About the Agricultural Development Council

ADC Mission
The Ag Council raises awareness of the economic impact of the local farming industry and promotes excellence in farming. This outreach assists county farmers market their businesses, helps create an environment to attract new farmers, and informs residents and municipal officials about the importance of local agriculture. We also partner with other organizations to address agricultural issues.

About the Agricultural Development Council
The ADC members are appointed by the County Commissioners to administer programs to educate the general public on the importance of agriculture and encourage the continuation of farming in Chester County.

The ADC sponsors several important programs such as: producing the Chester County Farm Product guide; recognizing a Farmer of the Year and recipient for a Distinguished Service to Agricultural award, and the Ag Forum educational series. 

ADC Council Member Profiles
Christopher Alonzo (Chair), president of Pietro Mushrooms, is a 3rd generation mushroom farmer in Kennett Square. He is a board member of Mushroom Farmers of PA (MFPA) and a frequent speaker at agricultural events. Alonzo is the assistant treasurer of the Jewish Community Center of Wilmington, DE, and has previously served on the boards of the Kennett Square Planning Commission, Mushroom Council and United Way. He and his wife Regina have 2 children. Alonzo joined the ADC board in 2008.

Karl Herr (Vice Chair) is a co-owner of Herrvale Farms, a family-run dairy and crop operation in Oxford, PA, and a board member of the Upper Oxford Planning Commission. He is also a deacon at Beulah Baptist Church. Herr previously served as a Farm Bureau vice president and government regional director. He was also a County Extension board member and auditor, in addition to holding a host of other leadership positions with related agricultural organizations in his community. Herr joined the ADC board in 2008.

Duncan Allison (Former Chair) is the current president of The Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture (PSPA), media relations director for Chester-Delaware Farm Bureau and has spoken extensively on agricultural topics throughout the world. Allison has also served as the board president of the Brandywine Valley Association. Previously, Allison worked in global product development, planning, and marketing for DuPont and traveled throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa in those roles. Allison joined the ADC Board in 2003.

William Cracas is the owner of Pickering Valley Feed and Farm, a retail operation that sells to homeowners and farmers alike. Cracas formerly ran a poultry operation, as well as taught science at Conestoga High School and Coatesville High School. He also served as Township Supervisor for West Pikeland Township. Cracas joined the ADC board in 2008.

Jodi Gauker is the Agriculture Program Manager at Chester County Economic Development Council and co-owner of Gauker Farms, a 260-acre-farm in Berks County, where she and her family raise crops and dairy steers. She is also a member of the Berks County Extension Board of Directors. Previously, Gauker was an Extension Educator in the Start Farming program for Penn State Extension. Gauker joined the ADC board in 2013.

David Longenecker is a cofounder and auctioneer at the Oxford Produce Auction, a wholesale produce auction located Oxford, PA. Longenecker is also a co-owner and auctioneer for Petersheim & Longenecker Auction Co. and a Realtor for Hostetter Realty specializing in rural and agricultural properties. Longenecker joined the ADC board in 2013.

William Wells Jr. is the founder of Water Crest Farms Nursery, formerly known as W.D. Wells and Associates, a family-run 100-acre nursery in West Grove that specializes in American hollies and other specimen plants for the trade as well as retail customers. Wells is a former Pocopson township supervisor and former president of Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association. He also served as president and member of the Executive Committee of the Horticultural Research Institute. Wells joined the ADC board in 2010.

Larry Welsch is the executive director of the Chester County Food Bank which serves over 70,000 food insecure families in Chester County, PA. He is also a delegate to the Governor’s Emergency Food Assistance Advisory Council and he has managed the county’s emergency food system since 2003. Welsch joined the ADC board in 2013.

If interested in serving on the ADC, please send resume to Chester County Commissioners’ Office, 313 West Market Street, Suite 6202, P.O. Box 2748, West Chester, PA, 19380-0991.