On the Ground


Our Team shares a combined 200 years of experience in animal husbandry.

We are dedicated, passionate people who have spent a lifetime working in agriculture.


Our staff are adept at all forms of standards verifications - from navigating the most sophisticated digitized systems to communicating with the Amish and Mennonite farmers of the Midwest and Northeast.

  • Rachel (Prickett) Burke

    Director of Certification

    Rachel Burke lives and works in Philomath, Oregon in the heart of the verdant Willamette Valley. She earned a B.S. in Animal Sciences from Oregon State University and owned a pasture-based, multi-species farm and mobile chicken processing company prior to joining EarthClaims.

    Rachel values putting her years of animal agriculture experience toward building strong partnerships with farmers and ranchers to help expand their marketplace through welfare claims substantiation. She cares deeply about building consumer confidence in the origin and welfare status of the meat and dairy products they purchase. In her free time she enjoys exploring the outdoors with her two young children, distance running, Oregon wine, and cooking.

  • Sarah Dorward

    Audit Services Manager

    A career in animal agriculture was always in the cards for Audit Services Manager Sarah. Her love for animals led her to taking a highschool job with a veterinary clinic, then onto Pennsylvania State University where she earned a degree in Animal Sciences with a focus in large animal production. 

    Sarah began her career with Penn State Cooperative Extension before joining the EarthClaims team in 2014.

    Sarah spent 6 years inspecting farms throughout North America and now serves as EarthClaims’ primary contact for farmers seeking to apply for verification services. Sarah is continually impressed with the way American farmers and ranchers apply their ingenuity and resourcefulness to successfully raise animals to the highest standards of care. When she’s not at EarthClaims Sarah runs her own photography business in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley and enjoys running and gardening.

  • Malissa Lucas

    Special Projects Lead/Chief Auditor

    Malissa was raised on a fourth-generation crop farm in northeastern Pennsylvania.  She graduated from Penn State with a major in Agricultural Science and minors in Agronomy, Animal Science, Equine Science, and Leadership Development. 


    Malissa's passions include working with farmers and bridging the gap between producer and consumer.  When she isn't traveling for EarthClaims, Malissa helps manage her family's business and farm markets.

  • Jake Ruffing


    Jake hails from Bellevue Ohio, helping on the family cattle farm.


    He enjoy traveling to new places for work, especially out West. Jake believes in the impact of these certifications to support and improve the bottom line for livestock producers across the US, and how these niche markets for animal protein will help the diversity of the agriculture industry and provide more opportunity for its producers to succeed. 

  • Nathan Koester

    Program Compliance Manager

    Nathan joined the EarthClaims team in 2019. He grew up on a fifth-generation certified organic dairy farm in Northwest Illinois. His farming background and prior experience with verification systems gives him a common-sense approach to on-farm certification.


    Nathan is an advocate for third-party verification, which allows farmers at all sizes of business to increase their product’s transparency and integrity in a sometimes-clouded marketplace. In the consumer driven agricultural market, producers must find ways to add value and trust to their products, and third-party verification is a great way to do so. When Nathan is not out on the road, he enjoys getting back to the family farm, as well as playing with the farm dog Willie.

Heather Stiles


Heather Stiles is a 4th generation cattle rancher who has been involved in all aspects of the cattle business.  Raised on a ranch in South Texas, she developed a love for agriculture at an early age.  She graduated The University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Finance and proceeded to concentrate on the futures market, trading speculative and hedging positions for large producers and hedge funds. 


Heather enjoys meeting producers and exposure to new ideas and operations on the farms and ranches.  In her spare time, she enjoys riding and training horses in multiple disciplines.

Kate Stoner


Kate was raised on a beef farm and horse hay operation in northern Pennsylvania. She showed beef cattle nationally and also raised 4-H and FFA market pigs and sheep. She attended Penn State University, obtained a B.S in Agricultural Sciences with a minor in Animal Science. Kate was a member of the Livestock Judging Team and worked at the University’s beef and swine farms. Upon graduation, she moved to Massachusetts, taking a position at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, splitting her time between the farrow to finish swine unit, managing the sheep flock and teaching hands-on husbandry and livestock management courses to the vet students. Prior to joining EarthClaims, Kate was a service technician for a large Pennsylvania poultry integrator, where she managed 12-16 farms.

In her spare time, she grows seasonal cut flowers for local event designers, attends her husband’s crate late model races and loves crabbing and fishing on their boat on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Chincoteague.

Laura Dietrich


Laura is from Berks County, Pennsylvania where she first got involved with agriculture on her grandparents’ dairy farm and in her county's 4-H horse program. Laura attended Penn State University where she was a member of the Penn State Berks Equestrian Team, Penn State Horse Judging Team, Penn State Dairy Science Club and a sister of Delta Theta Sigma, an agricultural fraternity. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in Animal Science in 2019 and joined the  EarthClaims team a short while later.. Laura enjoys making connections with the producers she meets while inspecting farms. 


In her free time Laura serves as a volunteer for her home county 4-H program where she assists with the science program as well as their annual summer camp.

Elaine Fowlkes


Elaine’s interest in livestock and equines began in her youth when she started riding and training horses. After graduating from Oregon State University, she worked on farms and ranches throughout Oregon and Massachusetts that specialized in direct marketing meat to consumers looking for a grass-fed product. Upon returning to rural western Oregon, she started a farm and began raising broiler chickens and pastured pork. The experience of owning and operating her own farm gave her a deeper understanding of the challenges and successes  producers face every day. 


In her work as a reviewer and occasional auditor with EarthClaims, Elaine appreciates that she can play a part in supporting producers to get the most from their hard work raising animals in high welfare systems. In her free time, she enjoys canoeing with her family on the many scenic rivers Oregon has to offer.

Emily Schuerbaum


 Emily is from south central Minnesota and has a background in dairy cattle and sheep. She enjoys traveling all over the country and having the opportunity to see different styles of farming and ranching. She loves that EarthClaims is helping consumers understand where their meat is coming from. 


In her free time Emily enjoys traveling with her husband, snowboarding and playing with her dogs.

Jessi Adcock


 Jessi grew up on a small hobby farm in the woods of West Virginia. She attended Berea College where she received a B.S. in Agriculture and Natural Resources with a minor in Sustainability and Environmental Studies. 


Being a lover of both animals and wilderness, Jessi was concerned with the rhetoric she often heard surrounding livestock agriculture and its environmental impact. In her interactions with producers and the public, she also felt the tangible disconnect between the people making decisions about land and those whose actual boots were on the ground everyday. In an effort to learn more about commercial scale livestock, Jessi began working on farms and ranches during her breaks from college and after graduation. To date, she has worked on 9 conservation-focused livestock operations in 5 U.S. States and 2 counties in Ireland. While most of her experience is in beef cattle production, she has also worked with sheep, dairy cattle, pastured laying hens, and hogs.

Savannah Robar


Savannah grew up engaged in organic food production and participating in FFA and ultimately decided to pursue a career in agriculture. She attended Berry College in Georgia and then went on to work on a bison ranch in South Dakota before finally moving to Southeastern Colorado, where she is currently based on a grass-fed beef and lamb operation. Savannah primarily has experience working with Beefmaster, Highland and Angus cattle in both pasture and feedlot settings, but she has also worked raising and processing broiler chickens, pigs, and sheep.


Savannah joined EarthClaims in 2019, and when she's not conducting audits she runs a small flock of laying hens and manages a CSA during the summer and fall. In her free time, Savannah enjoys exploring the prairie on foot or horseback, hiking in the summer, reading and knitting, and is currently learning how to process wool for fiber. What Savannah loves most about working for EarthClaims is the opportunity to support and connect with other local farmers and ranchers in a way that encourages sustainability.

Jason Marshall


Jason lives and works on his cattle ranch in Blanchard, Oklahoma. Having grown up on a multi-species farm in Wisconsin, he enjoys helping ranchers and farmers bridge the gap between producers and consumers. Jason has been traveling across the US for the last 3 years serving producers in order to enable them to maximize their return on investment.

When not auditing, Jason enjoys spending time with his family, hunting, and helping others in his community build a better future. 

Kristina Lopez

Certification Assistant

Certification Assistant Kristina Lopez lives and works in Oregon with her husband, 2 daughters and 3 dogs. Kristina joined the EarthClaims in 2020 and brings 20 years of operational management and administrative experience to the team.  


Kristina enjoys working with animals and runs a non-profit dog rescue in her free time when she’s not on the softball field with her daughters.

Amanda Pufall


Amanda is from Guelph, Ontario and has had a passion for animals from a young age. She translated this passion into her education, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Bioscience from the University of Saskatchewan in 2017. Wanting a career in animal agriculture, Amanda did a Master’s degree in Animal Science at the University of Guelph, studying the effects of rearing environment on the locomotion and musculoskeletal characteristics of layer pullets. Having just defended in May of 2020, Amanda is looking forward to taking her knowledge and applying it to industry. 

Aside from auditing, Amanda continues to help with on-going projects in her graduate research lab. In her spare time, she follows her passion for horses through riding, competing, and volunteering for a local Pony Club. 

Ashleigh Waz


Ashleigh, who is from Ontario, Canada, has always had a passion for animals from a very young age. She earned a BSc in Animal Biology from the University of Guelph and went on to earn a MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. After graduating she worked as a contract auditor for EarthClaims for two years before deciding to take an opportunity that kept her closer to home as a research technician for Agriculture and Agrifood Canada’s Poultry Welfare Research Station.

Ashleigh has come back to auditing after taking 6 years off of work to raise her two sons. In her spare time, she enjoys being with her family and friends, watching and playing hockey, hiking, and baking.

John Rietema


John Rietema graduated from college at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was born and raised in Northwest Iowa where he currently lives and works. Growing up, he developed a love for farming and agriculture at a very young age when he started helping his grandpa with crop harvest. John joined the local 4-H as well as the FFA program to continue his love for agriculture. He enjoys creating relationships with farmers as well as learning about their production and marketing procedures. When he is not doing audits for EarthClaims, John enjoys cooking, as well as preparing his farmland for spring and fall crop work.

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