leads a global workforce dedicated to advancing innovations in regenerative organic agriculture. His management portfolio includes strategic planning, overseeing the Institute’s twelve campus operations in the U.S. and Europe, directing research investments, and supervising the organization’s education programs.
Before assuming the Institute’s most senior leadership position, Tkach served as Rodale Institute’s Chief Impact Officer. He also served on the Institute’s Board of Directors in 2016, where he was instrumental in fostering relationships between the organization and business leaders in the organic food industry.
Jeff Moyer is a world-renowned authority in organic agriculture. His expertise includes organic crop production systems with a focus on weed management, cover crops, crop rotations, equipment modification and use, and facilities design. Jeff is perhaps most well-known for conceptualizing and popularizing the No Till Roller Crimper for use in organic agriculture. His vast experience and knowledge regarding organic farming has provided the media with a reliable source and perspective for information on current agricultural issues.
Jeff has been on staff at Rodale Institute for over 44 years. He spent over 30 years as Farm Manager/Director, was appointed as Executive Director of the Institute in September 2015, and became CEO in September of 2019. Jeff was project leader on the highly acclaimed Organic No-Till project and is the author of two books on this subject: “Organic No-Till Farming – Advancing No-Till Agriculture Crops, Soil, Equipment” and “Roller/Crimper No-Till – Advancing No-Till Agriculture.” He is a past chair of the National Organic Standards Board and currently sits on the boards of Regenerative Organic Alliance, the Soil Health Institute and advisory board of The Real Organic Project. Jeff is a founding board member of Pennsylvania Certified Organic and past Founder and Board Chair of The Seed Farm, a new farmer incubator project.
Dean of Education
Renée Baran serves as Rodale Institute’s Dean of Education, advancing the Institute’s efforts to educate the next generation of regenerative organic farmers and agricultural professionals to meet the increasing demand in the organic market.
Baran has spent her career building and managing educational programs. She couples this experience with a strategic mindset, deep commitment to student learning and love of the environment. Through on-site farmer training programs, university partnerships, consumer education workshops, online courses and webinars, as well as regenerative healthcare education, she leads the effort to teach regenerative organic practices across the US and abroad.
Vice President of People and Culture
Becca Kahle has over 30 years of human resource experience in the healthcare, insurance, telecommunications, and software industries. Becca manages all the people-related functions of Rodale Institute and enjoys working with each team member to make a difference in their professional life as they work to make regenerative organic agriculture the norm.
Executive Vice President, Chief Finance and Administration Officer
Elaine manages the Institute’s budget, all aspects of the organization’s finances, internal controls and human resources for the organization. She has more than 17 years of experience in finance and significant expertise in nonprofit accounting.
Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Andrew Smith oversees the research and farm operations at Rodale Institute and is passionate about growing the organic movement by providing science-based solutions to farmers and facilitating opportunities to expand the number of organic farmers and farmland across the globe. He has over twenty years of experience working in the organic industry as an agronomist, researcher, and farmer. While trained as an entomologist, his motive for entering the organic industry was to reduce the use of chemicals for food production that end up in our environment, food, and bodies. He now has the opportunity to support an amazing group of dedicated people working diligently on many projects to transform the food system and the way we farm to improve the lives and health of all people and the planet. He also continues to live and work on his own organic family farm.
Chief Impact Officer
Jessica Student serves as Rodale Institute’s Chief Impact Officer, leading the Institute’s Development, Marketing, and Communications divisions. She also oversees the Institute’s capital campaign.
Student is an accomplished non-profit marketing and strategy executive. In her previous roles at both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, she was recognized for intersecting strategic thinking and effective execution. Her expertise in developing innovative brand strategies and robust marketing campaigns advances Rodale Institute’s efforts to broaden the successful adoption of regenerative organic agriculture in the United States and abroad.