Building on the success of its growing membership, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) is making two additions in its member services area. Rachel Aja of Buckeye, Ariz., will serve as southwest field representative, representing NCBA in Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico. Mark Wellman of Fowler, Ill., will serve as the east/central field representative, working primarily in Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois.
Both Aja and Wellman will join the NCBA team on Sept. 10. These additions will build on the recent momentum NCBA has achieved, with membership growing 9 percent nationwide over the past year. NCBA currently has 29,000 members.
"Our field representatives have played a big role in NCBA’s membership growth," says Illinois cattleman Steve Foglesong, the NCBA Policy Division chairman who also chairs the NCBA Membership Committee. "With membership on the rise, Rachel and Mark will help strengthen our position in the countryside. Field representatives not only help bring NCBA to the local level, but they provide a conduit for member input back to the organization."
Aja grew up in the beef business in Arizona, where her family still ranches. Most recently, she was deputy director of municipal affairs for the Arizona Homebuilders Association, where she worked as an advocate and lobbyist on behalf of the association’s builder-members. Previously, she was the southwest regional field representative for the Bush/Cheney campaign, generating support in Arizona and New Mexico. At the University of Arizona, she had a combined major in communications, journalism, and animal science, and interned with NCBA for several summers and at a Cattle Industry Convention.
Wellman brings nearly 20 years of experience in beef industry production and marketing to the NCBA team. This includes two years in beef cattle electronic identification, data collection, and data management, as well as 17 years in the livestock feed business with ADM/MoorMan’s.
Most recently, Wellman has been a territory sales manager for AgInfoLink USA, covering Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture with an animal science emphasis from University of Illinois. He and his family live on a small beef cattle operation.
Aja and Wellman bring the number of NCBA field representatives to five, joining three already in the field:
- Dan McCarty is the field representative in NCBA Region V, an area that includes Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
- Clay Edwards covers Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. Edwards also staffs NCBA's Livestock Marketing Council.
- Melanie Sojourner is field representative for NCBA Region II, which includes eight southeastern states.