DAVE ALLEN, PRESIDENT, AGRI-SEARCH

 

Monday December 3 • Breakout B



BEN ALLEN, HEAD OF FOOD & FIBER, INDIGO AG, INC.

 

Ben comes to Indigo with over 20 years of experience in the worlds of both agriculture and technology. Ben comes to Indigo from Social Solutions Global, a Vista Private Equity company in Austin Texas. There, he was the Head of Sales, responsible for teams handling inside sales, mid-market sales, enterprise sales, technical sales support, account management, and sales training. Prior to this, Ben spent several years at AGRI-TREND, one of the largest agronomy services providers in North America, based out of Calgary, Canada. As Chief Revenue Officer, he was responsible for sales, marketing, and go-to-market strategy, with a particular focus on precision ag software products. In 2015, AGRI-TREND was purchased by Trimble, where Ben focused on leading the global launch of the consolidated software platform that today is known as Trimble Ag Software. Ben has also worked in both sales and business development at Phunware, Inc., Advanced Micro Devices, and the Acton Foundation, three Austin-based companies. In 2001, Ben founded his own company, New American Farm, a start-up that worked to develop a disruptive business model for the agriculture industry, focused on benefiting the family farm. Ben received his BLS degree from Iowa State University and his MBA from the Acton School of Business.

 

Tuesday December 4 • General Session



JANETTE BARNARD, DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING, DECISIONNEXT

 

Janette Barnard is passionate about the intersection of innovative technology & agricultural supply chains. After graduating from the University of Arizona with a degree in Agriculture Economics and earning an MBA from Texas A&M University, Janette worked for Cargill, Elanco Animal Health, McDonald’s Global Supply Chain team, launched her own startup and is now leading sales for DecisionNext, a predictive analytics software platform helping agribusinesses make confident purchasing, pricing and sales decisions in commodity markets.

Monday December 3 • Breakout C



DAVE BAUDLER, MANAGING DIRECTOR - GRAIN, CARGILL AGRICULTURAL SUPPLY CHAIN NORTH AMERICA, FIRST VICE CHAIRMAN, NGFA

 

Baudler is responsible for Cargill’s domestic and export grain across the United States, Canada and Mexico. He previously served from 2011-16 as business unit leader and president of Cargill AgHorizons U.S., which was responsible for the company’s farmer-facing grain and crop-input business. He served in numerous positions in the U.S. grain business with Cargill earlier in his career, including the company’s World Trading Unit in Geneva, Switzerland; the Dressings, Sauces and Oils Refining Group within the Food Ingredients Platform; and general manager of the Softseeds and Biodiesel Segment of the company’s Grain and Oilseeds North America Division. He grew up on a southwest Iowa farm, and received his undergraduate degree in agricultural business from Iowa State University.

Monday December 3 • General Session



JOANN BROUILLETTE, MANAGING PARTNER AND PRESIDENT, DEMETER LP, SECOND VICE CHAIRMAN, NGFA

 

Brouillette is managing partner and president of Demeter LP, a privately owned and operated agricultural business for over seven decades in Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. Since joining the company in 1986, Brouillette held various merchandising and management positions before assuming her current role in 1996. Brouillette was appointed to the Board of Trustees for Purdue University in July 2006 and serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. She was awarded the AgriVision Award from the State of Indiana in 2010 and appointed to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiation by President George W. Bush in 2003 and again in 2005. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Hanover College.

Monday December 3 • General Session



JOHN HECK, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, SCOULAR, CHAIRMAN, NGFA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

 

Mr. John Heck serves as a Senior Vice President at The Scoular Company. Mr. Heck has been at Scoular since 1981 when he joined Scoular, as a grain merchandiser. Mr. Heck served as a Senior Vice President of Asset Resource & Risk Management Omaha, Nebraska of The Scoular Company. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in economics from The University of Iowa in 1977.

Monday December 3 • General Session



DAVE HOOGMOED, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, LAND O' LAKES, PRESIDENT, PURINA ANIMAL NUTRITION

 

Dave has more than 39 years of experience in the feed industry representing the Purina brand and the components of Land O’Lakes’ animal nutrition business. He began his career at Ralston Purina in 1979 and held several sales, general management and officer positions as the business evolved to Purina Mills, Inc. then Purina Animal Nutrition and now the consolidated Purina Animal Nutrition division of Land O’Lakes. Dave has led the teams focused on feeding livestock such as dairy cows, beef cattle and pigs, as well as lifestyle animals such as horses, the companion animal species and exotic animal/zoo business. This includes Purina Research and technical implementation. He has had a variety of responsibilities with international components of both Purina and Land O’ Lakes. Today he is active in business development within Kenya. Each day, he works to ensure the rich history of Purina animal nutrition research and innovation continues meet today’s needs and deliver new solutions that help animals achieve their greatest levels of performance.

Monday December 3 • General Session



WILL KNECHT, PRESIDENT, WENDELL AUGUST

 

Will Knecht is the President of Wendell August, America's oldest and largest forge, producing hand-wrought ornamental giftware in aluminum and other metals since 1923. As president of a multimillion-dollar company, Will Knecht has extensive, hands-on experience in the crucial aspects of a successful business including manufacturing, distribution, retail, sales, marketing, information technology and finance. On March 2010, two days after receiving its largest order ever, a fire destroyed millions of dollars in equipment and materials, their offices and their flagship store. Instead of ceding to the devastation, Wendell August Forge upped its workforce, struck distribution deals with 600 stores nationwide and broke ground on a new facility. While Will Knecht credits divine intervention and a supportive staff and community for his company's revival, he said rising from the ashes challenged him to take Wendell August Forge higher than it had ever been before. Will earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business from Wake Forest University and served as student body president there from 1987-88. Married to Jennifer, Will and his wife have three children: Jared, Cameron and Claire. Will's outside interests include the Bible, teaching Sunday school, exercising, reading and watching movies. He also has an intense love for products made in the USA (like those from Wendell August!) and champions keeping jobs in America as well as carrying out the tradition of handcrafted excellence.

Tuesday December 4 • General Session



DEVIN LAMMERS, HEAD OF COMMODITY CROP MARKETING, FARMERS BUSINESS NETWORK

 

Devin Lammers is the Head of Crop Marketing for FBN and has over a decade of experience building startup companies and developing growth strategies for mid and large cap companies. Prior to joining FBN, he served as a Principal for The Parthenon Group, which was later acquired as the strategy consulting arm for Ernst & Young. Devin started his career helping to build two separate startup companies in Silicon Valley. He earned his bachelor's degree in earth and planetary science from Dartmouth College and MBA from MIT's Sloan School of Business. Devin hails from rural South Dakota where his family has farmed and ranched for the last four generations.

Tuesday December 4 • General Session



TUCKER MILHOLLAND, AGRICULTURE FUTURE OF AMERICA CAMPUS AMBASSADOR, WEST TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY

 

Monday December 3 • Breakout B



MITZI PERDUE, AUTHOR, SPEAKER & BUSINESSWOMAN

 

Speaker and author Mitzi Perdue holds degrees from Harvard University and George Washington University, is a past president of the 35,000 member American Agri-Women and was one of the U.S. Delegates to the United Nations Conference on Women in Nairobi. Most recently, she’s authored, How to Make Your Family Business Last: Techniques, Advice, Checklists and Resources for Keeping the Family Business in the Family. In addition, she’s the author of a biography of her late husband: Tough Man, Tender Chicken: Business and Life Lessons from Frank Perdue. The book made #5 out of 20,000 on Amazon’s Business Biographies. She is also the author of more than 1800 newspaper and magazine articles on family business, food, agriculture, the environment, philanthropy, biotechnology, genetic engineering, and women’s health. For two years she was a Commissioner on the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science. Mitzi Perdue is the daughter of one family business titan (her father founded the Sheraton Hotel Chain) and the widow of another, (her late husband was the poultry magnate, Frank Perdue), and she is also a businesswoman in her own right. She started the family wine grape business, now one of the larger suppliers of wine grapes in California. Mitzi likes nothing better than to share insider tips for successful family businesses; her family of origin (the one that started the Sheraton Hotels) and her Perdue family have a combined tradition of 222 years of staying together in business as a family.

Monday December 3 • General Session



TAYLOR SAUDER, COMMERCIAL MERCHANDISING CONSULTANT, ADVANCE TRADING INC.

 

Taylor Sauder is a Commercial Merchandising Consultant with ATI. He was born in Central Illinois, but currently resides in Fort Collins, CO. Taylor graduated from Bradley University with a master’s degree in quantitative finance and worked for Caterpillar as a pricing analyst in their global mining division. He joined ATI in 2014 where he focuses on helping commercial grain elevators and end-users. .

Monday December 3 • Breakout A



WILL SECOR, ECONOMIST, COBANK KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE

 

Will Secor is an economist in CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange research division, focusing on grain, oilseed, farm supply, and biofuel industries. Will identifies and analyzes the impacts of strategic challenges, risks and opportunities in these industries, providing strategic insights for internal and external stakeholders. Prior to joining CoBank in 2017, Will was a faculty member in Purdue University’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business delivering professional development programs to agribusiness industry professionals. Will holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from Virginia Tech in Agricultural & Applied Economics, and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Applied Economics.

Monday December 3 • General Session



CURT STRUBHAR, COMMERCIAL MERCHANDISING CONSULTANT AND VICE CHAIRMAN, ADVANCE TRADING, INC.

 

Curt Strubhar is a Commercial Merchandising Consultant and Vice Chairman of ATI. Curt was raised on a Central Illinois grain farm that remains family owned and operated. After graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in Agricultural Economics, Curt was an ag chemical sales rep for a global chemical company, joining ATI in 1995. Curt serves as a commercial consultant with clients including grain warehouses and grain end users. His client base ranges geographically from Illinois through the hard red winter wheat belt. Curt’s tenure with ATI has included travel to Ukraine, Brazil, and South Africa to help identify opportunities in those regions. Curt lives with his wife and two children in Bloomington, Illinois.

Monday December 3 • Breakout A



TOM SWEARINGEN, DIRECTOR OF TALENT MANAGEMENT, GROWMARK, INC.

 

Tom Swearingen is the Director of Talent Management at GROWMARK, Inc. He started his professional life as an airline pilot in the US Airways system in 2000. Seeking a balance between his business and aviation interests, he began his GROWMARK career in 2004 as a Corporate Pilot. Tom assumed his first GROWMARK leadership role in June, 2009, as the Director of Flight Operations. After serving in various leadership positions within GROWMARK Human Resources, Tom was named the Director of Talent Management in May of 2017. Areas of responsibility include Talent Acquisition, Training and Development, Flight Operations, and Corporate Travel. In addition to these duties, Tom is responsible for managing the corporate Business Continuity Plan, conducting corporate employee engagement surveys, and managing a financial wellness program for GROWMARK employees.

Monday December 3 • Breakout B



BRENNAN TURNER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, FARMLEAD

 

Brennan Turner is the CEO of FarmLead.com, North America’s Grain Marketplace. He holds a degree in economics from Yale University and spent time on Wall Street before starting FarmLead. In 2017, Brennan was named to Fast Company’s List of Most Creative People in Business and, in 2018, a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute. He’s originally from Foam Lake, SK, where his family started farming over 100 years ago and still turn dirt on 50,000 acres to this day! His views on ag markets are regularly featured in the likes of Bloomberg, CNBC, and the Financial Post.

Tuesday December 4 • General Session



ERIC WILKEY, PRESIDENT, ARIZONA GRAIN INC., CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, NGFA

 

Wilkey is the 67th industry leader to serve at the helm of the NGFA. He joined Arizona Grain in 1991 after beginning his career six years earlier with the Continental Grain Co. From 1996-2006, he served as the company’s vice president and director of merchandising and risk management prior to becoming the firm’s top officer in 2006. In addition, he has been a member of the Arizona Grain Research and Promotion Council since 2004, and is a past chair of that organization. An Illinois native, he received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois.

Monday December 3 • General Session



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