Speakers



Keynote Speakers
Carl Casale
President and Chief Executive Officer of CHS

Mr. Casale is President and Chief Executive Officer of CHS, a leading energy, grains and foods company and the nation’s largest member-owned cooperative. He assumed his position with CHS in January 2011. He previously was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Monsanto Company. Casale currently serves as director on the boards of Ventura Foods, Ecolab Inc., National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and the Minnesota Business Partnership.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Oregon State University and an executive master of business administration from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. The Oregon State University College of Agriculture named Casale its 2009 alumni fellow. He is a native of Oregon’s Willamette Valley and, along with his wife, Kim, operates a family-owned blueberry farm near Aurora, Oregon. His family has conducted business with area supply and marketing cooperatives for generations.


Dr. Kevin Folta
Professor and Chairman, Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida

An accomplished educator, molecular biologist and researcher, Dr. Folta is professor and chairman of the horticultural sciences department at the University of Florida. He conducts research on plant genomics, how plants respond to light and the genetic basis of flavors. A science communicator with a wide following on social media, Dr. Folta actively participates in the public discussion of a variety of topics related to agricultural biotechnology, including new ways to make better food with less input.

To learn more, visit Dr. Folta’s blog
or follow him on Twitter @KevinFolta.

Dr. Patrick Moore
Independent Ecologist/Environmentalist, Ecosense Environmental Inc.

An independent ecologist and environmentalist with Ecosense Environmental Inc., Dr. Moore has been a leader in the international environmental field for over 40 years. A co-founder of Greenpeace, he is now a self-proclaimed Greenpeace dropout and sensible environmentalist with a vision for a sustainable future. In 2013, Dr. Moore co-founded the Allow Golden Rice Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to seeing Golden Rice approved for commercial agriculture.

To learn more, visit www.allowgoldenricenow.org
or follow Dr. Moore on Twitter @EcoSenseNow.

Dr. Robert Fraley
Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Monsanto

Dr. Fraley has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Monsanto Company since 2000. He has a long list of accomplishments, including serving as technical advisor to many government and public agencies and authoring more than 100 publications and patent applications related to technical advances in agricultural biotechnology. He was named 2013 World Food Prize Laureate, is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and received the National Medal of Technology from President Clinton in 1999.

To learn more, read Dr. Fraley’s bio or follow him on Twitter @RobbFraley.

Session Speakers
Aaron Reinholz
Associate Director of Electronics Technology, North Dakota State University Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering

Mr. Reinholz is Associate Director for Electronics Technology at North Dakota State University, where he coordinates with industry partners during management of multiple project executions. He previously held various product development hardware engineering, systems engineering and project management roles with Rockwell Collins, Inc. in Iowa. Mr. Reinholz joined the Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering as Assistant Director for Electronics Technology in 2004 and is charged with managing and developing CNSE capabilities and resources related to electronics design and product development. He earned a B.S. in electrical and electronics engineering from NDSU.


Bill Buckner
President and CEO, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation

Buckner is President and CEO of The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc., an independent, non-profit institute headquartered in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Founded in 1945, the Noble Foundation conducts direct operations, including assisting farmers and ranchers, and conducting plant science research and agricultural programs, to enhance agricultural productivity regionally, nationally and internationally. Mr. Buckner previously served as President/CEO of Bayer CropScience, LP. He holds a B.S. in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He currently serves on the boards of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Wilbur-Ellis Company, Mercy Hospital Ardmore, Farm Foundation and the Soil Health Institute.


Corey Kratcha
CEO and Co-Founder, c2renew

Mr. Kratcha is the Co-Founder and CEO of c2renew, a material designer and custom compounder that utilizes proprietary biocomposite formulations to meet a wide range of engineering specifications across a broad number of industries. c2renew’s biocomposite material compounds are created by hybridizing various agriculture byproducts with recycled or virgin plastics from petroleum or renewable resources. In addition to c2renew, Mr. Kratcha is also Co-Founder and CEO of c2sensor. c2sensor is a soil data company that designs and manufactures biodegradable sensors that are planted in the ground to aggregate relevant soil data for applications in agriculture.


Dave Baudler
Managing Director, Grain, Cargill Supply Chain-North America

Mr. Baudler is Managing Director, Agricultural Supply Chain North America for Cargill, Inc., responsible for domestic and export grain across the U.S. and Canada. Raised on a family farm in south west Iowa, Dave joined Cargill after receiving his degree in Agricultural Business at Iowa State University. He previously served as Business Unit Leader and President of Cargill AgHorizons U.S. He was part of the World Trading Unit in Geneva Switzerland; involved with the Dressings, Sauces and Oils refining group within the Food Ingredients Platform, and he served in General Management of the Softseeds and Biodiesel segment of Grain and Oilseeds North America. Dave has also been on Cargill Corporate committees including the Financial Risk Committee and the Technology Venture Fund. Mr. Baudler currently serves on the Executive Board of the National Grain and Feed Association.


Dave Frederickson
Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Appointed Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture in January 2011, Mr. Frederickson’s family roots in farming go back to 1873. His farm background and his wide range of experience in public service have given him unique insights into the challenges facing Minnesota’s agricultural industry. As a state senator and in his positions at Minnesota Farmers Union and National Farmers Union, Frederickson earned a reputation as a strong advocate for farmers and agricultural issues, education and tax reform. Today, he is particularly focused on maintaining and building Minnesota’s food safety programs and on helping Minnesota farmers deal with unstable commodity prices and rising input costs. Frederickson earned a degree in education from St. Cloud State University, where he also performed graduate work in special education.


David Berg
Past CEO American Crystal Sugar Company

Mr. Berg served as American Crystal Sugar Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer from 2007 to 2016. A Fargo native, he earned a B.S. in mass communication from Minnesota State University in Moorhead, Minnesota, and an M.S. degree in agricultural economics from North Dakota State University. He worked at WDAY TV and General Mills, Inc., before joining American Crystal Sugar in 1987. During his tenure with the company, he held a number of positions, including Manager of Economic Research, Manager of Marketing and Analysis, Director of Market Information, and Vice President for the following departments: Strategic Planning, Business Development, Administration, Agriculture, and Operations.


David Hollinrake
Vice President, North American Marketing, Bayer CropScience

Mr. Hollinrake is Vice President of North America Marketing for Bayer CropScience LP, where he is responsible for strategy development and execution for ACO marketing and serves on the N.A. Leadership Team. He is based at the North American headquarters in Research Triangle Park. Mr. Hollinrake graduated from the University of Illinois and received an MBA from Washington University. His career has been mostly spent in agricultural and related industries. He served in a variety of senior roles with Monsanto Co., and before joining Bayer, worked at Adayana Inc., a training development and consulting company, where he was Vice President of Business Development. Earlier, he was Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Strategy for Solae, a joint venture of DuPont and Bunge Limited.


Doug Goehring
North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner

Mr. Goehring has been North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner since 2009. A third-generation farmer, along with his son, Dustin, he operates a 2,000-acre, no-till farm near Menoken in south central North Dakota, where they raise corn, soybeans, spring wheat, winter wheat, sunflowers and barley. Long active in farm organizations, he has held many key positions with a variety of groups. He is past President of the Food Export Association of the Midwest, a non-profit organization composed of 12 Midwestern state agricultural promotion agencies that use federal, state and industry resources to help U.S. suppliers increase product sales overseas. He attended Bismarck State College and is a licensed medical laboratory technician.


Dr. Abby Gold
Vice Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health, North Dakota State University

Dr. Abby Gold is Vice Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health at North Dakota State University. She has a doctorate in Health Communication from NDSU, a Master of Public Health Nutrition from the University of Minnesota, and Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  Dr. Gold’s research focus is in public health, nutrition, and communication and a she has a strong interest in the intersection between health and agriculture from a social science perspective. Formerly, Dr. Gold was an Extension Specialist in Nutrition and Wellness for the University of Minnesota Extension and North Dakota State University Extension Service. And she was also adjunct and graduate faculty in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Food Science and Nutrition.


Dr. Carl Ramage
Managing Director, Rautaki Solutions, Australia

Over the past 20 years, Dr. Ramage has supported the development of agbiotech products in Australia in various roles across the supply chain. A regulatory strategist well versed in navigating complex regulatory landscapes, he is skilled in process development, implementation and review. Dr. Ramage also directs the Center for Risk Communication Australia in Melbourne, Victoria, which is part of a global network of risk communications centers working to promote, research and apply risk communication in management. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Queensland.


Dr. Craig Richael
Director of Research and Development, Simplot Plant Sciences

Dr. Richael joined the Simplot Plant Sciences team in 2001 as a scientist. His work focuses on pioneering advances in genome editing and marker-assisted breeding to complement genetic engineering, including his invention of a genetic transformation system for potato and other crops. His past work included supervising greenhouse and field testing of transgenic potato plants for trait efficacy and line selection. He and colleagues selected and patented the Innate® 1.0 potato product, which is now deregulated and has been selling in designated markets since the spring of 2015. Dr. Richael obtained a B.S. degree in plant sciences from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from UC Davis.


Dr. Gary J. Muehlbauer
Distinguished McKnight University Professor and department head in the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Minnesota

Dr. Muehlbauer is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor and department head in the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Muehlbauer also holds the Endowed Chair of Molecular Genetics Applied to Crop Improvement in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and conducted post-doctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley. His work is focused on developing and utilizing genomics tools for gene discovery and crop improvement.


Dr. George Atkinson
Founder and Executive Director, Institute on Science for Global Policy

Dr. Atkinson is the Founder and Executive Director of the Institute on Science for Global Policy. His professional career includes academic teaching, research and administration, along with roles as a corporate founder and executive, as well as public service at the federal level. He is Professor Emeritus and former Head of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Arizona, the founder of a laser sensor company serving the semiconductor industry, and Science and Technology Advisor to U.S. Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. Dr. Atkinson developed the Jefferson Science Fellows program at the U.S. Department of State. He also launched the ISGP, a new type of international forum aimed at understanding science and technology to help shape global societies.


Dr. German Spangenberg
Executive Director Biosciences Research, AgriBio, Australia

Dr. Spangenberg is Executive Director of Biosciences Research for Agriculture Victoria in Melbourne, Australia; Professor of Plant Genetics and Genomics, and Head of
School of Applied Systems Biology with La Trobe University; and Director of AgriBio, Centre for AgriBioscience. He is also Director and Chief Scientific Officer of the agricultural biotechnology company, Phytogene Pty Ltd. Dr. Spangenberg has also held positions as Assistant Professor and Associate Professor at the ETH Zurich, where he obtained his D.Sc. in agrobiotechnology. He also has an M.S. in agricultural sciences from the University of Uruguay and a Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg and Max
Planck Institute of Cell Biology in Heidelberg, Germany. He was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and received the Australian Thinker of Year 2006 Award.


Dr. Irvin Widders
Professor and Director of Feed the Future Legume Innovation Lab at Michigan State University

Dr. Irvin E. Widders is Professor and Director of Feed the Future Legume Innovation Lab at Michigan State University, where the focus of his research and teaching program has been on vegetable crop physiology, the regulation of ion transport, and plant responses to abiotic stresses. Actively engaged in international programs at Michigan State University, Dr. Widders has traveled and worked in more than 70 countries, including Honduras, Peru, Zimbabwe and Vietnam. He served as Director for the Bean/Cowpea Collaborative Research Support Program (CRSP) from 2000 to 2007, the Dry Grain Pulses CRSP from 2007 to 2012, and the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Grain Legumes from 2013 to 2017. Dr. Widders holds a Ph.D. in plant physiology from the University of California, Davis.


Dr. Jack Dekkers
Animal Breeding and Genetics, Iowa State University

Dr. Dekkers grew up in the Netherlands, earning degrees from the Wageningen Agricultural University, and a Ph.D. in animal breeding from the University of Wisconsin. While on the faculty at the University of Guelph, he worked closely with Canadian industry on genetic improvement of dairy cattle. He moved to Iowa State University in 1997 where he leads the Animal Breeding and Genetics group. His current research focuses on the genetic basis of feed efficiency and health in pigs and on the integration of quantitative and molecular genetics, including whole genome selection, with applications to swine and poultry.


Dr. Jane Schuh
Associate Director of the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station and Professor of Microbiology, North Dakota State University

Dr. Jane Schuh is the Associate Director of the ND Agricultural Experiment Station and Professor of Microbiology at North Dakota State University. She served as the interim Dean for the College of Business at NDSU for the past two years and as the Assistant Dean for the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources for three years prior to that. Dr. Schuh is a native of ND, receiving a doctoral degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology from NDSU and continued her training as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan. Her research expertise is in pulmonary responses to the inhalation of environmental and chemical triggers of asthma.


Dr. John Lupien
Adjunct Professor, Food Science, University of Massachusetts

Dr. Lupien is former Director of the Food and Nutrition Division of the Food and Agriculture Organizations (FAO) of the United Nations in Rome. He is also an Adjunct Professor
of Food Science at the University of Massachusetts and a Guest Professor at Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China. Throughout his career with the United Nations and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, he was involved in extensive food and nutritionrelated policy formulation work. He carried out nutrition, food quality and food safety surveys and prepared and implemented nutrition-related projects in about 50 countries. As Director of the FAO Food and Nutrition Division, he oversaw the technical organization of the December 1992 Rome Joint FAO/WHO International Conference on Nutrition and coordinated FAO’s overall nutrition program.


Dr. José Fernando Garcia
Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at São Paulo State University (UNESP), Brazil

Dr. José Fernando Garcia is an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at São Paulo State University (UNESP), Brazil, where he leads a research team dedicated to cattle genomics. From 2003 to 2005 Dr. Garcia worked as a scientist at the FAO/IAEA Joint Division of the United Nations in Vienna, and in 2015 spent seven months as visiting scientist at ARS-USDA in Beltsville, MD. Dr. Garcia earned his DVM from University of São Paulo (USP) in 1989, followed by his M.Sc. from Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) and his Ph.D. at University of São Paulo (USP) dealing with the nascent molecular biology science. He has also earned an MBA from Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV) in strategic business management.


Dr. Julio Kalazich
National Director of the National Agricultural Research Institute (INIA) of Chile

Dr. Julio C. Kalazich is national director of the National Agricultural Research Institute (INIA) of Chile. From 2002 to 2010, he was regional director of one of the 10 INIA research centers and developed an extensive collaboration with international institutions in South America, USA, China and other countries. Between 2004 and 2016 he served in the advisory committee of the Collaborative Crop Research Program of the McKnight Foundation. Dr. Kalazich has a long-standing collaboration with NDSU and recently consolidated an agreement covering several crops and research areas. In 2016 he was named chairman of the board of PROCISUR, a south cone cooperative program among INIAs of member countries. Dr. Kalazich holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University in plant breeding and biometry.


Dr. Kalidas Shetty
Professor, Plant Metabolism and Food Security, North Dakota State University

Dr. Shetty is Founding Director of the Global Institute of Food Security and International Agriculture (GIFSIA) and Professor of Plant Metabolism and Food Security at North Dakota State University. He researches redox pathway-linked biochemical regulation of phenolic phytochemicals in food crops using novel metabolic and fermentation systems to add value to diverse food systems. He developed an innovative “crops for health” research platform to counter diet-linked chronic diseases targeting solutions to combating chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The rationale of this “crops for health” platform also has relevance for managing malnutrition challenges from maternal to child health needs globally. The USDA named him the inaugural Jefferson Science Fellow to advise on scientific issues related to international diplomacy and development.


Dr. Ken Grafton
Vice President, Dean and Director for Agricultural Affairs, North Dakota State University

Dr. Grafton is Vice President, Dean and Director for Agricultural Affairs at North Dakota State University. As Dean, Grafton provides leadership for educational programs, manages a budget of $4.2 million annually for educational purposes, and identifies opportunities for partnerships with other colleges, agencies and industry. As director, he manages all research activities of the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station, including activities at the Main Station in Fargo, seven Research Extension Centers across the state and the Agronomy Seed Farm. A faculty member since 1981, Dr. Grafton earned his B.S. in agriculture and his M.S. in plant breeding and genetics from The Ohio State University. He earned his doctorate in plant breeding and genetics at the University of Missouri.


Dr. Maurice Moloney
Executive Director and CEO, Global Institute for Food Security

Dr. Moloney is Executive Director and CEO of the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS), where he uses a plant research and entrepreneurial background to enhance GIFS’ ability to deliver on its mission to bring Saskatchewan-led research and innovation to the pressing issue of global food security. Dr. Moloney is a respected and internationally
recognized scientist whose work in plant research has resulted in innovations that have spanned across industry, academia and the public sector. He joins GIFS from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, where he led a team working on science-based solutions to address major global challenges, such as the need to increase sustainable agricultural productivity. He previously was Director and CEO of Rothamsted Research in Europe, and Chair of Biotechnology at the University of Calgary.


Dr. Murray McLaughlin
Advisor to Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC) for Government Relations and International Affairs

Dr. McLaughlin is an advisor to Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC) for government relations and international affairs. He was founding executive director of Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (2011-2016) and president of the Sustainable Chemistry Alliance (2009 -2016). Through BIC he managed the AgSci Cluster, a national Bioproducts cluster supported by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). Dr. McLaughlin has held various positions in the private, government and nonprofit sectors such as director of business development for the Canadian Light Source, president of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies, deputy minister of Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food, and president of Ag-West Biotech Inc. He was also the founder of the ABIC conferences which started in 1996. Dr. McLaughlin earned a B. Sc. from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, McGill University and an M. Sc and Ph.D. from Cornell University.


Dr. Neil Gudmestad
Distinguished Professor of Plant Pathology, North Dakota State University

Dr. Gudmestad is a University Distinguished Professor and Endowed Chair of Potato Pathology at North Dakota State University. A world-recognized authority on the biology and management of potato diseases, he focuses on pathogen biology and genetic diversity of a number of pathogens that cause foliar and soil-borne diseases of potato. Most recently, he has focused his research on invasive pathogens affecting the potato industry in the U.S., such as zebra chip and potato mop top virus. In addition to many other awards, Dr. Gudmestad received the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Partnership Award recognizing mission integration of research, education and extension. He has also received the World Potato Congress Lifetime Achievement Award. The U.S. potato industry established a $6.3 million endowment in his name in 2014.


Dr. Pietro Celi
Senior Scientist, DSM Nutritional Products

Dr. Celi is a Senior Scientist at DSM Nutritional Products. After graduating in veterinary medicine at the University of Bari in Italy, he worked in a small animal practice before completing a Ph.D. in animal science at University of Western Australia. He took a lectureship position at the University of Basilicata in Potenza, Italy, and later joined the University of Sydney as Senior Lecturer in Ruminant Health and Production, also completing a graduate certificate in higher education. Dr. Celi’s expertise is the study of the interactions between nutrition, metabolism and reproduction in domestic animals with particular interest in the study of oxidative stress biomarkers. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne.


Dr. Shahryar Kianian
Research Leader, Cereal Disease Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service

Dr. Kianian has been engaged in the improvement of wheat for the past 20 years. He has been the leader in the use of radiation hybrid (RH) mapping to generate high-resolution physical maps, and his research also identified and mapped quantitative trait loci that imparted resistance to Fusarium head blight in wheat. Dr. Kianian is recognized nationally and internationally as an authority in research on wheat genetics, alloplasm and genomics. Dr. Kianian received his B.S. in biological sciences from UC Irvine and his Ph.D. in genetics from UC Davis.


Dr. Stan Blade
Dean of Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences (ALES) at the University of Alberta

Dr. Stan Blade is Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences (ALES) at the University of Alberta. He is a board member of Livestock Gentec (livestock genomics), Phytola (oilseed genomics), the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute, Genome Alberta, Biological Greenhouse Gas Management Program, and the Alberta Rural Development Network. Dr. Blade serves as Vice Chair on the Board of Trustees of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation, a Nairobi-based agency supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In addition, Dr. Blade previously served as the Deputy Director General (Research) for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), a world-class research organization that works across sub-Saharan Africa.


Dr. Tad Sonstegard
Chief Scientific Officer, Recombinetics

Dr. Sonstegard is an internationally recognized leader in livestock genetics with more than 25 years of experience in the field. Dr. Sonstegard has made seminal contributions to the sequencing of livestock genomes, development of industry-standard genetic diagnostic platforms (BovineSNP50 and other DNA
chips), and elucidation of the genetic basis for traits impacting food animal health, production and well-being. Prior to joining the Recombinetics team, Dr. Sonstegard developed and led federally funded projects in applied genomics for ruminant genetic improvement at the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Animal Genomics & Improvement Laboratory. He holds a B.S. in agricultural biochemistry from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. in molecular, cellular, developmental biology and genetics from the University of Minnesota.


Dr. Van Ripley
Global Breeding Leader of Healthy Oils, Dow AgroSciences

Dr. Ripley is Research Fellow and Global Breeding Leader of Healthy Oils for Dow AgroSciences (DAS) in Saskatoon, Canada. A leader in developing novel products for producers and consumers, he was the lead canola breeder developing the first registered herbicide tolerant canola variety “Innovator” in Canada in 1995. At DAS, he has developed the first Nexera Omega-9 Clearfield hybrids and Nexera Omega-9 RR hybrids, and led development of ProPound, an advanced canola meal hybrid introduced to the market in 2016. He also leads development of the world’s first naturally zero saturated fat oil in sunflowers. Since joining DAS, he’s had 13 patents granted related to his novel germplasm and method developments. He obtained his Ph.D. in plant breeding (with Distinction) from the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph in 1995.


Dr. William Wilson
Professor at North Dakota State University in agribusiness and applied exonomics

Dr. William W. Wilson is a distinguished professor at North Dakota State University in agribusiness and applied economics. He has taught risk classes at Purdue University and is a visiting scholar at Melbourne University where he advises Ph.D. students in risk and ag biotechnology. He regularly consults with major agribusiness firms and has worked extensively in logistics, procurement strategy, railroads, barges, ocean shipping, elevators (shuttle development), processed products (malting and beer, durum and pasta, wheat and bread) and ag biotechnology. He was recently recognized as one of the top 1% of agricultural economists by RePEc (Research Papers in Economics). Dr. Wilson received his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of Manitoba.


Federico Tripodi
CEO, Calyxt

Mr. Tripodi is CEO of Calyxt, an agrobiotech company focused on developing crops with healthier characteristics. He has an MBA from Washington University’s Olin Business School, plus an agronomic engineering degree from Buenos Aires University, and has gathered extensive experience in agricultural R&D and product development during his nearly two-decade career in the ag biotech and seeds industry. He previously worked as General Manager for Monsanto Company’s Sugarcane Division in Brazil, as well as multiple other roles for the company in St. Louis, Missouri. During his tenure at Monsanto, Mr. Tripodi led or participated with early discovery and late commercialization phase product launches across the Americas, which included biotech consumer traits (improved composition soybean oils) and farmer traits (high yield, drought tolerance, insect protection and herbicide tolerance).


Glen Weaver
Research Fellow, Ardent Mills

Mr. Weaver has spent the past 42 years in the grain processing industry with ConAgra Mills and Ardent Mills. His roles have been in the technical areas, including business development, research, quality and technical services. He has an educational background in food science, and has been engaged in food safety and, most recently, genetics. The focus of this work has been on creating effective public-private
relationships to develop value for the customer and consumer.


J.J. Jones
Senior Project Manager, Center for Food Integrity

As a Project Manager for The Center for Food Integrity, Mr. Jones focuses on earning consumer trust in today’s food system. Nearly 10 years ago, he received degrees from Kansas State University in animal science and industry, as well as international agriculture. Mr. Jones regularly speaks to global audiences on how to apply key CFI learning and is respected for his global view of food and agriculture. Before joining CFI, he served as the Marketing and Trade Director for the Kansas Department of Agriculture, leading over 30 trade missions on behalf of Kansas farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses. He also worked with food system leaders while on staff at the Kansas Beef Council, Seaboard Foods, Cargill, and Kansas Grain and Feed Association.


John Nowatzki
Agricultural Machines Specialist, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, North Dakota State University

Mr. Nowatzki is an Agricultural Machines Specialist at North Dakota State University. He develops and teaches educational programs related to agriculture machinery selection and operation, geospatial technology for precision resource management, conservation tillage technologies, agricultural chemical application technology, energy conservation and alternative energy use. He has B.S. and M.S. degrees in agricultural education from NDSU. His areas of expertise include agricultural machine systems, precision agriculture, conservation technology, farm equipment energy conservation, energy efficiency farm chemical application technology, and wireless technology on farms.


Dr. Kimberly Vonnahme
Lead Instructor for Physiology of Reproduction lecture and lab, and Research in Reproduction, North Dakota State University

Kimberly Vonnahme grew up on a livestock and grain farm in West-Central Iowa. Kim earned her BS from Iowa State University majoring in Animal Science, her Master of Science degree at Oklahoma State University, and her PhD from the University of Wyoming. In 2003, Kim moved to North Dakota State University for a post-doctorate position. In 2004, Kim accepted an assistant professor position in the Department of Animal Sciences to teach and conduct research. She was promoted to Associate in 2010 and in 2016 was promoted to Full Professor.

Kim is lead instructor for Physiology of Reproduction lecture and lab, as well as Research in Reproduction, a course where undergraduate students perform independent research projects.


Lionel Henderson
Director of Business Development and Commercial for CSIRO Agriculture & Food

Lionel Henderson is the Director of Business Development and Commercial for CSIRO Agriculture & Food of Canberra, Australia, where he leads a team focused on CSIRO’s farm-agricultural and post-farm-gate food research. Henderson has developed the framework for a number of CSIRO Agriculture & Food’s key research alliances and has managed the licensing of many of CSIRO’s agricultural technologies domestically and internationally. He is a member of the Cotton Breeding Australia Management Committee, chairs the Commercial Committee of the CSIRO-managed Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded heterosis project, and was Chair of the Management Committee of the Australian National Soybean Breeding Program. Henderson is also a Director and Company Secretary for Gene Shears Pty Ltd, a CSIRO joint venture with Groupe Limagrain, France.


Lisa Zannoni
Global Head of Regulatory and Stewardship, Syngenta

Ms. Zannoni, an attorney and a pharmacist, joined Syngenta in 2005 and is Global Head of Regulatory and Stewardship, Seeds. She is on the Board of Directors of Syngenta Biotechnology, Inc. and has held leadership positions on major industry initiatives, including the Global Alliance for Ag Biotech Trade, the Global Industry Coalition, and the OECD Business and Industry Advisory Committee on Biotechnology. She served on the USDA Federal Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture. She is on the WVU School of Pharmacy Visiting Committee and the National Advisory Board to Women in Agribusiness. She was recently awarded the TBJ Women in Business Award for Corporate Executives.


Mike Jaspers
South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture

Mr. Jaspers has a strong background in agriculture and in government. He owns and operates a corn, soybean, alfalfa and cattle production operation in South Dakota, and also spent seven years in agricultural retail management, working with grain, agronomy, specialty crops and precision ag technologies. Mr. Jaspers served as a state legislator from 1997 to 2004. He was appointed State Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Office in South Dakota from 2007 to 2008. He holds a B.S. in mechanized agriculture from South Dakota State University, served as President of the S.D. State FFA Organization, and is a graduate of the South Dakota Agricultural and Rural Leadership (SDARL) Class IV.


Mr. Craig Rickard
Executive Director for Plant Biotechnology for CropLife International based in Washington, D.C.

Craig Rickard is the executive director for plant biotechnology for CropLife International based in Washington, D.C. His mission is to enable the global availability and use of plant biotech innovations and to increase appreciation of the benefits the technology can bring across the agricultural value chain and to consumers and the environment. In this role he directs CropLife International’s plant biotech team and global network on policy development, market acceptance, regulatory harmonization, international trade, product stewardship and protection of intellectual property. Rickard has previously served with Agriculture Canada, as a commercial agriculture lender for TD Bank, and in government relations for Agrium. He has a B.Comm. in agriculture from the University of Guelph.


Sara Wyant
President and Founder of Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Ms. Wyant is President and Founder of Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc., the largest communications firm focused on agricultural and rural policy issues. The award-winning, veteran farm policy reporter is wellrecognized on Capitol Hill and with farm and commodity associations across the country. Named to the annual Folio “Top Women in Media” recognition in 2015, Ms. Wyant received a producer communications award from the United Soybean Board, and an Oscar in Agriculture award for excellence in agricultural reporting from the American Agricultural Editors’ Association. She gained firsthand knowledge of crop and livestock production while growing up on a farm in Iowa, and is still involved with her family’s farming operation. She and her husband also own the North Dakota farm where his family established a homestead.