March 4-6, 2021 - America's largest farmer-led, farmer-focused agricultural & educational experience!

Speaker Bios

Check out all these great speakers from the 2020 Commodity Classic!


Bryce Anderson


Bryce Anderson, Senior Agriculture Meteorologist has brought in-depth analysis and forecasts on agricultural weather and market impact to DTN readers in the U.S. and worldwide for more than 20 years. His daily weather commentaries, videos, blogs and Progressive Farmer magazine articles are widely read and watched. Anderson is a frequent guest on ag media for articles and programs. His speaking schedule includes presentations at producer conferences and farm shows. Anderson is a native of south-central Nebraska. Prior to joining DTN, he was an award-winning farm broadcaster and agricultural meteorologist at radio and television stations in Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska, and is a member of the American Meteorological Society.



Dr. Pamela Bachman


Dr. Pamela Bachman, Digital Ag & Sustainability Manager, is responsible for Climate Corporation's sustainability initiatives with the goal to increase agricultural sector participation in sustainable practices. Prior to her current role Bachman spent 10 years in the Regulatory Science division at Bayer Crop Science and Monsanto Company as an ecotoxicologist and Environmental Strategic Engagement Lead.  In her decade in the agriculture industry, Bachman has engaged across academic, government, and industry sectors to develop guidance and best practices for ecological risk assessment, pollinator health, and drive ag sector participation in habitat conservation efforts. She is trained as an aquatic toxicologist/ecologist and received her Ph.D. from Florida International University in Miami.



Brad Bales


Brad Bales is the Assistant Manager of Fairholme Ag LLC in east central Indiana. He received his BS degree in Medical Technology from Purdue University in 2015. He joined Fairholme Farms Inc in 2016 as farm operations associate. He has his Part 107 license for drone scouting on the farm. He and his wife live on the farm in the house where he lived as a young child.



Randy Bales


Randy Bales is the Managing Member of Fairholme Ag LLC in east central Indiana. He received his BS degree in Agricultural Mechanization from Purdue University in 1985. He has been employed by Fairholme Farms Inc since 1986 and formed Fairholme Ag LLC to assume the crop operations from Fairholme Farms in 2019. The current operation consists of 1,500 acres of rented ground owned by Fairholme Farms growing corn and soybeans using no till/strip till/cover crops and 270 of custom farming. He has been involved in precision agriculture, Soil Health Partnership and several on farm research projects including vrt seeding, vrt fertilizer, grid soil sampling, row spacing. Fairholme Farms transitioned to 20-inch rows in 2017. He and his wife have three sons and a daughter, all married, and one granddaughter.



Brian Basting


Brian Basting has been a Commodity Research Analyst for Advance Trading since September 1993 as well as a market analyst for U.S. Farm Report and This Week in Agribusiness. He is a 4-H Hall of Fame Award Recipient.



Laurie Bedord

Laurie Bedord is the Ag Technology Editor for Successful Farming magazine, the Successful Farming Show and She has been covering ag technology and machinery for nearly twenty years. An award-winning editor, Laurie was named Folio's 2015 B2B Editor-of-the-Year for her extensive coverage on technology. A graduate of Simpson College, she is originally from upstate New York where her family owned and operated a 200-herd dairy farm and grew corn, soybeans, and alfalfa.



Dr. Fred E. Below

Dr. Fred E. Below has been a Professor of Crop Physiology in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois since 1985. He received his B.S, M.S, and Ph.D. degrees in Agronomy all from the University of Illinois.  His research is focused on understanding factors limiting crop productivity, particularly corn and soybeans. He is author or coauthor on more than 90 peer-reviewed manuscripts, numerous abstracts, book and proceedings chapters, and he has trained more than 60 graduate and postdoctoral students. He has received numerous awards for his teaching excellence and he is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy. He developed the 'Seven Wonders of The Corn Yield World' and the 'Six Secrets of Soybean Success' as tools to teach farmers and agricultural professionals the value of their individual crop management decisions, and he is actively using these concepts to develop systems capable of sustainably producing high corn and soybean yields.  He has three daughters, and he and his wife live on a small farm just outside Champaign, Illinois.



Matt Bennett


Matt Bennett, as a Channel Seed grain marketing consultant and a Windsor, Illinois, farmer and former grain elevator manager, adds the producer perspective to his talks, enriched with his extensive grain marketing background.



Dr. Maria Bowman


Dr. Maria Bowman is the Lead Scientist for the Soil Health Partnership, leading the scientific and data plan for the partnership. Dr. Bowman comes to SHP having worked as in research agriculture economics for the USDA. She holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to her work with the USDA, Dr. Bowman was a sustainable livestock economics fellow for the Natural Resources Defense Council. She earned her Master of Science in Forest Economics and Management from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from Juniata College.



Robert Brunner


Robert Brunner is Associate Dean for Innovation and Chief Disruption Officer in the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois and Principal and Founder of Innodative, LLC. Brunner comes from an ag background, but his true passion lies in understanding technology and its application in society and business. He provides data-science consulting for several businesses, including many in the ag technology space. Brunner's work identifies how modern technology is disrupting business as we know it, and he helps evaluate what farmers must change to be more nimble in this uncertain world.



Dale W. Dobson


Dale W. Dobson is Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Safety Administrator as well as a farmer, and volunteer firefighter and EMT. He created and hosted the first ever farm safety program on his farm in 1994, which started growing and eventually became a state-wide program. After growing up on the farm, he still farms today working with grain and beef in Hodgenville, KY.



Randy Dowdy


Randy Dowdy is a first-generation farmer from Valdosta, Georgia, operating a 1,700-acre corn, soybean & peanut farm. Randy set the world corn yield record in 2014 with a yield of 503 bu./acre. In 2016, he set the world record in soybeans at 171 bu./acre and reached a personal best corn haul on his farm of 521 bu./acre. Randy's production strategies focus on maximizing yields by minimizing stress that plants experience throughout the growing season. He is a critical thinker and lifelong learner whose forward-thinking approach to crop production challenges traditionally accepted practices and focuses on ROI by extracting as much yield as possible from each seed planted.



Dave Fogel


Dave Fogel has been a Commodity Broker/ Consultant since 1982. He is also a skilled teacher and speaker and a mentor and builder of the ATI Risk Management philosophy, dedicated to serving today's farmer.



Pipa Elias

Elias is Director of Agriculture in North America for The Nature Conservancy. Skilled at applying scientific research to advance policy and conservation solutions, Elias leads an interdisciplinary team of experts in a collaborative approach to help producers meet the growing demand for food while protecting critical lands and waters. Elias joined TNC in 2015 as a senior policy advisor, leading land use policy advocacy at the United Nations climate negotiations and other multilateral venues. In her eight years worPipaking on the UN climate negotiations, including six years before joining TNC, she led a coalition of nearly a dozen NGOs that helped influence the system of incentives and measurements for the land-use sector in global climate agreements. In January 2017, she joined the North America Agriculture team as Soil Health Strategy Manager.



John R. Fisher


John R. Fisher has recently retired from Alamo Group, Incorporated, based in Seguin, Texas, where he served as Vice President of Technical Affairs and Safety.  A 42-year member of ASABE, serving as a member of the Society's Board of Trustees and ASABE Foundation Board of Trustees, he is a recent inductee as an ASABE fellow.  Fisher has been extensively involved in the Ergonomics, Safety, and Health (ESH) technical community as both a member and a leader.  Fisher received an ASABE Standards Council Leadership Citation for his industry standards work and maintains membership with SAE International and the American Society of Safety Engineers. Fisher has been a very active member of AEM's technical committees and chaired the AEM Technical and Safety Leadership Council from 2011 to 2017.  Fisher has been a leader in the development of national and international standards.



Sally Flis


Sally Flis, Ph.D., CCA is Senior Director of Agronomy, The Fertilizer Institute, working closely with state and national 4R programs, outreach, and education. She received her B.S. in Dairy Science and Agronomy and then a M.S. in Dairy Science from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Her Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Science is from the University of Vermont.



Deb Gangwish


Deb Gangwish of Shelton, Nebraska, serves as a farmer-leader on the Corn Board of the National Corn Growers Association and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association. Gangwish raises 8,000 acres of corn and 3,000 acres of soybeans in central and north-central Nebraska. She also operates a 2,000-head backgrounding lot and a 500-head cow/calf herd. In addition to traditional farming and ranching activities, she and her family run a custom harvest seed operation and a small trucking company.



Kevin Gerlach


Kevin Gerlach farms on Gerlach Farms, located in Nevada, Iowa, which was  established in 1932 by Wilbur Gerlach, Kevin's grandfather. Handed down to Wilbur's sons, Dwayne and Kevin's father Willard, Gerlach Farms is now a multi-generational corn and soybean rotational farm that also focuses on growing seed corn and seed beans and has implemented cover crops for the past four years. Gerlach works along-side his brother, cousin, son, and Dwayne's grandson to apply new technologies and bring new ideas into the business so it can be passed along to future generations.



Chandler Goule

Chandler Goule is National Association of Wheat Growers' Chief Executive Officer, coming into that role in July of 2016. In this capacity, Goule oversees NAWG's industry relations, acts as Executive Director of the National Wheat Foundation, and leads NAWG's efforts to advocate for American wheat farmers. Prior to his position at NAWG, Goule served as the Sr. Vice President of Programs for the National Farmers Union for several years. Goule also formerly served as the staff director of the Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry for the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture under former chairman Rep. Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn. Goule has worked extensively in Washington, D.C., on agriculture, food safety and trade policy. He graduated from Texas A&M University on a 4-H scholarship, earning a Bachelor of Science in animal science with an emphasis in production. While in Washington he completed his master's in political management and corporate and public affairs at The George Washington University.



Tommy Grisafi


Tommy Grisafi is a recognized member of the CBOT and CME group since 1993, market analyst for U.S. Farm Report, public speaker, and Commodity Broker with Advance Trading since 2014.



Calvin Haile

Calvin Haile is Co-Owner if Haile Farm, LCC in Dunnsville, VA, located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The farm has 2,750 acres of corn, soybeans, and wheat. Haile was selected as a 4R Advocate in 2016.



Brian Hefty and Darren Hefty


Brian Hefty and Darren Hefty are farmers and agronomists from Baltic. Since 1998, they have co-hosted “Ag PhD,” the nation's most-watched agronomy television show. The brothers also host the most listened-to ag radio program in the U.S., “Ag PhD Radio,” which airs weekdays on SiriusXM channel 147. “Ag PhD” is about helping farmers produce more yield and more income, but at the same time improving soil and the environment.



Ryan Heiniger


Ryan Heiniger is Director of Agriculture & Conservation Innovations for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever.  In this role, Heiniger is leading the organization's Precision Ag Initiative and developing private-sector partnerships to improve farmer profitability, sustainability and wildlife habitat.  He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Iowa State University in Wildlife Biology. Heiniger and his wife Nikki are raising their son and daughter as the 5th generation on their family farm along the banks of the Mississippi River in southeast Iowa.  Heiniger has 20 years of experience working with diverse partners to conserve habitats at landscape scales using innovative, voluntary-based programs. His core belief is that agriculture and our hunting heritages are uniquely linked and our future is also dependent upon working together since society has become urbanized and disconnected from life on the gravel roads of rural America.



Jason Henderson


Jason Henderson, Associate Dean and Director of Purdue Extension, leads the statewide public engagement and research-based education in Agricultural and Natural Resources, 4-H Youth Development, Health and Human Sciences, and Economic and Community Development. As Assistant Vice President for Engagement, Henderson provides leadership in university-wide initiatives designed to connect Purdue expertise and resources to statewide needs and forming effective partnerships to grow the state economy and improve the quality of life for Indiana's residents. Prior to being named Director of Extension, he served as Vice President and Omaha Branch Executive at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and previously served as economist and senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Henderson is a nationally recognized expert in agricultural and rural issues. He has published more than 60 research articles in academic and Federal Reserve publications on topics such as land values, entrepreneurship, demographics, the growth of knowledge-based activity in rural America, the use of electronic commerce in agricultural industries, and the growth of value-added food manufacturing activity.



Adam Holm


Adam Holm is the Equipment Program Manager for Pivot Bio.  Before joining Pivot Bio, Holm sold and serviced precision ag equipment at an Iowa cooperative.  He received his Bachelor's degree in ag business from Iowa State University.



Dr. Wayne Honeycutt


Dr. Wayne Honeycutt leads the Soil Health Institute's programs to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soils. He previously served for five years as the Deputy Chief for Science and Technology with USDA-NRCS in Washington, D.C., where he led programs in technology acquisition, development, and transfer to ensure NRCS conservation practices reflect the latest scientific advances for conserving our nation's soil, water, air, plant, animal, and energy resources. He served as a Research Soil Scientist for 14 years and a Research Leader for 10 years with the USDA-ARS New England Plant, Soil, and Water Laboratory, where he led and conducted interdisciplinary research on carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous cycling and sustainable cropping systems development. He holds a Ph.D. in Soil Genesis from Colorado State University.



“King” David Hula


“King” David Hula is the current World Corn Yield Record holder, setting this bar in 2017 with a whopping yield of 542 bu./acre. David resides in on the banks of the James River in Charles City, Virginia purchased in the 1930's by his late grandfather. A true family operation, David works besides both his father and son representing the second, third and fourth generations to work the family farm.



Brandon Hunnicutt


Brandon Hunnicutt and his brother Zach recently took over the reins at Hunnicutt Farms in Giltner, Nebraska. The transition has been a bit rough at times, but they say they have seen worse too. Brandon says better communications would have been a huge help. They grow corn, soybeans, seed corn, popcorn and sorghum using the latest in technology, sometimes under organic production. Brandon is on the board of the National Corn Growers Association and recently became the first farmer to chair the board of directors for Field-to-Market, a program that crosses the value chain. Brandon and Zach both have busy families and are committed to making the next farm transition go better for everyone.


Cameron Hurnard


Cameron Hurnard is the Director of Data Services and Software Development at Iron Solutions.  
He received his Bachelor of Science degree with a major in computer science and minor in statistics from the University of Saskatchewan.  He spent a number of years with GE Healthcare developing self-service business intelligence systems before joining Iron Solutions in 2007.  While at Iron Solutions, Hurnard developed the Iron Index, which is a measure of the overall health of the agricultural equipment market. He also led the development of the predictive model that is being used by equipment dealers and financial institutions to forecasts residual values for both new and used equipment.


To his hundreds of thousands of YouTube channel subscribers, Zach Johnson is better known as the MN Millennial Farmer. He is a fifth-generation farmer from Lowry, Minnesota, where he and his wife Becky live with their three children and their niece, and farm with Johnson's father. His great-grandfather came over from Sweden and homesteaded their land in 1876, which they still farm as a row crop operation today.



Al Kluis


Al Kluis has been a commodity advisor and broker since 1976. Kluis is an introducing broker with Wedbush Futures, and writes a column, Your Profit, which appears in every issue of Successful Farming magazine. He has published two books on commodities trading, and is commonly quoted in major publications including the Wall Street Journal, and is a featured speaker at commodity conferences nationwide. He is a frequent market analyst for the Linder Farm Radio News Network. Kluis, a Minnesota farmboy, was awarded his degree in Ag Economics from the University of Minnesota in 1974, after which he was executive director of the Minnesota Soybean Association before entering the markets full-time. His family still farms in southwest Minnesota and he enjoys helping with fieldwork when the markets allow.



Bruce Knight


Bruce Knight is owner and founder of Strategic Conservation Solutions, LLC. From 2002 to 2006, Knight served as Chief of Natural Resources Conservation Service, the lead USDA agency for conservation on private working agricultural lands.  Today, as a consultant focused on conservation and environmental issues related to agriculture, Knight provides a visionary and unique perspective on the future of conservation policies.



Bryce Knorr


Bryce Knorr, Senior Grain Market Analyst for Farm Futures magazine, and Farm Futures Daily newsletter, provides daily commentary as well as forecasts and strategies for key inputs including fuel and fertilizer at His estimates are reported by wires services ahead of USDA reports, and Knorr also conducts the industry's largest nongovernment surveys of producers' acreage and production. He has been registered as a broker or commodity trading advisor since 1995.



Larry Kuster


Larry Kuster is a Seeding and Tillage Product Marketing Specialist responsible for seeding and tillage marketing communications at AGCO.   He brings over 40 years of experience in seeding and tillage from direct selling and advising customers to being a key member of AGCOs seeding and tillage marketing team.  Kuster is regularly called upon by farm media including magazines like Successful Farming, Farm Industry News, Farm Life, and others due to his expertise in the industry.



Michael Langemeier


Michael Langemeier, Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University joined Purdue University in July 2012. Most of Langemeier's research has focused on the efficiency of farms and ranches, and crop and livestock enterprise production costs and efficiency as well as research related to tillage systems, biomass crops and the tradeoff between crop rotation profitability and water quality. Prior to arriving at Purdue, Langemeier spent 22 years in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University. He is currently involved in agribenchmark, an international benchmarking group centered in Germany.  Langemeier received Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a doctorate from Purdue University. Michael's family operates farms in eastern Nebraska.



Faith Larson

Faith Larson has a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with an emphasis in finance from University of Nebraska - Lincoln, a Juris Doctorate from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and Masters in Business Administration from University of Nebraska - Omaha. Larson's experience is diverse across industries and practice, where she has practiced law, served in high-level financial roles and focused on driving growth through business development. Faith has worked in venture capital, mergers & acquisitions, and commodity trading. She is known for driving strategic growth across many industries.



Jason Lee


Jason Lee was raised in rural South Dakota and was actively involved with the farming community, including raising cattle and working in Ag retail. He attended South Dakota State University and received a B.S. degree in Agronomy in 2013. Lee then attended Purdue University where he received an M.S. degree in Agronomy in 2015 and was actively involved with several extension activities and conducting on-farm research. Over the years, his research has focused on several aspects of agronomy including cropping systems, precision farming, soil fertility and plant nutrition, and biological use in corn production.



Patty Leonard


Patty and Jeff Leonard sold most of their dairy cows in the past few years and have focused more on farming, some beef cattle and agritainment/agritourism. She says that made more sense with the urbanization they have faced and the challenges dairy has had over the past decade. Patty remembers working through farm transitions with her family and in-laws in the 1980s and says that seems really easy in the rearview mirror as she and her husband have begun working on the next farm transition. As the Leonards near retirement, they are trying to figure out what is fair for their adult daughters, some of whom are on the farm while others work off-farm.



Sal Litrico


Sal Litrico is CEO for APCT, and is a member of the APH Executive Management Team. Mr. Litrico graduated from the State University of New York Maritime College in 1977, with Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Transportation Management, a commission as Ensign in U.S. Navy, a license as Third Mate Oceans Unlimited Tonnage, and a Master's license for 1600 GRT Vessels. Upon graduation, he sailed in various licensed deck officer positions, including Master, with American Export Lines and Interstate & Ocean Transport He held numerous professional, management and executive positions in Safety and Vessel Operations with Maritrans before becoming Vice President for the company. Litrico moved on to become President and Chief Operating Officer of TECO Transport, before becoming President and Chief Executive Officer for the United Maritime Group with management responsibility for three distinct operating fleets. Upon his retirement, Litrico formed Charlie Echo where he works as a subject matter expert and consultant for Business Development, leadership training, risk management and litigation support.



Troy Long

Troy Long serves Valley Irrigation as Senior Director of Product Management - Irrigation. He leads the product management team in developing and delivering innovative solutions to growers that improve crop health. Long earned his Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering and Master's Degree in Industrial Engineering, and has worked at valley for eight years. Prior to Valley, he held various roles designing and manufacturing industrial machinery and electronic products.



Nathan Mangold


Nathan Mangold has been a Merchandising Consultant & Broker with Advance Trading, Inc. since July of 1999. He has also held grain positions with an Illinois Co-op and A.E. Staley. Mangold manages a family farm in Central Illinois.



Kent Martin

Kent Martin is a sixth-generation farmer from Alva, Oklahoma. He runs a no-till rotation of canola, wheat and grain sorghum in addition to his beef cattle operation, which involves pedigreed rye seed production, grazing wheat and rye and a cow/calf operation on native grass pasture. Martin took over the family farm after losing his father in 2011. Before returning to the farm, Martin worked for Kansas State University's Southwest Research-Extension Center in Garden City, Kansas. His previous work as a crops and soil specialist considerably influences the agronomic decisions he makes today. In addition to farming, Martin manages Martin Agronomic and Environmental Consulting, LLC. He currently serves on the Oklahoma Sorghum Association as well as the United Sorghum Checkoff Program board of directors.



Trevor Mecham


As Vice President, Global Technology Strategy - Irrigation, Trevor Mecham leads Valley technology strategy, assuring growers continue to receive innovative solutions and a strong return on investment. Prior to joining Valley, Mecham earned his Bachelor's Degree in Business Marketing, held various roles within the agriculture industry, and worked on his 4,000-acre family farm.



Jason Medows


Jason Medows has been building his cow-calf operations in south-central Missouri for years, while he works full-time as a pharmacist. The youngest of five, Jason still lives close to his parents and has continued to help out on their place although he nor his siblings know what will become of it in the future. Medows says not talking about the farm transition is frightening and the stress is complicated by his father’s declining health. Talking this through has been so important to Jason that he started the podcast “Ag State of Mind.” His wife Keri is a Registered Nurse, and they are raising four boys.



Matt Meisner


Matt Meisner, Ph.D., is Farmer Business Networks' Head of Data Science, where he leads scientific, research and technical development and creates the FBN analytics system. While in graduate school at University of California-Davis, Meisner worked with hundreds of cotton and citrus farmers in California to develop novel pest and crop prediction models by applying big data, statistical computing, and machine learning techniques. He has more than a decade of research experience using quantitative tools to analyze agricultural biology and has co-authored a number of peer-reviewed journal publications. Meisner earned his doctorate in population biology and master's degree in statistics from University of California-Davis and earned his bachelor's degree in biological sciences from MIT.



James Mintert


James Mintert is a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics where he serves as director of the Center for Commercial Agriculture and is one of the principal investigators for the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. Prior to his time at Purdue, Mintert was a professor and Extension Economist in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University for over two decades. He holds B.S and M.S. degrees in agricultural economics from Purdue University and a doctorate from the University of Missouri.  The author of more than 250 publications focusing on the economics of the farm economy, Jim acquired his interest in agriculture while working on his family's farm in the Mississippi and Missouri river bottoms, just north of St. Louis.



Tyne Morgan


Through public speaking and various contest teams in high school, Tyne Morgan, host of US Farm Report, plunged into broadcast at the young age of 16. While in high school, she worked at KMZU radio providing the daily farm market updates, as well as local, state and national agriculture news. Morgan attended the University of Missouri-Columbia where she majored in Agriculture Journalism, with an emphasis in broadcast. During her college years, she was a farm broadcast intern for Brownfield Ag News, and was the 2006 Missouri State Fair Queen, serving as the Ambassador for Missouri agriculture.



Jay Myers


Jay Myers grows soybean and corn seed and wheat on his farm in Colfax, North Dakota, and is serving his seventh year as a farmer-leader on the United Soybean Board. He also provides agronomy services outside of farming. Myers is involved in the North Dakota Soybean Council, North Dakota Soybean Growers Association, Richland County Crop Improvement Board and is a board member of the new North Dakota Soybean Processors plant and bidoesel refinery. Myers believes increasing the value of soybeans is an issue facing our industy and that keeping up with supply and demand is an opportunity for U.S. soy.



John Osthus


John Osthus has three decades of agrimarketing leadership experience, helping build stronger relationships between business, people and the environment. Thanks to a farm town upbringing and journalism jobs starting in high school, John took a natural path to the University of Illinois, where he studied agricultural communications. He counts promoting reduced tillage and helping launch the first biotech products as his favorite career experiences - so far. Through a wide range of marketing communications and sustainability issues management work at some of the world's largest agribusinesses and ag agencies, Osthus has applied a life-long passion for farming, business strategy, science (and food), to proactively help address sustainability challenges.



Manda Patrick

Manda Patrick is the Director of Sales and Business Development at Iron Solutions. She has been a part of several start-ups, including RFD-TV, where she grew cable distribution by over 20 million households. After spending time in artificial intelligence software and a short stint in agricultural lending, Manda found her home at Iron Solutions in 2015.  Manda's leadership and passion for what she does has brought a transparent customer-centric style to Iron that focuses everything back to the customer.



Monte Peterson


Monte Peterson is a fourth-generation soybean and corn farmer from Valley City, N.D. Peterson is a director on the board of the American Soybean Association, serving on the Trade Promotion and International Affairs Committee and has served on Membership and Corporate Relations, Finance and Administrative Services and Strategic Planning. He also serves as Vice-Chair of United States Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and Chairman of the USSEC Governance Committee. In his state, Peterson serves as a director on the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association (NDSGA), where he is on the Legislative Committee. Peterson is a member of the Agricultural Advisory to the Commodity Futures Trade Commission (CFTC) and is past chairman of the North Dakota Soybean Council (NDSC) and still serves on their Marketing Committee. He is a past board member of the North Central Soybean Research Program (NCSRP). Peterson and his wife Penny have two daughters and two granddaughters.



Steve Pitstick

Steve Pitstick is the vice-chairman of the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA), district director and member of the ISA Production Committee. He produces corn and soybeans near Maple Park, Ill. He holds an Associate's degree from Kishwaukee Community College and has been active previously with the Kane County Farmland Protection Commission, Kaneland Sports Boosters, Kane County Farm Bureau and his church. Pitstick also has participated in the Illinois Ag Leadership Program, Illinois Ag Leadership Foundation, Agriculture Leaders of Tomorrow and served as a Soy Ambassador. He currently also works as an advisor to startup ag tech companies.



Dr. Cristie Preston


Agriculture has always been an integral part of Dr. Cristie Preston's life. She grew up in southwest Virginia and had interest in crop and animal agriculture since an early age. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science and a Master of Science degree in crop and soil environmental science from Virginia Tech. Dr. Preston holds a Ph.D. in agronomy, focusing on soil fertility from Kansas State University. While completing her advanced degrees, Dr. Preston conducted more than six years of field and lab research. Dr. Preston has experience in laboratory research measuring volatility loss from urea-based fertilizers. Her field research has focused on phosphorus availability and the interactions with tillage and placement. She also has extensive experience in working with large data sets and analysis. Her main priority is helping growers to identify yield-limiting factors and fix those issues as cost efficiently as possible.



Derek Reed


Derek Reed grew up on a farm in Southwest Missouri and attended University of Missouri-Columbia.  He has spent the last 15 years working in the agricultural industry at various locations across the Midwest with stints at  DeBruce Grain in Kansas City, Missouri trading wheat, corn, and soybeans; and in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Madison, Wisconsin for Gavilon Grain.  Currently Reed works for GFG Ag Services with a focus on containerized grain to Southeast Asia and other parts of the Pacific Rim.



Mark Reisinger


Mark Reisinger leads the commercial operations for Pivot Bio's cutting-edge technology and novel fertilizer solutions. Previously, Reisinger held positions at Dupont Pioneer (now Corteva), Agribusiness Association of Iowa, USDA Office of Rural Development, and served as the Chief Agricultural Policy Advisor to Iowa Senator Charles E. Grassley. He has an undergraduate degree from Iowa State University and his JD from Drake Law School. He grew up on a corn, soybean, alfalfa and livestock farm near Eldora, Iowa, and remains active with the family farm.



Scott Schadler


Scott Schadler serves as Manager of Production Systems Field Research on John Deere's Crop Production Systems Innovation (CPSI) team. He earned a B.S in Agribusiness Management and Agronomy from Michigan State University and is currently pursuing a Masters of Agribusiness at Kansas State University. He has been employed by John Deere for 20 years and has held several positions in a wide range of roles that include: Crop Systems Specialist, Territory Sales Manager, Platform Product Marketing, Platform Market Planning, and Tactical Marketing.



Fred Seamon


Fred Seamon serves as Executive Director, Agricultural Research and Product Development of CME Group.  He leads the team responsible for conducting research on the structure and performance of agricultural markets, including investigating the feasibility and developing specifications for new futures and options products globally.  Since joining the company in 2001, Seamon has held roles of increasing responsibility and has been heavily involved in the creation of multiple domestic and international agricultural products, including ethanol futures contracts and cleared-only agricultural swap products. Prior to joining CME Group, Seamon was on faculty at the University of Wyoming, where he conducted research in commodity marketing issues.  He holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a Ph.D. in applied economics from Clemson University.



Tom Sell


Tom Sell is cofounder and managing partner of Combest, Sell & Associates, LLC. Before starting the firm, Mr. Sell was deputy chief of staff for the House Committee on Agriculture, where he was instrumental in crafting the 2002 Farm Bill. He later spent time as director of intergovernmental affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Tom began his career in Washington shortly after graduation from Texas Tech University by serving in Congressman Combest's personal office, where he worked on a variety of issues, including agriculture, environment, and international trade issues. In 2003, motivated by a desire to replant his family in native West Texas, the Sells moved back to Lubbock and Tom began his pursuit of a law degree at Texas Tech. He received his Doctorate of Jurisprudence in 2006, and is licensed to practice in Texas. He continues to live in Lubbock with his wife, Kyla, and four children.



Jim Sutter


Jim Sutter joined USSEC as its CEO in 2010 after over 30 years of industry experience with Cargill, Inc. Since joining USSEC, Sutter has led strategy development to ensure that the organization's key focus is on differentiating and building a preference for U.S. Soy, while also ensuring market access. Key initiatives have included building on the competitive advantage of U.S. Soy's sustainability, improving the partnership with customers in the area of sustainable food security, and demonstration of the intrinsic and extrinsic advantages of U.S. Soy to customers around the globe. Strong emphasis has also been placed on ensuring USSEC's project management and administrative processes meet or exceed the requirements of their funding sources. Sutter grew up on a crop and cattle farm in northeastern Colorado and received a degree in Agricultural Business/Economics from Colorado State University.



Bryan Tomm


Bryan Tomm operates a family farm with his brother-in-law where they grow corn, soybean, and wheat in southern Illinois. After graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois and a 9-year stint working for ADM in Decatur, Ill., Tomm had an opportunity to get back to farming as part of his wife's family farm. In addition to farming, Tomm owns and operates a small engineering consulting firm.



Edward Usset


Edward Usset, Grain Marketing Specialist, Center for Farm Financial Management, University of Minnesota. Ussett published a second edition of his book "Grain Marketing is Simple (it's just not easy) in 2018." He was also instrumental in reinventing the fantasy grain marketing learning tool “Commodity Challenge.”



Dr. Steven Ward


Dr. Steven Ward is the Director of Data Insights & Discovery at The Climate Corporation based in San Francisco, CA. He currently leads a research team comprised of remote sensing scientists, geographers, statisticians, meteorologists and artificial intelligence specialists conducting advanced research in the areas of Remote Sensing, Digital Agriculture and Crop Physiology. His role also finds him assisting with geospatial strategy, tech evaluation and architecture design for engineering, product and leadership teams across Climate Corp. and Bayer. Dr. Ward is currently a member of the Climate Corporations Scientific Leadership Team as well as the Bayer Data Science Council.



Adam Weiss


Adam Weiss, General Manager of AGI Suretrack, delivers decades of business and engineering leadership to the ag industry. With a passion for new product development, growth strategies and market analysis, Weiss has driven significant progress through hardware and software innovations.



Jon Whatley


Jon Whatley and his wife Kelly operate J&K Whatley Farms in Odem, Texas, where they grow cotton, corn, milo and have some cattle along the Gulf Coast. He started farming with his dad when he was a kid and always wanted to continue the family farm. Working with his parents, Jon successfully transitioned the farm over a period of five years. Jon and Kelly have two sons: Payne who earned an agronomy degree at Texas A&M and is now in law school, and Jackson, currently in his second year at Texas A&M. Jon has served on the National Cotton Council’s American Cotton Producers board.



Ariel Wiegard


Ariel Wiegard joined Syngenta's Federal Government Relations team in 2018. As one of Syngenta's lobbyists, she works with Congress and the Trump Administration to enact and improve policies that impact American agriculture. She also manages SyngentaPAC, Syngenta's nonpartisan employee political action committee. Prior to Syngenta, Ariel led Farm Bill lobbying, coalition building, and grassroots advocacy campaigns as director of the Center for Agriculture and Private Lands at the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a DC-based hunting and fishing organization, and held a variety of other management positions for other organizations. She attended the University of Virginia for college and Vermont Law School's master's program for environmental law and policy with a focus on agriculture and food systems.



Eric Woodie


Eric Woodie serves as trade analyst on behalf of the Illinois Soybean Association. Woodie's years in international agricultural trade, marketing and global logistics allow him to make continued expansion of Illinois soy exports possible. Through the ISA checkoff program, Woodie focuses on generating more demand in rapid-growth markets and strengthening relationships with current trading partners.



Brad Van De Woestyne


Brad Van De Woestyne has been with John Deere for 15 years in positions focused on agronomy, sensors and data and currently serves as Manager of Agronomic Innovation. He holds a B.S. in Crop Science from the University of Illinois, Ph.D. in Agronomy from Iowa State University, and a Certificate in Systems Design and Management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Van De Woestyne also owns and manages a family farm operation in Illinois.



Ron Wulfkuhle


Ron Wulfkuhle is Farmer Business Network's General Manager of Seed. His background includes U.S. and international seed industry experience, and he has spent his career in the farming and biotech industries. Wulfkuhle has focused on seed business management and strategy, seed treatment, plant genetics and plant biotech commercialization. He is a graduate of Kansas State University and was raised on a farm in northeast Kansas, which his dad and brother still operate today.



Cyndi Young


Cyndi Young joined Brownfield as Regional Farm Director in 1998, and in October of 2001, was promoted to Farm Director and Ag Operations Manager. She has traveled extensively throughout the United States and to 16 different countries covering agriculture for Midwestern farmers. Her work has earned her dozens of honors from agriculture groups and associations. A member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting for nearly 28 years, Young was recognized as Farm Broadcaster of the Year for the nation in 1997, and received the coveted Oscar in Agriculture in 2009. In addition to managing the largest ag radio network in the country, she produces a daily radio commentary program and pens a popular weekly column in both Illinois AgriNews and Indiana AgriNews.  A partner with her husband, Jim Puyear, in Rocking P Ranch near Jamestown, Missouri, Young enjoys spending time at home with the registered Simmental cattle herd.