GAP Connections Announces 2015 Board of Directors

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Nonprofit organization supporting best practices in agriculture welcomes newest board members of 2015 Board of Directors

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Our newest board members will be able to bring fresh new ideas and perspectives to the table in order to better support our farmers.

GAP Connections, a nonprofit organization aiming to create awareness and cultivate positive environmental and social impact through good agricultural practices, announced eight new members joining its Board of Directors.

The eight new GAP Connections board members are:

  • Wayne Crawford, U.S. Tobacco Cooperative, Inc., SVP, Leaf Acquisitions
  • Matthew Drake, Universal Leaf of North America
  • Kim Goble, U.S. Agro Logistics, Operations Manager
  • Linda McMurtry, Hail and Cotton
  • Xinglin Ou, TH Int’l Tobacco Company, President
  • Al Pedigo, Burley Tobacco Grower
  • Tim Yarbrough, Tobacco Grower Association of North Carolina, President
  • Jie He, China Tobacco International (North America), Vice President

“Our newest board members will be able to bring fresh new ideas and perspectives to the table in order to better support our farmers,” said Jane Starnes, executive director of GAP Connections. “With their backgrounds and experience, I anticipate an even higher level of improvement in good agricultural practices for our farmers.”

Each new board member will be serving a three-year term, joining the nine remaining board members, which include Ward Anderson, JTI; Frank Geovannello, Altria; Jeff Griffin, Alliance One International; Randy Henderson, Swisher International; Bill Maksymowicz, Burley Stabilization Corporation; Chuck Neeley, Gallatin Redrying and Storage; Robbie Parker, R. J. Reynolds (Chairman); Pat Raines, Burley Tobacco Growers Coop; and Dennis Springs, United Tobacco Company.

GAP Connections partners with farmers, paying close attention to the tobacco industry, in order to maintain compliance across the board through Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). GAP Connections provides farmers with the necessary resources, such as crop production education and guidelines, managing land use, protecting the environment, ensuring the rights of farm laborers, and simple procedures coordinated with industry buyers and manufacturers.

To learn more about the GAP Connections program, GAP Connections membership, and its Board of Directors, please call 865-622-4606 or visit

About GAP Connections
GAP Connections acts as a clearinghouse between tobacco growers and manufacturers while developing, maintaining, and providing leadership for industry agricultural standards and practices. GAP Connections strives to create connections between: growers and educational opportunities; manufacturers and growers; and industry entities and potential partners. GAP provides growers with the best standards in agricultural practices needed to produce a quality crop while protecting, sustaining or enhancing the environment. To contact GAP Connections, call 865-622-4606 or visit


For additional information, contact:
Heather Ripley
Ripley PR
hripley (at) ripleypr (dot) com

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Heather Ripley
Ripley PR
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