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.
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 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 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’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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.