Staff News

Sarah Lindblom, Tessa Parks, and Kate Sinnott.

Minnesota Crop Improvement Association is pleased to announce three recent additions to our staff.

Sarah Lindblom joined the Organic Services department in June in the role of organic certification specialist/inspector. Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a double major in management and human resources and international business. Sarah has been a farm owner since 2015, and for nearly ten years had a 40-member CSA. She regularly implements innovative soil health practices, including cover cropping, no-till, crop diversification, and perennial planting over a one-acre production area. She is also the board chair of the Crow River Chapter of the Sustainable Farming Association (SFA). In that role, Sarah advises farmers on how to improve soil health and sustainability practices, speaks at SFA events, and creates farmer-facing informational materials. Sarah’s prior work experience includes teaching middle school math.

Also in June, the Organic Services department welcomed an additional organic certification specialist/inspector, Tessa Parks. Tessa and her spouse have a small cattle and hay operation in southeast Minnesota where they raise steers from calf to butcher for direct market retail. They rent just over 25 acres of certified organic pasture and hay ground, which has given Tessa first-hand experience with organic regulations and the inspection process. Tessa holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from St. Olaf College. Her prior work experience includes employment as a chemist at Aurora Pharmaceutical. Tessa serves as a board member of the Just Food Co-op in Northfield and is the current Rice County Vice President of the Minnesota Farmers’ Union.

Kate Sinnott joined the staff of the MCIA Seed Laboratory in August in the role of seed technologist. Kate’s education includes a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from Macalester College, undergraduate coursework in biology at the University of Northern Iowa, and an M.S. in ecology from Utah State University. Her master’s research was on increasing capacity for the restoration of submerged and floating aquatic plants in the Intermountain West. Kate worked as a research assistant at Utah State University and the Tallgrass Prairie Center in Iowa, where she gained experience in seed-based ecosystem restoration. She has also performed seed germination and tetrazolium tests. Kate has a special passion for native seed species. She has propagated over 30 native prairie species from seed and cuttings. At the Tallgrass Prairie Center, she assisted in maintaining dozens of native prairie plants in grow-out plots.