Strategic Marketing and Technology (SMT) Director, Cargill Animal Nutrition (CAN)
Scott Ainslie is the strategic marketing and technology (SMT) director for the Cargill Animal Nutrition (CAN) businesses globally. He has helped grow Cargill through various management roles for more than 17 years. In his current role, he is responsible for leading the SMT teams as a leveraged function. He enjoys leading people because it provides individuals the opportunity to experience development and growth into leaders beyond what they thought was possible.
Scott joined Cargill in 1996 as a business development manager for the United States beef product line after completing a master's of business administration and working in south Asia. During 1997 through 2000, he assumed the role of administrative manager for the CAN businesses in Memphis, Tennessee, and Fort Worth, Texas. In 2000, he was named managing director in Malaysia and subsequently, in 2004, managing director in Vietnam. He moved back to the United States in 2008 to become managing director of Global Enterprise Solutions and was named group director later that year. He became a vice president in CAN in 2010. As of 2012, he moved into his current role as director of the SMT function for CAN. Scott holds a bachelor's degree of science and a master's degree of science, as well as a MBA from Cornell University.
Commodity Risk Manager, Vice President, CIS/Black Sea Region, INTL FCStone Inc.
Matt Ammermann is a commodity risk management consultant in the Black Sea/CIS region for INTLFCStone. Working at the forefront of risk management in one of the fastest and largest growing agricultural markets in the world, his team provides risk management solutions to help improve and control margins and the impact of commodity prices to a business’s operation. INTL FCStone also provides in-depth market intelligence, which provides tremendous value in the volatile commodity markets. Growing up on a farm and active in its operations, Matt understands the markets are changing; companies that actively manage their price risk will be in a better position to grow and adapt to these market changes.
Policy Analyst, Informa Economics
Roger Bernard is currently Policy Analyst for Informa Economics, working from his base in rural Iowa. Mr. Bernard joined Informa in April 2011 with nearly 30 years of experience in print and broadcast journalism. With Informa, he focuses his efforts on Informa Economics’ Issue Monitor, as well as contributing to other products and publications for the company.
Prior to joining Informa, Mr. Bernard spent over 24 years with Pro Farmer Newsletter, including 11 years in Washington, DC, in the company’s Washington Bureau working with Informa’s Jim Wiesemeyer when both were employed there. Mr. Bernard is very familiar with Washington agriculture, trade and government policy. His roles included providing news and information for several Farm Journal Media properties, including as Washington and Policy Editor for Farm Journal magazine.
Vice President of Corporate Affairs, POET
Doug Berven joined POET in March 2003 and has served the organization in several roles since then. In his current role as Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Berven promotes the corporate objectives of POET, the importance of agriculture, and the benefits of ethanol domestically and internationally.
Berven sits on several of POET’s ethanol plant Boards of Directors, BIO’s Industrial and Environmental Section of Governing Board, and serves on the Board of ACORE. Berven also manages strategic corporate relations for POET, promotes state, regional and national policy objectives for the industry, and is a recognized authority on ethanol, renewable energy and agriculture.
Prior to joining POET, Berven held various roles in banking, real estate development and medical consulting. Berven received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., where he currently resides with his wife and two children.
Alan L. Boyce
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Westland Solar Farms, LLC
Alan L. Boyce is a co-founder and CEO of Westlands Solar Farms, LLC, a California renewable energy company formed in 2009. Alan is Chairman and co-founder of Materra, LLC, a California-based agricultural production company that owns and operates 30,000 acres of farmland. He is co-founder and Director of Agrica Ltd, which developed and operates a 5,000-hectare rice farm in southern Tanzania. Alan is co-founder and Director of Adecoagro (NYSE:AGRO), a food and renewable energy-producing company that owns and operates highly productive land throughout Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. Alan is Founder and Vice-President of Boyce Land Co. Boyce Land Co has acted as the General Partner in a series of US farmland limited partnerships since 1987.
Epidemiologist, Food Protection and Defense Institute, University of Minnesota
Dr. Boyer is an epidemiologist with the Food Protection and Defense Institute, a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence located at the University of Minnesota. For over four years he has worked on projects to develop tools to aid in risk analysis of food supply chains and simulation models of agricultural systems. His past research experience includes modeling of spatial risk factors for bluetongue virus and epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus in U.S. livestock. Dr. Boyer received his Ph.D. in Environmental Health from the University of Minnesota in 2012. His dissertation research focused on laboratory and statistical methodology for the study of antibiotic resistance in livestock. He also received his M.P.H. (2006) in Environmental Health from the University of Minnesota with an emphasis on vectorborne diseases endemic to Minnesota and a B.S. (1998) in plant biology from the Ohio State University.
Joseph Byrum, Ph. D., MBA, PMP
Syngenta Head Seeds Product Development Soybean
Joseph leads global soybean breeding, trait research and product development at Syngenta, helping deliver improved genetics and trait technologies for soybean growers. Dr. Byrum has extensive global experience in plant genetics and biotechnology having been actively involved in soybean research for 20 years, spanning genetics, genomics, breeding, physiology, compositional analysis, grain origination and end-user applications. Since joining Syngenta in 2006, he has held a variety of leadership roles.
Dr. Byrum obtained his MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Michigan State University. He earned his doctorate in Genetics from Iowa State University. Additionally, he is a fellow at the Aspen Institute. Most recently he became an INFORMS Edelman Fellow and was the chief architect of “Good Growth through Advanced Analytics,” a competition presentation that won the 2015 INFORMS Edelman award for excellence in operation research, which encompasses advanced mathematics and the management sciences.
President & General Counsel, Agspring
Brad Clark is the President of Agspring, a cutting edge consolidator of agriculture infrastructure and services companies. Agspring is backed by a leading natural resources private equity firm, has anchored its acquisitions in North America and is expanding into South America. With more than 25 years of C-level management experience developing and building high performing teams, Mr. Clark has been described by his colleagues as both a serial entrepreneur and a highly versatile corporate leader. Prior to founding Agspring, he was CEO and Founder of Surmount Partners, a social merchant bank that blends private capital with development dollars to address food security, water and health issues. He also is a founding member of The Hague Framework, a senior leadership group that spurs innovation in multi-lateral public/private partnerships to address systemic global change in food and other critical development domains. Mr. Clark also served as a Senior Vice President at Sprint/Embarq, owned several marketing communication firms, practiced corporate law with Stinson Morrison Hecker and spent part of his early career at the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Futures Industry Association.
Agspring combines entrepreneurial teams, essential agriculture supply chains, and superior capital partners to feed our changing world. Deep equity and credit relationships provide Agspring a solid platform for capital improvement and expansion. Agspring maintains decentralized operations and puts leadership teams in place who desire to grow into new markets including grains and oilseeds; livestock feed ingredients; and consumer food ingredients.
Head of Agriculture and Weather Research and Forecasts, Lanworth -- Thomson Reuters
Dr. Corey Cherr is Head of Agriculture and Weather Research and Forecasts at Thomson Reuters, providing expert insight, analytical capabilities and data covering the global supply of grains and oilseeds. Trained in biological and physical sciences, he has fifteen years’ experience in the application of quantitative analysis, remote sensing and weather models to agricultural production. Prior to joining Thomson Reuters, Corey was Product Manager of Lanworth, Inc, where he helped lead the development of Lanworth’s unique crop forecasting methodology utilizing satellite imagery, weather and climatological data, econometric models and boots on the ground surveys. He holds an undergraduate degree in physics from the Florida State University, and earned graduate degrees in agronomy and ecology from the University of Florida and the University of California at Davis.
Philippe de Laperouse
Managing Director at HighQuest Partners
Philippe de Lapérouse is Managing Director of HighQuest Partners where he has led over 70 engagements advising executive teams of major strategic and financial investors operating and investing globally across the food, biotech and bioenergy value chains on making informed decisions to address the challenges facing global agriculture. He has more than 30 years of senior level experience working with leading global companies in the agro-industrial and value-added food chain, including Ralston Purina and Bunge Limited, as well as working as an investment banker at the beginning of his career. He comes from a family which has a long tradition of farming in France over several generations. He chairs the Global AgInvestingSM conference series, the world's leading resource for events, research, and insight into the global agricultural investment sector and received his B.A. degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and an M.B.A. degree from The Darden School of Business at The University of Virginia.
Commercial Leader Grains and Oils, Dow AgroSciences
David has responsibility for leading the canola, sunflower and grains food traits commercial strategy for the company. David grew up on a family grain farm near Dauphin, Manitoba. He attended the University of Manitoba and graduated in 1981 from the faculty of agriculture with a degree in plant science and economics. David has been involved in development of the plant genetics and biotechnology strategy for Dow AgroSciences since the mid-90’s. As part of that, he led the creation of the Dow AgroSciences healthy oils portfolio, including the Nexera canola program. David has worked with Dow AgroSciences for 32 years.
Ken A. Eriksen
Senior Vice President Transportation, Industrials and Energy Services, Informa Economics' Transportation, Industrials and Energy Services Group
Since 2011, Mr. Eriksen has been the leader of Informa Economics' Transportation, Industrials and Energy Services Group. In this capacity, he directs the group's efforts in client service, research, risk management, consulting and events. Since joining Informa in 2001, Mr. Eriksen has led Informa's transportation services and co-led Informa's project consulting practice. Mr. Eriksen regularly speaks on transportation and infrastructure issues and developments, and is an expert witness in the area of transportation, logistics and supply-chain matters. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Eriksen worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service as an agricultural statistician. In that capacity, he conducted national surveys and set national estimates in agriculture. Also while at USDA, he worked for the Agricultural Marketing Service on its transportation and marketing program, conducting research and analysis on domestic and international transportation issues. He also worked as an international longshoreman for the Pacific Maritime Association in Tacoma, Washington. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agribusiness and agricultural economics from Washington State University. While working on his master’s degree there, Mr. Eriksen was a transportation economist for the Department of Agricultural Economics, performing economic transportation data analysis and modeling.
Fidel Castro’s Daughter
Alina Fernandez was born March 19, 1956. She was just a toddler when her father led the overthrow of the Batista regime during the 1959 revolution. In what she calls a strangely mixed upbringing of a combination of privilege and deprivation, she would see her father on the television screen and then in her living room. She often played all night long with her father and then not see him for months at a time.
She watched the politics of the 1960s and 1970s and became disillusioned during the 1980s. In disguise, she fled Cuba in 1993 and currently lives in Florida.
Alina is working to improve relations between the United States and Cuba. She considers her uncle, Raul Castro, to be on the right track with the many reforms he has made. She acknowledges that life in Cuba has improved since the 1990’s. Yet many challenges remain including food security and the U.S. embargo. By sharing her unique perspective, Alina hopes to bring some understanding to Cuba’s complex history, culture and direction.
D. Tony Franklin II
Director, Intel Internet of Things Group
Tony Franklin is the Director of Public Sector within Intel’s Internet of Things (IoT) Group. He has more than 20 years of corporate entrepreneurial, business development and management experience focused on starting and growing multiple businesses that apply Internet of Things, intelligent systems and embedded & communications technologies. He is currently responsible for Intel’s Global IoT Agriculture start-up practice within the Public Sector. Intel’s IoT Group provides solutions that lead the industry in transforming businesses and the way we live by making it simple to create exciting, new IoT solutions. Mr. Franklin holds an MBA and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of South Carolina.
Peter Golbitz is president of Agromeris, an advisory firm that focuses on the unique needs of the specialty food and agricultural marketplace. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Mr. Golbitz works closely with leading businesses and organizations on market and business development projects.
Prior to founding Agromeris, Peter Golbitz was the Director of International Business Development at SunOpta, a leading U.S. food processor. Mr. Golbitz was also the founder and president of Soyatech, a consulting and publishing company that produces the annual Soya & Oilseed Bluebook. Mr. Golbitz is on the board of directors of the World Soy Foundation, the Sustainable Food Trade Association, and sits on technical committees of the Organic Trade Association.
Farmer, Past Chairman (2015), U.S. Grains Council
Ron Gray is a farmer from Southeastern Illinois. He has farmed in his family farm and been involved in agriculture his entire life. The use of GPs and GIS farming technology and the meaningful processing of that data is key to future good management in production agriculture and this has been an emphasis on his farm. He has a Crop Insurance business helping area farmers manage and mitigate risk. Ron has served on the Illinois Corn Marketing Board and on the BOD of the US Grains Council, recently as Chairman. Learning to understand all aspects of markets has always been of interest to Ron and he believes there are opportunities in Cuba for US grains. He traveled to Cuba in March with USACC and again in June with the NCGA and USGC.
Vice President of Education & Outreach, Global Aquaculture Alliance
Steven Hart, Ph.D., is the Vice President of Education & Outreach for the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA), USA.
Dr. Hart received B.S. (1996) and M.S. (2001) degrees from Michigan State University in Fisheries and Wildlife, with an emphasis on fisheries ecology (B.S.) and general aquaculture (M.S.). Dr. Hart received his Ph.D. in 2006 from Purdue University in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, with an emphasis on aquaculture nutrition. The focus of his research was soy-based feeds as an alternative to fish meal-based diets for use in aquaculture.
In 2007, Dr. Hart joined the Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) as their Director of Aquaculture. He helped determine the market opportunities for domestically reared fish fed soy-based feeds by collaborating with universities, federal agencies, private farms and other agricultural commodity groups. In 2011, Dr. Hart was named the Executive Director of the Soy Aquaculture Alliance (SAA) and tasked with aiding the development of the domestic aquaculture industry and increasing the use of soy-based aquafeeds. SAA worked closely with allied groups in an effort to coordinate aquaculture development in a strategic approach that would allow for the most efficient use of resources.
Dr. Hart joined GAA In 2015 to lead their efforts in the development of new educational tools. His responsibilities include developing educational materials on responsible aquaculture practices, investigating emerging issues affecting aquaculture and its stakeholders, working with GAA constituents to respond to emerging issues, expanding activities with other aquaculture and seafood groups, and generating content for GAA’s communications vehicles.
Over his career, Dr. Hart has published multiple papers and articles and co-authored books on general aquaculture and nutrition. Dr. Hart has given more than 75 presentations at various domestic and international conferences and meetings. He has also was a founder and serves as a member of the Coalition for U.S. Seafood Production (CUSP), an advocacy group focused on increasing aquaculture production in the United States. In this role, he helped lead the development of CUSP’s statements regarding federal aquaculture policy.
Vice President, Ag Commodities Trade Finance, Wells Fargo Bank N.A.
Richard has 36 years of international trade finance experience with Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. As an Ag Commodity Trade Finance specialist, he provides focused expertise in supporting a select number of high value Wells Fargo clients engaged in agriculture commodities trade finance. General international banking experience includes both operations and sales & marketing. In Trade Operations, Richard handled import and export letters of credit, standby LCs, documentary collections and developed a customer service team. In his current position, Richard’s role in sales and marketing is to support the products and servicing needs of Wells Fargo large corporate and middle market Ag commodity clients engaged in importing and exporting.
Founding Principal of The Hightower Report
David Hightower is a founding principal of The Hightower Report (www.HightowerReport.com), a commodity research and information firm specializing in high quality futures research and analysis for individual investors, brokers, commercial producers, farmers and end users. The Hightower Report publishes one of the most widely read daily commodity wires in the world and has become a highly utilized industry consulting service with many brokerage firms turning to it for their primary commodity research coverage.
A keen eye on the complex interaction of the world markets insures that Mr. Hightower thoroughly examines the financial, agricultural and geopolitical situations around the globe. This in turn allows his company to provide analysis and commentary on a wide variety of markets, ranging from grains to livestock, precious metals, stock indices, bonds, currencies and the energy complex.
Marketer, Cargill Risk Management
Daniel Hofstad is a marketer for Cargill Risk Management, a leading provider of customized hedging solutions in agricultural commodities. Mr. Hofstad has an expertise in creating commodity risk management solutions, specifically developing and implementing exchanged-based and OTC hedging instruments. At Cargill Risk Management, he specializes in grains, oilseeds, softs, and dairy markets, providing solutions to North American customers in the food industry. He was previously vice president of Black Sea / CIS with INTL FC Stone, focused on providing risk management solutions and guidance to customers in grains and oilseeds in the markets of Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria. Mr. Hoftad earned a MBA from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and a B.S. degree in agricultural business and a economics from Iowa State University. Founded by Cargill in 1994, Cargill Risk Management provides customized risk management solutions in more than 55 commodity markets across 60 countries.
Editorial Director, Informa Agra
Chris Horseman is Editorial Director of Informa Agra, a division of Informa Business Intelligence.
After graduating from the University of Birmingham (UK) with a BA (Honours) in French and German, Chris worked for a while at the European Commission before joining Agra.
He has been monitoring European agricultural issues as a journalist and editor since joining the company as Brussels Correspondent in 1987. He took up a senior editorial position in Agra's UK office in 1991, and became Editorial Director in 2006.
His specialist areas include the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), agricultural trade policy and the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and rural development policy.
Richard A. Jelinek
Vice President Global Education at INTL FCStone Financial
His primary responsibility is the development of price risk management programs and materials on Agricultural Futures, Options and OTC Swaps.
Richard’s professional tenure includes 34 years at the CBOT and CME Group, where he focused on price risk management training in Europe, Asia, Middle East, Latin America and the United States. Additionally, he is an Adjunct Professor at Moraine Valley College in the English as a Second Language department.
Mr. Jelinek’s Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from Southern Illinois University and Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Georgia were preceded by a four-year tour in the United States Navy.
Senior Research Manager, Ag Biotechnology, DuPont Company / DuPont Pioneer
Susan is a Senior Research Manager with DuPont with over 25 years experience in the field of Agricultural Biotechnology. She has been with DuPont her entire career. Currently, Susan is the technical lead on the Plenish High Oleic Soybean commercialization team having worked on the product since its inception. Susan joined DuPont in 1982 as a research scientist and has enjoyed a diverse set of professional and managerial positions within DuPont’s biotechnology organizations. Throughout her career, she has championed and managed various functions within the soy ‘output traits’ group, which seeks to tailor crop compositions to improve the nutrition and functionality of food ingredients for consumers and food manufacturers. She has well over 20 published articles in scientific journals and is an inventor on six patents.
Vice President Procurement, Kellogg Company
Tom currently is a Vice President of Procurement for the Kellogg Company. Tom and his team manage over $1.7B in North America of Ingredients and Energy encompassing sourcing, and sustainable agriculture for major materials such as grains, edible oils, sweeteners, cocoa, dairy products, natural gas and diesel. In addition, his team liaise with commodity risk management and global category teams. Kellogg is a global cereal and snack food company with 30,000+ employees and revenues of approximately $15B worldwide. He has a demonstrated track record of successfully leading Procurement activity for billion dollar brand portfolios, including Tyson Foods/Hillshire Brands, and Sara Lee externally manufactured meat and frozen bakery products. He has led cross-functional teams that delivered profit, revenue, share and volume growth in mature categories facing significant commodity pressures. A multi-faceted executive leader well versed in supply management across the value chain encompassing Risk Management, Agricultural and Energy Derivative Markets. Prior to joining Kellogg, Tom was with Tyson Foods (formerly Hillshire Brands), based in Chicago, with responsibilities for Commodity Risk Management, Ingredients, Packaging and Energy. He also served in the Frito-Lay/PepsiCo system, holding a number of key management positions of increasing responsibility in Supply Chain, Procurement, Operations & Engineering. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Denver – Daniels School of Business with a focus on Entrepreneurial & International Studies.
President and Founder, Advanced Economic Solutions (AES)
Bill Lapp is president and founder of Advanced Economic Solutions. Lapp has over 25 years of experience in analyzing and forecasting economic conditions and commodity markets, and has a wealth of experience in providing comprehensive economic analysis of grain, livestock, and dairy markets. He has been a featured speaker at numerous national forums, including the restaurant industry’s semi-annual Supply Chain Management conference and the USDA Annual Outlook conference.
AES is dedicated to providing high quality economic and commodity analysis to agribusiness and food companies. AES provides forecasts and analysis for procurement, investment and risk management decisions, in order to help these companies in their decision-making processes and strategic thinking. Clients include restaurants, food manufacturers, grain merchandisers, livestock producers, investment firms and biofuel-related firms.
Markets Manager, Global Dairy Sourcing
Drew is the Markets Manager on Dairy Platform within the Global Sourcing organization at General Mills. Working with counterparts around the globe, this platform team is responsible for milk and dairy ingredients for Yoplait and Häagen-Dazs brands around the world. Drew provides global dairy supply/demand analysis and leads development of risk management strategies. In addition, Drew is a key resource for supply chain projects focused on growth, disruptive models, and differential capabilities. Drew has been with General Mills for 5 years and previously worked for Global Risk Management as a consultant for food industry clients. Drew graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Hamline University with an MBA.
National Business Development Director, Aon Risk Solutions
As the National Business Development Director for Aon’s Food System, Agribusiness and Beverage Group, Chip works with companies from farm to fork as a risk advisor. Chip’s agriculture roots developed working on a family cattle ranch in Missouri established a foundation and passion for the food and agribusiness industry. Chip serves on the leadership team for Aon’s Food System, Agribusiness and Beverage practice group focused on emerging and non-traditional risks in the industry. His experience working directly with clients in livestock production, feed ingredients, food processing and grain handling coupled with supporting Aon colleagues and clients that make up over 70% of the Fortune 500 food and agriculture companies provide unique insight into industry risks and solutions.
President, Montclair Marine Services
Mr. Lofberg is an International shipping, trade & logistics expert. He has over 40 years of experience and is well versed in all aspects of international logistics with an emphasis on dry bulk movements and specific expertise in agricultural & energy related commodities. He is president of Montclair Marine Services, which was established in 1994 to represent companies, who wanted to start international operations or expand their international footprint. In 2010, Montclair & The Midship Group established a joint market/project development venture combining the many years of experience and diverse expertise to offer companies a wide range of services. In addition the logistics management, we are able to established trading platforms for risk management, commodity merchandising, finance, project development and commodity sourcing all under one umbrella. We manage, for our clients, approximately 55 million tons per year performing all steps of the transactions from origin to destination either from/to the United States or foreign to foreign. We can manage movements, which include barging, trucking, commodity terminal transfers, and bulk ocean vessels or containers.
CEO, National Sorghum Producers and United Sorghum Checkoff Program, Oil Seed and Grain Trade Summit
Tim Lust is the CEO of the National Sorghum Producers and the Sorghum Checkoff, two organizations dedicated to increasing profitability for more than 30,000 sorghum growers nationwide. Tim grew up on a diversified farming and cattle operation in Texas. He received a B.S. in Animal Science from Angelo State University and an MBA from Texas Tech University. He is a past member of the USDA Agricultural Advisory Committee for Trade and a former board member for the USDA Sorghum Crop Germplasm Committee. He has served on both the Texas Tech Center for Industry Research and Education and the Sorghum Improvement Conference of North America boards of directors. Today, Tim serves on numerous industry and regional committees and advisory councils.
Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Land O’Lakes
Macrie assumed the role of Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Land O’Lakes in June 2013.
Prior to this position, he was Vice President of Ag Services IT. Macrie led the transformation of Ag Services technology and the rebranding of Winfield and Purina across intranet and customer sites.
Before joining Land O’Lakes, he held a breadth of roles at Ingersoll Rand, AlliedSignal and several start-ups, G5 Technologies and Multi-Media Solutions. Macrie has an M.B.A. from Duke University and a B.S. from Cornell University in Applied & Engineering Physics.
Land O’Lakes is the second largest U.S. cooperative with approximately 9,600 employees, nearly 4,000 direct producer-members and 900 member-cooperatives serving more than 300,000 agricultural producers. Land O’Lakes, Inc. has annual sales of over $14 billion and is No. 210 on the Fortune 500.
Manager, Stark County Farm Bureau
Thomas Marten is the manager of Stark County Farm Bureau based in Toulon, Illinois. Thomas graduated in 2012 from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. For family reasons he returned home to help on his family’s corn and soybean farm near Raymond, Illinois. In the summer of 2012, Thomas joined farmers from around Illinois to travel to Cuba as a part of an Illinois Farm Bureau Market Study Tour. Following the December 2014 announcement of a shift in approach by President Obama, Thomas engaged the media with letters to the editor published in several local and regional newspapers including the Chicago Tribune, radio interviews, television interviews, letters to elected officials as well as emerging platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Thomas once again represented Illinois Farm Bureau as their representative on the March 2015 US Agriculture Coalition for Cuba delegation in Cuba.
Vice President, Research and Development, IOI Loders Croklaan
Dr. Gerald McNeill, Ph.D., is the VP of Research and Development, North America, for IOI Loders Croklaan. In this role, Dr. McNeill leads the company’s North American research teams in guiding the development of new solutions for the fats and oils industry. With a Ph.D. in biochemistry and over 20 years of experience in fats and oils, Dr. McNeill provides strong technical insight and knowledge to the increased awareness of Palm Oil and its benefits for the food industry – specifically to replace partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.
William A. Messina, Jr.
Agricultural Economist, University of Florida/IFAS
Bill Messina is an agricultural economist with the Food and Resource Economics Department at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) where he works on agricultural marketing, trade, development and policy issues.
He is the founding Co-Director of the Department’s comprehensive research initiative studying the agricultural and fisheries sectors in Cuba. Begun in 1994, this research continues to be conducted in collaboration with a team of researchers at the University of Havana. Bill has traveled to Cuba frequently, published widely on Cuba’s agricultural sector and he has made presentations on the topic throughout the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, including testimony before Congressional committees and the USITC, and staff briefings to the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and State.
Rob D. Murphy
Senior Vice President, Informa Economics, Inc.
Dr. Murphy is co-executive of the Livestock, Meat, Poultry and Dairy Group with responsibilities that include livestock and red meat research, price analysis, and the design and implementation of margin risk management systems. He has particular expertise in futures markets and the techniques required to measure and mitigate price risk. Dr. Murphy developed many of the systems and process that the Informa Livestock Group uses in its ongoing fundamental price analysis. He is a founder of the MarginQuest Division, which develops and implements science-based solutions, such as price optimization and demand modeling, to help businesses improve margins by mining their internal data. He has authored numerous commodity price risk management policies for agribusiness clients and developed mathematical models to measure risk. Prior to joining the company, he was an economist in the research department at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange where he was responsible for maintenance of the CME's Live Cattle futures contract. He was involved in futures contract design issues, particularly the use of cash settlements in agricultural futures markets. On several occasions, Dr. Murphy has received the Premiere Forecaster Award for livestock prices from the American Agricultural Economics Association. He received both his bachelor's degree in animal science and his master's degree in agricultural economics from Louisiana State University. He earned a doctorate in agricultural and applied economics from Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia.
Finance Partner, DLA Piper LLP
Arleen Nand is a finance partner at DLA Piper LLP, one of the world’s largest law firms. DLA Piper has over 3,800 lawyers located in more than 30 countries and 80 offices throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. The firm leverages its global platform to serve agribusiness clients across the spectrum, with engagements such as: counseling clients in burgeoning African and Latin American markets on palm oil and other agricultural commodity transactions; navigating the regulatory landscape to facilitate the sale of grain and protein to Asia by U.S. producers; advising companies on food recalls and consumer disclosure litigation issues; and financing the merger of agribusiness cooperatives.
In recent years, Arleen has structured, drafted and negotiated $11.1 billion of syndicated loan and project financings primarily in the agribusiness and energy sectors and is DLA’s key partner contact for North American and European agribusiness finance matters. Arleen has served as lead counsel on numerous financings in the agribusiness industry, including cross-border credit facilities, syndicated loan transactions, asset-based and cash flow financings, convertible debt facilities, joint venture financings and senior and mezzanine transactions financings.
Arleen actively participates in many agribusiness trade organizations, has written for industry publications and has spoken internationally about agribusiness finance issues.
Executive Director, Senior Economist, CME Group
Erik Norland is Executive Director and Senior Economist of CME Group. He is responsible for generating economic analysis on global financial markets by identifying emerging trends, evaluating economic factors and forecasting their impact on CME Group and upon those who trade in its various markets. He is also one of CME Group’s spokespeople on global economic, financial and geopolitical conditions. Prior to joining CME Group, Norland gained more than 15 years of experience in the financial services industry working for investment banks and hedge funds both in the United States and Europe. Norland holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and an M.A. in statistics from Columbia University. He is also a CFA Charterholder.
Agri Food Innovation Expert & Data Strategist Consultant -- President, Prassack Advisors
With over 20 years in emerging markets, Lisa Prassack is passionate about collaboration and partnership to solve big industry challenges with high value solutions. Lisa also leverages her experience working in tandem with other innovative industries including: healthcare, smart buildings, telecommunications, IT, energy, retail, oil & gas, aerospace and agriculture. She previously worked as the PMO for Agrium’s acquisition of Viterra and as Trimble Agriculture’s Strategic Marketing Director, where she was responsible for precision farming strategy, planning, M&A and global strategic partnerships with companies including John Deere, Dow Agrosciences, BASF, Land O’ Lakes, CHS, AGCO, Monsanto-Climate and DuPont Pioneer.
Prassack Advisors attracts a multi-disciplinary expert group that goes beyond Big Data to build collaboration and integration to harness proven sensor, connectivity and analytics innovation in other industries to drive Agriculture data solutions to solve real farm and food production challenges. For more information, please visit www.prassackadvisors.com.
Senior Commodity Risk Manager, INTL FCStone
Doug started managing commodities 40 years ago for the family farm in Iowa. Subsequently became involved in Producer risk management embedding optionality into commercial grain elevator contracts. Currently, he manages commodity risk for Corn and Soybean Meal consumptive markets. Doug specializes in Corporate Commodity Risk Policies and designs, educates and implements strategies for national and international customers.
Michael L. Rath
Vice President Commodities and Risk Management - Darling
Michael L. Rath currently serves as Darling Ingredients Inc. Senior Vice President Commodities and Chief Risk Officer since June 2009. Mr. Rath’s Responsibilities include sales and marketing for Protein, Fats, Hides, and Biodiesel while also overseeing energy procurement and hedging. Prior to that, Mr. Rath spent in excess of twenty years at Archer-Daniels-Midland Company (ADM) during which he held various positions in Biodiesel, oilseed and grain merchandising.
Manager on the Water Program, Ceres
Eliza Roberts is a Manager on the Water Program at Ceres, an organization that mobilizes investor and business leadership to build a thriving, sustainable global economy. Eliza focuses in particular on the water risks facing the agricultural sector. She engages with food sector companies to help them evaluate risks and improve their water management practices. Eliza is a co-author of “Feeding Ourselves Thirsty: How the Food Sector is Managing Global Water Risks,” which evaluates how water risks impact the competitive positioning and financial performance of food sector companies. She holds an MBA from George Washington University and a BA from Bates College in Environmental Policy.
Partner and Head of Grains, Agroconsult
Responsible for the short and long term agricultural scenarios and the products of market intelligence. With a degree in Industrial Engineering, he is responsible for structuring and modelling market information into insights convertible to strategic and tradable decisions. He directly manages projects related to the main agribusiness input and infrastructure sectors. Since 2007 has supported clients in strategic meetings and conferences and also is a speaker at the Rally da Safra (Crop Tour) and relevant agribusiness events in Brazil and abroad.
President and Chief Operating Officer - Informa Economics, Inc.
Mr. Scott has been with Informa since 1989. Mr. Scott's specialized work has included business strategy, agribusiness economic development, feasibility and site selection work, as well as various market analyses. In addition to his work in North America, Mr. Scott has extensive experience in the agribusiness sectors of Central Europe, Southeast Asia and South America. He has been involved in many training programs developed and delivered by Informa Economics. Prior to joining the company, he had various assignments in management, trading, logistics and merchandising with Continental Grain Company. He received his bachelor's degree in agricultural economics and business from Cornell University and a master's degree in business administration from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College where he was an Amos Tuck Scholar.
President, Schillinger Genetics
Asgrow Seed Company hired Dr. John Schillinger to establish a new soybean breeding program in 1973. Through his leadership, Asgrow was recognized in the early 1980’s as a leading soybean seed company. Dr. Schillinger developed the soybean variety A3127 for Asgrow, which was named “Product of the Decade” by US AgriMarketing. In 1999, John started Schillinger Genetics, the premier non-GMO soybean seed company in the industry today. With a large dedicated research effort in non-GMO soybean variety development, Schillinger Genetics is able to offer the largest and most unique product line of non-GMO varieties in the industry through its eMerge Genetics brand. Schillinger Genetics is discovering ways to increase the quantity and quality of protein for food and feed applications.
Chief Executive Officer, TerViva Inc.
Naveen is TerViva’s Founder & CEO. Since 2009, he has been recognized as a thought leader at the intersection of agriculture and renewable energy. Prior to starting TerViva, Naveen completed his MBA from UC Berkeley, where he focused on energy and resource economics. At that time, Naveen co-chaired the Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative (BERC), which under his leadership formed the “Cleantech to Market Program” to spin off promising technologies at Lawrence Berkeley Lab. Prior to getting his MBA, Naveen worked as a management consultant at Gemini Consulting and TPI (formerly a part of the Monitor Group), in the realms of biotech, finance, and human capital. Naveen graduated as a Class Senior Marshal with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University.
Paul Smolen is an Agribusiness leader with expertise in commodity risk management, marketing strategy, new business development, and industry logistics. Paul has held executive and senior advisory positions at Bunge, United Soybean Board, and Continental Grain. He has led market development for enhanced output trait soybean meal and oil for the Bunge Dupont Biotech Alliance, coordinated Bunge’s global food and feed safety and quality programs, and developed animal nutrition expertise to improve protein and byproduct valuation. For USB, Paul utilized USB’s neutral platform to improve recognition and utilization of soymeal attributes and value capture from grower to feeder and continuously challenged directors and administrators to improve effectiveness and efficiency in both domestic and international marketing programs by developing closer alignment with commercial stakeholders. Paul holds an MBA from New York University and a B.A. in Economics from Cornell University.
Global Government Affairs and Corporate Strategy, Dow Agrosciences
Brad Shurdut is currently Global Leader, Government Affairs and Corporate Strategy for Dow AgroSciences. With over 25 years of experience in the areas of government affairs, public policy, regulatory affairs, product stewardship, and R&D, he has led corporate multi-stakeholder activities and strategies resulting in the successful approval, introduction and use of novel agricultural technologies and solutions globally. Brad has held numerous leadership and board positions within the life sciences industry and is a founding member of the recently launched GMO Answers initiative. Brad also served on the USDA’s Advisory Committee on Biotechnology & 21st Century Agriculture for 6 years and was a Senior Congressional Fellow with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture.
Brad received a Bachelors of Science degree from the University of Michigan, a Masters of Science degree in Environmental Health from Harvard University School of Public Health, and a Law degree from Indiana University School of Law. He also completed the executive global leadership program at The Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management.
Fabio Soller joined Cargill three years ago and works in technical sales, research management, and new products development. He has managed fish farms, shrimp farms and hatcheries and is a former professor of two universities where he taught general and organic chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, and biotechnology. He has 15 years experience in aquaculture. He was born in Brazil and majored in biology, received an M.Sc. in Biotechnology in Brazil, and completed a Ph.D. in Aquaculture at Auburn University in the United States.
Global Marketing Director, CHS Processing and Food Ingredients
Kara VanKleek is global marketing director for CHS Processing & Food Ingredients, a position she has held since October 2013. CHS Inc. is the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company.
As global marketing director, Ms. VanKleek is responsible for developing product, segment and channel marketing strategies that provide differentiation and competitive advantages, and creation of short- and long-term brand messaging, managing distributor and broker marketing programs, and identifying strategic global growth opportunities aligned with business strategies.
Prior to joining CHS, Ms. VanKleek was a marketing director at The Schwan Food Co. Inc., Bloomington, Minn., where she developed, launched and managed Bon Appétit® branded frozen food. In addition to owning her own company, she has also held numerous marketing, innovation and sales positions with ConAgra Foods, Bellisio Foods, Pillsbury and General Mills.
Ms. VanKleek holds an MBA in Marketing from University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn., a BS from Minnesota State University, and leadership certification from the Center for Creative Leadership.
Vice President, Marketing, Agspring
Bradford Warner brings Agspring more than two decades of diverse experience with both business and consumers markets through results-based market, product/service and channel development. Warner’s work with agricultural information systems, consumer packaged goods, an sustainable food ingredients has spanned market planning, product development, business development and marketing communication roles.
Senior Vice President, Informa Economics
From his office in Washington, D.C., Mr. Wiesemeyer contributes daily to the Informa Economics' Morning Comments report, providing clients with the latest information on agricultural policy and trade developments. He is a daily contributor to Informa's innovative product, Issue Monitor. He also is a regular speaker at the quarterly held agricultural policy roundtables put on by Informa Economics' Washington, D.C., office. Since 1978, he has frequently reported on and interviewed senior government officials, including Presidents Reagan and Carter, as well as all USDA Secretaries since the mid-1970s; he has traveled extensively in his assignments and is a frequent and nationally known speaker on farm policy and trade issues. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Wiesemeyer most recently was the Washington editor and bureau chief for Pro Farmer, where he still contributes a daily analysis and commentary on policy and trade developments called Inside Washington Today on the profarmer.com web site. Also while at Pro Farmer, he was the Washington editor for Oster Communication's Pro Farmer newsletter and Futures magazine. Mr. Wiesemeyer also was the Washington bureau chief for Futures World News (FWN), formerly owned by Oster. Prior to Pro Farmer, he was a Washington editor with Doane's Agricultural Report and Washington editor and managing editor of the Washington Farmletter. He received his bachelor's degree in history from Southern Illinois University.
Consultant, Transportation Consultants Co.
Tom Williamson is founder and President of Transportation Consultants Co. which was started in 1984. Transportation Consultants, based in a Kansas City suburb, provides research, rate analysis, contract negotiation and logistics management to firms for rail, barge and ocean shipment of their products. Customers include grain, processing, food, ethanol, alcohol and petroleum companies. Tom has over 40 years of experience in bulk commodity transportation and has preformed new plant transportation economic/location studies for ag handling and processing facilities worldwide for over $10 billion in capital expenditures.
Tom owns Iron Horse Railcar Management managed by his wife Terry. Iron Horse negotiates leases for rail cars and manages private rail car fleets. He also owns Locomotive Leasing, which buys, rebuilds and leases railway locomotives to both short-line railroads and ag firms to switch railcars within their plants.
Tom was Director of Transportation for Anaconda Company from 1970 to 1975 and Assistant Vice President of Continental Grain from 1975 to 1981. Williamson was raised on a farm in West Texas, graduated from Texas Tech with a BBA in Transportation and graduated from the New York Academy of Advanced Traffic. Tom has a married son that lives in Boston and has twin 1 1/2 year old grandchildren.
Business Unit Manager, Animal Proteins and Fats, Feed Division, Wilbur-Ellis Company
Marc Yung serves as Business Unit Manager, Animal Proteins and Fats, for Wilbur-Ellis Company’s Feed Division.
Marc began his career in the feed industry in 1986 with Iowa Beef Processors. In 1997, he moved to Wilbur-Ellis where he merchandised and exported animal proteins. As part of his role at Wilbur-Ellis, Marc has worked on new business development, which included opening division offices in Idaho and Kansas, as well as acquisitions.
Marc grew up on a family farm outside of Wichita, KS, and is a graduate of Kansas State University (1986) where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science. He currently resides in the state with his wife and their youngest of three children.