The Northwest Farm Credit Services Board of Directors is composed of 14 members. Eleven directors are customers of Northwest FCS and are elected by the rest of the voting membership to represent one of 11 geographic regions that makes up Northwest FCS' operating territory.
Three directors are appointed by the other members of the board. Two of these appointed directors are outside directors and cannot be customers, stockholders, employees or agents of any Farm Credit institution. These directors are selected to bring specialized finance, accounting, audit, human resource or executive compensation expertise to the board. The third appointed director position is a customer, bringing desired background or knowledge of the industries we serve but which might not be represented by elected directors.
Greg Hirai – Wendell, Idaho
Greg Hirai operates a 4,500-acre farm in southern Idaho producing potatoes, corn, alfalfa, wheat and barley as well as a variety of potatoes for processing, and corn, alfalfa and triticale as feed for local dairies. He serves on the boards of the North Side Canal Company and the Lower Snake River Aquifer Recharge District. Hirai was re-elected in 2019; his term expires in 2024.
Board Vice Chair
John Helle – Dillon, Montana
John Helle operates a large commercial and purebred sheep operation, runs cow/calf pairs and farms small grains and hay. He is a member of Mountain States Lamb Co-op, serves on two advisory committees for the Montana State University Animal and Range Science Department representing the Montana Wool Growers Association, as well as the Public Lands Committee for the American Sheep Industry, representing them at the National Public Lands Council. He is a member of the Montana Stock Grower’s Association, Montana Farm Bureau and Southwestern Montana Stockman’s Association. Helle was re-elected in 2017; his term expires in 2022.
Christy Burmeister-Smith – Newman Lake, Washington
Christy Burmeister-Smith is the designated “financial expert” on the board. Burmeister-Smith retired from Avista Corporation in Spokane, Washington, in 2015 after 35 years of service. Her last role at Avista Corporation was Vice President, Controller and Principal Accounting Officer. Burmeister-Smith was re-appointed as an outside director in 2020; her term expires in 2025.
Nels J DeBruycker – Choteau, Montana
Nels DeBruycker, a third-generation farmer/rancher, owns and operates a cow/calf, dryland and irrigated hay, grain and horse operation in three counties in Montana. A Northwest FCS customer since 1980, he served nine years as a Local Advisory Committee member, including two years as chairman. DeBruycker was elected in 2018; his term expires in 2023.
Susan K. Doverspike – Burns, Oregon
Susan Doverspike and her husband own and operate a cattle ranch in the high desert near Burns, Oregon. She’s been a Farm Credit customer for 30 years and most recently served as a Northwest FCS Local Advisor for the Redmond office. Doverspike is on the board of directors of Harney District Hospital and a member of Oregon Cattlemen's Association; Harney County Farm Bureau; Oregon Farm Bureau; and Oregon CattleWomen Association. She was re-elected in 2020; her term expires in 2025.
Duane M. (Skip) Gray – Albany, Oregon
Skip Gray owns and operates a diversified crop production business that produces vegetable and flower seeds, processed vegetables, peppermint, hazelnuts and grass seed. He’s been a Farm Credit customer for 34 years and has served on the Salem Local Advisory Committee. He has also served as treasurer for the Specialty Seed Growers of Western Oregon; past chair of the Farm Service Agency County Committee; a member of the Government Affairs Committee of Albany Area Chamber of Commerce; past president of the Association of Agricultural Professional Executives; and a participant of The Executive Program for Agriculture Producers. Gray was re-elected in 2020; his term expires in 2025.
Dave Hedlin – Mount Vernon, Washington
Dave Hedlin raises vegetable seed, pickling cucumbers, pumpkins and wheat and serves on the boards of Northwest Ag Research Foundation, Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland, Skagit Valley Culinary Arts and is commissioner of Skagit County Dike District #9. Hedlin was re-elected in 2016; his term expires in 2021.
Bill Martin – Rufus, Oregon
Bill Martin is co-owner and president of Martin Farms comprising 10,000 acres of dryland wheat and 700 irrigated acres, including 150 certified-organic acres. They grow alfalfa, bluegrass seed, tealeaf mint, garlic, seed wheat, organic herbs, and run a cow calf operation. He has been a Farm Credit customer for 20 years and most recently served as a Northwest FCS Local Advisor for the Dalles office. Martin is also director of Mid-Columbia Producers, a farmer-owned cooperative. Bill was elected in 2020; his term expires in 2025
Dave Nisbet – Bay Center, Washington
Dave Nisbet grows Pacific oysters and owns a shellfish processing plant. Nisbet is a director of the Pacific Shellfish Institute, Advisory Board Member of Oregon State University Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station-COMES, and is a member of the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association. Nisbet is a board-appointed stockholder director. He was re-appointed by the board in 2017; his term expires in 2022.
Nate Riggers – Nezperce, Idaho
Nate Riggers is manager and partner of Riggers Clearwater Farms J.V., a dryland wheat, barley, canola and grass seed farm. Riggers was re-elected in 2019; his term expires in 2024.
Derek Schafer – Ritzville, Washington
Derek Schafer is a full-time farmer on his family’s fifth-generation grain farm and president of the Family Plow, Inc. and Homestead Family Grain Co.; vice president of Schafer Ranch Ltd and More Prophet Seeding, Ltd.; and treasurer of Fields & Furrows Inc. In the 14 years he has been a Northwest FCS customer, he has served as a local advisor and was a member of the Northwest FCS Nominating Committee in 2013. Schafer is also a board member of Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association, treasurer of the Adams County Association of Wheat Growers, and lifetime member of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers. Schafer was elected in 2017; his term expires in 2022.
Karen Schott – Broadview, Montana
Karen Schott raises winter wheat, spring wheat, peas and safflower. She also manages a lease pasture operation. Schott serves as secretary of the family farming operation, Bar Four F Ranch, Inc. She is a member of the advisory committee to the Montana Southern Ag Research Station and president of the Broadview Community Center board. She served as a board member of CoBank from 2016-2019 (CoBank is a cooperative bank serving agribusiness, rural infrastructure providers and Farm Credit associations throughout the U.S.). Schott was re-elected in 2016; her term expires in 2021.
Julie Shiflett – Spokane, Washington
Julie Shiflett is designated as the alternate to the designated “financial expert” on the Northwest FCS board. She serves as EVP, CFO and Treasurer of RLH Corporation, overseeing all financial aspects of the company including financial planning and analysis, accounting and reporting as well as managing the tax, internal audit, treasury and investor-relations functions. She is also the founding partner of Northwest CFO, providing financial guidance/analysis to publicly held and emerging companies. She currently serves on the board of directors of American Chemet Corporation (Audit Committee Chair), Morrison-Maierle (Audit Committee Chair) and Keller Associates. Shiflett is an outside director appointed by the board. She was re-appointed in 2018; her term expires in 2023.
Shawn Walters – Teton, Idaho
Shawn Walters operates a family farm and fresh pack potato facility, and grows wheat, barley, alfalfa and potatoes. He serves as a director of the Enterprise Canal. Walters was re-elected in 2016; his term expires in 2021.