Founder, Speaker, Consultant, Story Arc Consulting, LLC
Steve Lerch is an award-winning, international public speaker and digital consultant. He spent 9 years working for Google before shifting his focus to independent consulting opportunities and bringing his unique digital perspective to various conferences and events. Steve has partnered with various USDA Check-Off programs, including the National Pork Board, American Egg Board, and the Milk Processor Education Program, to better understand changing consumer dynamics in food and health.
Ray has been involved in the grain industry since 1991, and an active professional commodity trader in the agriculture futures and options markets since 2000.
Most recently he was Managing Partner at S.W.A.T. LLC, a Commodity Trading Advisor managing money for institutional investors in the agricultural commodity markets.
Prior to S.W.A.T., Ray was Senior Director of Trading and Economic Research at The Gavilon Group and was with the Archer Daniels Midland Company in North America and Europe.
Head of Global Marketing Seeds, Syngenta
Alexander joined Syngenta in 2003. He is currently responsible for global marketing of the seeds business, including the resource allocation of the company’s seeds research & development investment portfolio. Alexander is a member of the Seeds Business Leadership Team which is responsible for the leadership and operative management of the global seeds business. Alexander holds a diploma in Mechanical Engineering and a doctorate in Chemical Engineering from the University of Hannover, Germany.
Senior Acquisitions Manager, Pacific West
Mr. Reed is responsible for sourcing farmland, vineyards, nuts and orchard properties throughout the California and the Pacific West to meet the investment objectives of Hancock Agricultural Investment Group clients. Brent has 28+ years of experience in agricultural investments. Prior to joining HAIG, Brent held positions with prominent agribusiness lenders such as Vice President, Sr. Relationship Manager for Rabo AgriFinance and Investment Manager for MetLife Agricultural Investments.
Senior Director of Sustainability, Land O'Lakes Inc.
Jason joined Land O’Lakes, Inc. as senior director of sustainability where he leads the team providing natural resource sustainability and agricultural production solutions.
Jason previously served as Chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and has held various agriculture and natural resource conservation leadership positions, including the US House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, US House Budget Committee and in the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Vice President of Domestic Marketing, National Pork Board
Jarrod Sutton is Vice President of Domestic Marketing for the National Pork Board. In this capacity, he leads the industry’s efforts to strengthen pork in the marketplace through strategic planning and innovative programs that both build demand while meeting the needs of pork producers, packers, and channel partners. Sutton leads the organization’s efforts to define pork category brand marketing strategies, sustainability metrics, industry issues management, and ongoing supply chain engagement.
President, Advanced Economic Solutions
Bill Lapp is founder and president of Advanced Economic Solutions. He has over 30 years of experience analyzing and forecasting economic conditions and commodity markets, and has a wealth of experience providing comprehensive economic analysis of the major commodity markets. Prior to forming Advanced Economic Solutions, Bill was Chief Economist for ConAgra Foods. Bill graduated from Southern Illinois University with a B.A. in Mathematics, and from Purdue University with a M.S. in Ag Economics.
President & CEO, Farmers National Company
Jim Farrell began his career at FNC in 1986 as a farm manager in the Rochester, Minnesota, territory. He was later promoted to Vice President of Marketing for FNC. In 2005, Jim was promoted to President and CEO. He also serves as Chairman of the FNC Board of Directors. He also sits on the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and is past Chairman of the Omaha Branch Bank. Jim is an Accredited Farm Manager (AFM) through the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.
President Global Agricultural Irrigation, Lindsay Corporation
Randy Wood is the President, Global Agricultural Irrigation at Lindsay Corporation. He currently leads all commercial business activities for the global irrigation markets including engineering, product management, sales & marketing, business development and customer service. His focus is on defining and implementing strategies that increase the efficiency, productivity and profitability of irrigators around the world.
Executive Director Good Food Institute
Bruce Friedrich is executive director of The Good Food Institute. Bruce has penned opinion pieces for USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. Bruce has presented repeatedly at most of the nation's top universities, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and MIT. Bruce graduated magna cum laude from the Georgetown Law and Phi Beta Kappa from Grinnell College. He also holds degrees from Johns Hopkins University and the London School of Economics.
Dr. Justin Ransom
Sr Director of Sustainability Tyson Foods
A transformative and forward-thinking leader specializing in supply chain strategy, Dr. Justin Ransom leads Sustainable Food Strategy at Tyson Foods, where he aligns enterprise strategy with subject matter experts in Environmental Management, Animal Wellbeing, Corporate Social Responsibility plus Food Safety and Packaging. Justin’s technical background in Animal Science and Food Safety proved valuable in leading Quality, Safety and Animal Welfare for the proteins at McDonald’s USA.
CEO AgriSecure & Co-Owner Rhea Brothers GP
J.P. Rhea is a fifth-generation farmer, seasoned executive and entrepreneur with experience leading teams in the value-added agriculture space. He currently operates an 11,000 acre organic farm with his brother David. They operate a value-added processing business that makes 60,000+ tons/year of ingredients to the feed, pet food and human food sectors. J.P. also co-founded AgriSecure, a startup focused on helping growers overcome the many challenges in transitioning to organic crop production.
Vice President Technology & Innovation, Lindsay Corporation
In this role, Brian is responsible for Lindsay’s ag technology portfolio as well as Lindsay’s portfolio of IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things). Brian joined Lindsay from CNH Industrial, where he served as the Global Director of Portfolio Management for agricultural tractors. Brian spent several years at Bain & Company, a leading global management consulting firm.
He earned an undergraduate in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Nebraska and MBA degree from Harvard Business School.
VP and Omaha Branch Executive, Federal Reserve of Kansas City
Nathan serves as the Bank’s regional economist and representative in the state of Nebraska, recruits and works closely with the board of directors, and is responsible for briefing the Kansas City Fed’s president – a member of the Federal Open Market Committee – on economic and business activity in the state. In addition, Nathan leads several Bank and Federal Reserve System efforts to track agricultural and rural economies. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Iowa State University.
Distinguished Professor and Head of the Ag Economics Department at Purdue University
Jayson Lusk is a food and agricultural economist who studies what we eat and why we eat it. Often listed as one of the most prolific and cited food and agricultural economists of the past two decades in a variety of outlets, Lusk has won numerous research awards. Lusk has served on the editorial councils of eight academic journals and is currently the president of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
Vice President, Economic Research, The Gavilon Group, LLC
Ankush Bhandari is vice president of Economic Research at The Gavilon Group, LLC, (Marubeni Group) a leading agricultural commodities management firm. He is responsible for the company’s grain, oilseed and biofuel industry research and analysis.
Bhandari has been a key note speaker and presenter at various conferences in the United States, Europe, South East Asia, Mexico and South America. He earned his Master of Business Administration in Finance from Emory University in Atlanta.
Economist, Omaha Branch Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
Cortney Cowley is an economist in the Regional Affairs Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Her current research focuses on agricultural finance. Cortney’s responsibilities also include writing for the Tenth District Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions and the Federal Reserve System’s Agricultural Finance Databook. Cortney joined the Bank in 2015 after completing her Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University.
Chief Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation
From 2004 to 2014 he worked for the USDA as an Agricultural Economist, while serving on the United States Senate Agriculture Committee. Thereafter, he served with the USDA Office of the Chief Economist providing policy insight for the 2014 Farm Bill. In 2014, he served as Chief Economist for National Milk Producers Federation before joining American Farm Bureau Federation. He received a Ph.D. in agricultural economics, a M.A. in macroeconomics, and a M.S. in agricultural economics.