Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture

Sonny Perdue came by his knowledge of agriculture the old fashioned way: he was born into a farming family in Bonaire, Georgia. 

Perdue served his country in the U.S. Air Force, rising to the rank of Captain.  After earning a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Georgia, he put that training to use in private practice in North Carolina.  As a member of the Georgia State Senate for eleven years, he eventually ascended to the position of President Pro Tempore as elected by his senate colleagues.  As a two-term governor of Georgia, he was credited with transforming a budget deficit into a surplus, dramatically increasing the student performance in public schools, and fostering an economic environment that allowed employers to flourish and manufacturers and agricultural producers to achieve record levels of exports.  He followed these accomplishments with a successful career in agribusiness, where he focused on commodities and transportation in enterprises that have spanned the southeastern United States. Uniquely qualified as a former farmer, agribusinessman, veterinarian, state legislator, and governor of Georgia, he became the 31st United States Secretary of Agriculture on April 25, 2017.

Beth Ford, CEO, Land O'Lakes

Prior to assuming the CEO, Ford was Chief Operating Officer of Land O’Lakes Businesses, in which role she oversaw Land O’Lakes’ WinField United, Purina Animal Nutrition and Dairy Foods business units. Prior to that, Ford was head of Land O’Lakes’ Dairy Foods and Purina Animal Nutrition businesses, where she led record performance and growth, leveraging innovation through R&D to strengthen both brands.  She also was instrumental in the acquisition of Vermont Creamery in early 2017.

Prior to joining Land O’Lakes in 2011, Ford had excelled in executive operations management and supply chain roles at International Flavors and Fragrances, Mobil Corporation, PepsiCo and Pepsi Bottling Company and Scholastic. Ford has more than 20 years’ experience specifically in the areas of technology and R&D, as well, across these four companies.

Born in Sioux City, Iowa, Beth earned an MBA at Columbia University Business School and a BBA at Iowa State University. She remains involved in both universities, sitting on the Deming Center Board of Advisors for Columbia Business School and the Dean's Advisory Committee for the College of Business at Iowa State. Ford and her spouse, Jill Schurtz, have three teenage children and live in Minneapolis.
James M. Foote, President and Chief Executive Officer, CSX

James Foote was named Chief Executive Officer of CSX in December 2017. Prior to this role, Foote served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer from October to December 2017. Before joining CSX, Foote was President and Chief Executive Officer of Bright Rail Energy, an innovative technology company that develops and sells products that allow railroads to switch locomotives to natural gas power.

Foote began his railroad career at the age of 18 in the Mechanical Department on the Soo Line Railroad in Wisconsin, repairing locomotives and performing a variety of operations jobs. Moving rapidly from the front lines into management positions, he joined the Chicago and North Western Railroad, where he held senior positions in finance, law, labor relations and corporate communications, eventually becoming Vice President of Corporate Development, Investor Relations and Tax. In 1995, Foote joined the Canadian National Railway (CN) and again ascended through roles of increasing responsibility, being named Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing in 1999. He was in that position in 2003 when the CN named Mr. Harrison as CEO and began its implementation of Scheduled Railroading. Foote worked closely with Mr. Harrison throughout the CN’s transformation that turned a $2 billion company into one worth more than $24 billion.

Foote holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Superior and a Juris Doctor degree from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago.











































Eric Wilkey, President, Arizona Grain Inc., Chairman of the Board, NGFA

Wilkey 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.














Dr. Derek Scissors, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute, Chief Economist, China Beige Book

Derek M. Scissors is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he focuses on the Chinese and Indian economies and on US economic relations with Asia. He is concurrently chief economist of the China Beige Book.

Dr. Scissors is the author of the China Global Investment Tracker. In late 2008, he authored a series of papers that chronicled the end of pro-market Chinese reform and predicted economic stagnation in China as a result. He has also written multiple papers on the best course for Indian economic development.

Before joining AEI, Dr. Scissors was a senior research fellow in the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation and an adjunct professor of economics at George Washington University. He has worked for London-based Intelligence Research Ltd., taught economics at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, and served as an action officer in international economics and energy for the US Department of Defense.

Dr. Scissors has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree from the University of Chicago, and a doctorate from Stanford University.





Ken Eriksen, Senior Vice President, Informa Economics

Mr. Eriksen is the head of the Informa Economics IEG Client Advisory and Development group, and Energy and Transportation Services. In this capacity, he directs the group's efforts in client advisory and development, risk management, consulting and events. Since joining Informa Economics IEG in 2001, Mr. Eriksen led the Informa Economics IEG Transportation, Industrials and Energy Services team and co-led the Informa Economics IEG project consulting practice. Mr. Eriksen regularly speaks on commodity, transportation and infrastructure issues and developments and is an expert witness in the area of transportation, logistics and supply-chain matters.

Prior to joining the company, Mr. Eriksen worked for USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service as an agricultural statistician. In that capacity, he conducted national surveys and set national estimates in agriculture. Also while at USDA, he worked for the Agricultural Marketing Service on its transportation and marketing program, conducting research and analysis on domestic and international transportation issues. He also worked as an international longshoreman for the Pacific Maritime Association in Tacoma, Washington. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees in agribusiness and agricultural economics from Washington State University. While working on his master's degree there, Mr. Eriksen was a transportation economist for the Department of Agricultural Economics, performing economic transportation data analysis and modeling.

Gregg Doud, Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Office of the United States Trade Representative

Gregg Doud serves as the Chief Agricultural Negotiator, with the Rank of Ambassador, in the Office of the United States Trade Representative. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 1, 2018.

Prior to Ambassador Doud’s nomination, he was the President of the Commodity Markets Council, where he had served since 2013. Previously, Ambassador Doud was a Senior Professional Staff member of the Senate Agriculture Committee for Senator Pat Roberts and Senator Thad Cochran. He was part of the team that crafted the 2012 Senate Farm Bill, and his portfolio of issues included international trade, food aid, livestock and oversight of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). 

Before joining the Senate Agriculture Committee staff, Ambassador Doud spent eight years as the Chief Economist for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association in Washington, DC. During the past 25 years in Washington DC, he also worked for the U.S. Wheat Associates and the agricultural commodity consulting firm World Perspectives.

Ambassador Doud was raised on a dry-land wheat, grain sorghum, soybean, swine and cow-calf operation near Mankato in North-Central Kansas. He also owns part of the more than 100-year-old family farming operation that his parents continue to operate, and he is a partner in a commercial cow-calf operation.

Ambassador Doud was a 4-H member and a Kansas State FFA officer. He received a B.S. in agriculture (animal science) in 1989 and a M.S. in Agricultural Economics in 1991 from Kansas State University, and he was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. In 2012, he was named the Outstanding Young Alumnus of the Kansas State University Agriculture Alumni Association, and in 2017, he received the Outstanding Alumnus award from the Department of Agricultural Economics.

Ambassador Doud and his family live on their horse farm in Lothian, Maryland.

Patrick Fuchs, Vice Chairman, Surface Transportation Board

Patrick Fuchs was sworn in on January 17, 2019, as a Member of the Board for a term of office expiring on January 17, 2024, following his confirmation by the United States Senate on January 2, 2019.

Prior to his appointment, Mr. Fuchs was senior professional staff member working on surface transportation and maritime issues for the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation under the leadership of Chairman John Thune of South Dakota.

Mr. Fuchs has played an integral role in the development and enactment of major railroad legislation, including the first reauthorization of the Surface Transportation Board since its creation in 1996 and the first passenger rail reauthorization in over seven years. He also worked on legislation to improve rail project delivery, rail financing, and hazardous materials safety, all of which were enacted as part of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), the five-year, $305 billion surface transportation authorization.

Mr. Fuchs helped develop and enact the first reauthorization of the National Transportation Safety Board in over a decade. He also worked on legislation to increase safety by addressing opioid abuse in transportation, reforms enacted as part of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. His work also includes the most recent authorization of the Federal Maritime Commission as well as three authorizations of the Maritime Administration, enacted as part of the National Defense Authorization Acts for Fiscal Years 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Prior to serving Chairman Thune, he was a policy analyst and Presidential Management Fellow at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where he managed railroad and maritime regulatory reviews. During his time at OMB, Mr. Fuchs worked on regulations pertaining to rail safety technology, rail tank car safety, and railroad operating practices, among other issues. He has also worked for the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Government Accountability Office, and the National Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education.

Mr. Fuchs graduated with distinction in economics and political science and earned an M.P.A. from the University of Wisconsin, where he received the Director's Achievement Award for his outstanding academic record. Mr. Fuchs and his wife, Katherine, were born and raised in Wisconsin.
U.S. Senator Jerry Moran

Jerry Moran has been serving Kansans in the United States Senate since 2011 and previously served seven terms in the United States House of Representatives. Throughout his tenure in Congress, Senator Moran has been a leading advocate for protecting and preserving the Kansas and rural way of life

Senator Moran understands that overregulation is among the greatest threats to the economy of rural American, and his role on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies positions him well to advocate for family farmers and ranchers. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Moran is a champion of agricultural research, international food assistance, rural broadband, farmer mental health and veterans in agriculture.

Senator Moran traveled over 45,000  miles across Kansas in 2018, where had had countless discussions with producers, ag leaders and manufacturers about the effects of ongoing trade disputes on agriculture in Kansas. Based off of these discussions, Senator Moran has urged his colleagues and administration officials in Washington D.C. to moved toward more trade - not less - and more free, open markets for our farmers and ranchers. Senator Moran's Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies maintains funding jurisdiction and oversight of the United States Trade Representative and its ongoing trade strategy and resource needs.  

Prior to his election to public office, Jerry Moran attended Fort Hays State University and later the University of Kansas, where he completed a degree in economics. After an early career as a banker, he received his J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law. Jerry and his wife, Robba, live in Manhattan, Kansas and have two daughters, Kelsey and Alex.