A Letter From the Board: Leadership Changes at RIPE

As you know, RIPE has celebrated several significant milestones recently. These include securing the $80 million pilot partnership grant from USDA, collecting letters of support for our farm bill platform from state secretaries of agriculture, growing our Board of Directors, developing a five-year strategic plan, and expanding our team of consultants.

This would not have been possible without the vision and dedication of our founder and executive director, Aliza Drewes. Her extensive analysis of policy options, integration of farmers’ priorities and determination are helping enable producers to advance a fair value for voluntary agricultural stewardship as part of a bipartisan climate policy roadmap.

After six years at the helm of RIPE, Aliza Drewes stepped down March 25.

One of her major accomplishments is building an exceptionally talented team of volunteers, staff,  consultants and Board members who are dedicated to advancing our mission and guiding the organization to the next stage of success.

With this list of achievements and a strong team in place to carry on RIPE’s mission, Aliza has stepped down to accept an appointment as senior advisor for energy at the Rural Utility Services at USDA. In her new role, Aliza will advise on designing federal incentives supporting rural electric co-ops to adopt clean energy and will leverage the RIPE insights to support climate policies that work for rural communities. 

As of March 25, Aliza transitioned to a volunteer on RIPE’s Technical Advisory Committee to continue to share insights and support a seamless transition. We thank Aliza for her commitment to building RIPE and advancing the policy over the past six years and wish her all the best on her new path.

With Aliza’s departure, we are delighted to announce that Alana Petersen has taken a temporary leave of absence from RIPE’s Board of Directors to serve as interim executive director. Alana is a successful campaign strategist, policy advisor and team builder, who is intimately familiar with RIPE’s work and operations.

Headshot of Alana Petersen, who will take over as interim executive director of RIPE in March 2023.

Alana Petersen became interim executive director of RIPE in March 2023.

She has worked on farm bills for the last 20 years, including while serving in senior staff leadership roles in the Senate and House, where she worked across party lines to accomplish significant policy victories. Her talents are uniquely suited to support our work on the 2023 Farm Bill.

The Board has begun the search for RIPE’s next executive director while Alana supports the team in implementing RIPE’s strategic plan. We look forward to Alana’s leadership in the coming months.

Your partnership is critical as we work to engage a bipartisan set of policymakers to advance this mission. We thank you for your support and look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure farmers and ranchers receive fair payments for conservation.


RIPE Board President Eunie Biel and Vice President Bill Beam