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The Northwest Farm Credit Services Board of Directors shall consist of not more than 15 members. Each director is elected by the voting membership (customer-stockholders), representing one of the 11 geographic voting regions that constitute Northwest FCS' operating territory. Up to four directors are appointed by the board. Three of these board-appointed directors can be outside directors, and cannot be customer-members, customer-stockholders, employees or agents of any Farm Credit institution.
One of the outside directors is designated as a “financial expert” to bring independence and financial, accounting and audit expertise to the board and chairs the board’s Audit Committee. The other outside director positions are used to bring an outside, independent perspective and other areas of expertise to enhance board oversight capabilities. The fourth board-appointed director position is a customer-stockholder who provides representation of market segments not currently represented by the elected director positions or brings additional skills or knowledge to the board.
The board operates with four committees - Audit, Human Resources, Risk, and Governance. These committees provide focus and expertise in key areas of board oversight and enhance efficiency of board meetings. All policies and major initiatives are reviewed by one of these committees, with actions recommended to the full board for approval. Each committee has a charter outlining the committee’s purpose, duties, responsibilities and authorities. This committee structure enhances the overall effectiveness of the board’s oversight. Committees generally meet as part of regularly scheduled board meetings and conduct conference calls as needed.

Board Chair

Nate RiggersNate Riggers – Nezperce, Idaho

Nate Riggers is manager and partner of Riggers Clearwater Farms J.V., a dryland wheat, barley, canola and grass seed farm. He is also a partner in Cold Stream Malt & Grain Co., which grows and processes malt barley and sells finished craft malt to breweries throughout the Pacific Northwest. He’s been a Farm Credit customer for over 27 years. Riggers was re-elected in 2019; his term expires in 2024.


Board Vice Chair

John HelleJohn 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 2022; his term expires in 2027.


Christy Burmeister-SmithChristy Burmeister-Smith – Bellingham, 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 DeBruyckerNels 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. DoverspikeSusan 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.


Vicki EggebrechtVicki Eggebrecht – Malta, Montana

Vicki Eggebrecht and her husband owned Eggebrecht Farming Company for over 25 years and raised wheat, peas, lentils, chickpeas and hay. She has also operated several custom farming operations including harvesting, haying, spraying and trucking, and is a Certified Public Accountant. She sits on the boards of Phillips County Hospital, Mustang Foundation and Phillips County Community Foundation. Eggebrecht was elected in 2021; her term expires in 2026.


Duane M. (Skip) Gray

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.

Greg HiraiGreg 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.


Beth Kennar – Spokane, Washington

Beth Kennar has practiced law for more than 25 years as partner with Summit Law Group, where she has advised public and private employers, including their governing boards, on key human resource issues involving senior executives and organizational policy. She recently moved to Of Counsel-Attorney with Summit Law Group. She previously served as SVP-Human Resources and Associate General Counsel for Red Lion Hotels Corporation advising their board and Compensation Committee on key employment issues. She was appointed in 2021; her term expires in 2026. 

Bill MartinBill 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.

Derek SchaferDerek 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 re-elected in 2022; his term expires in 2027.

Shawn Walters

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 2021; his term expires in 2026.



Andy Werkhoven – Monroe, Washington

Andy Werkhoven operates two dairy operations and farms more than 1,500 acres for dairy forages, with a rotating mix of corn, grass, alfalfa, triticale and pasture. He also runs a digester business processing all of his operations’ manure and food waste from the Seattle area. He serves on the Qualco Energy Board and on the Executive Committee for Snohomish County Sustainable Land Strategies. Werkhoven was elected in 2021; his term expires in 2026.