Thank you for taking the time to get to know AAW leadership. The officers are elected to two year terms at our annual Convention in the fall.
Heather Hampton-Knodle, President
As a farmer, past communications consultant and association manager, Heather Hampton+Knodle is dedicated to developing rural economies through incentivizing investments in telecommunications, innovative workforce development and enabling entrepreneurship and leadership development. Heather was the founding chairman of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, the Central Illinois Economic Development Authority and the Montgomery CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) program. She currently serves as the appointed Chairman of the Examining Current and Future Connectivity Demand for Precision Agriculture Working Group of the Federal Communications Commission Precision Agriculture Task Force; on the advisory boards for AIFARMS and SCI Prairieworks; and as a Citizen Member appointee to Illinois Governor’s Rural Affairs Council. Heather farms with her husband Brian where they and their four children, ages 13-20, grow corn, soybeans, and wheat and manage a small herd of black Angus cattle. Since Heather joined Illinois Agri-Women 1995, she has served as Illinois affiliate Secretary and President, chaired the program and planning for three national conventions, served as AAW Secretary, First Vice President, Governmental Issues Chairman, Farm Bill Task Force Chairman, Water Resources and Rural Development Chairman. Heather is a 2008 recipient of the AAW LEAVEN Award and 2004 recipient of the AAW President’s Award.
Rose Tryon, First Vice President
Vital Issues and Membership
California Women for Agriculture
Rose Tryon grew up on a beef, dairy & potato ranch. She is a fifth-generation farmer on her father’s side of the family and a third-generation Portuguese immigrant and farmer on her mother’s side. Rose and her husband, Michael VanCott, are actively involved in operating her family farm in Del Norte County, California.
Rose is a retired District Attorney investigator who specialized in child abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence investigations. She is also a full-charge bookkeeper specializing in agricultural accounting.
Rose served as the 25th State President of California Women for Agriculture. In addition, she served in multiple capacities at the affiliate’s state and local levels. She has been active in American Agri Women since 2011. She served six years on the American Agri Women foundation board of directors. In addition, she has served as the AAW Natural Resources Co-Director for the past several years. Rose is a 2022 recipient of the AAW LEAVEN award.
In 2018 Rose and her husband, Michael, lost their home in the devastating forest fire that destroyed the town of Paradise, California. They have rebuilt their home in Paradise. In November 2020, Rose was elected to the Paradise Town Council and currently serves as Vice Mayor. She represents the town of Paradise on the Butte County Air Quality Management District Governing Board and the Butte County Association of Governments.
She has a unique background and work experience in farming and law enforcement. Rose enjoys collaborating with people from diverse social and economic backgrounds and is a longtime advocate for the health of rural communities.
Laura Hart, Vice President – Communications
Laura and her husband, Vic, live on their farm west of Hart, Texas. Vic takes care of the farming while Laura does the farm’s bookkeeping, where they raise corn, cotton, wheat, and sorghum. Hart and her husband also farm the same land Vic’s great-grandfather T.W. Hart farmed in the southeastern part of Castro County in the Texas Panhandle/South Plains named Hart Pioneer Farms. Hart Pioneer Farms was recognized in 2011 by the Texas Department of Agriculture Family Land Heritage program that honors families who have owned and operated a continuous agricultural operation for 100 years or more.
She is a founding member of the Texas Agri-Women South Plains Chapter and served as president. Laura was honored at 4-H and FFA banquets for her parent leadership. Laura has served as President of the Hart Buyers Club and Hart Athletic Booster Club and as a member of the Hart Independent School District School Board. She has participated in Syngenta’s Leadership At Its Best and the American Soybean Associations Leadership Academy.
Laura and her husband are the proud parents of two sons, Aaron and Adam, and a daughter Adrienne. All three hold degrees in agriculture and are currently involved in the agriculture industry. They have four grandsons and six granddaughters ranging from age 16-2.
Laura has been an advocate for the agriculture industry for many years.
Jean Goslin, Vice President – Education
The family, faith, and farm quickly sum up Jean’s life. The three are so intertwined it is hard for her to separate them. At this point in her life, she is an equipment operator, bookkeeper, and cow counter in our small cow/ calf, hay operation in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Jean has been involved in 4-H for 20+ years in the livestock association in her old county. At present, she is vice chair of my county Farm Bureau board.
Arlene Kovash, Secretary
Oregon Women for Agriculture
Arlene Kovash was born and raised on a small farm in a rural community near Phoenix, Arizona. She and her three sisters were active in 4-H, where she participated in several different project areas and developed most of her leadership skills. She majored in home economics at Arizona State University but got seriously involved in agriculture when she met and married ag teacher Paul Kovash.
Hoping to escape the heat, the family (now including two daughters) moved to Corvallis, Oregon, where Paul was hired to teach Vocational Agriculture, which he did for 30 years, and also started farming. Arlene got involved in Oregon Women for Agriculture through their farming and teaching contacts and has remained active for 45 years, holding several offices, including president of OWA and president, secretary, and treasurer of Polk County Women for Ag, plus serving terms as vice president of communications and secretary of AAW. She also served as editor of both the OWA and AAW newsletters for several years and their county farm bureau newsletter. She is currently the editor of the AAW directory and serves on the AAW Foundation board.
Kathy Goodyke, Treasurer
Kathy Goodyke began her AAW adventure by attending the 1994 AAW Convention at Tigard, Oregon. The friendships developed over those several days are still close to her. Since that initial convention, she has attended many others along with AAW Mid-Year meetings. She serves as the lead on Taxes in the Committee of Governmental Issues, and prepared a White Paper for the 2021 Fly In. Kathy is the Minnesota Agri-Women Treasurer and past secretary. Receiving an associate degree in accounting began her career with AgCountry, preparing farmers’ bookkeeping and financial reports for the loan officer and tax preparer. With a love for education, Kathy went on to receive a BS in Nursing. She worked in community, public, and hospital nursing until 2007. When her husband needed help on the farm, she was introduced to life on a tractor. From then on, being able to work in the field and see what she was able to do, put her careers on permanent hold. She worked the ground, ran the grain cart and did a lot of her own equipment maintenance. It was full-time enjoyment. Since retiring from the farm in 2016, Kathy has become active in the area seniors center as the secretary, grant writer and financial chairperson. She enjoys quilting and being a member of the church quilt group, for which she is the treasurer. Kathy and her husband remain busy with maintaining the farm site and with their daughters and families and will always be keeping an eye on the fields.
Karolyn Zurn, Past President
During her recent 2 year term as President of American Agri-Women, Karolyn led the organization through the coronavirus world pandemic, representing AAW on the White House Coronavirus Critical Infrastructure Partnership and ensuring that agriculture, as an essential service, had a voice in addressing pandemic related agricultural supply chain issues. She kept AAW moving forward via Zoom and conference call meetings while meeting all associated commitments.
Zurn farms with her husband, Bill, and two sons in Northwestern Minnesota where they raise corn, soybeans, sugar beets and wheat. As a Past President of Minnesota Agri-Women, she additionally served four years as AAW Chair of Government Issues. She has served on many agriculture boards including Minnesota Ag in the Classroom, Northern Crops Institute Council, and Minnesota Soybean Growers. On the Becker County Corn & Soybean Growers, she served as treasurer and government affairs representative. She coordinated the North Dakota Common ground program for four years and most recently she was appointed to Minnesota State Farm Service Agency Board. Karolyn is a recipient of the 2018 AAW Leaven Award.
Karolyn and her husband Bill are the proud parents of 5 children, all of which are connected to agriculture. In addition they have 13 grandchildren and feel blessed to have them live close by.