Speakers

Ashley Arrington
Ashley Arrington
Ashley Arrington grew up in Georgia and earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master of business administration degree. She has worked in the banking industry her entire career and concentrates exclusively on agricultural banking and analysis. She founded Agri Authority, a consulting company focused on business valuation, asset acquisition and growth. Currently, she is serving as Ag Resource Management’s director of Real Estate.
Sarah Beth Aubrey
Sarah Beth Aubrey
Sarah Beth Aubrey, founder, A.C.T., holds a bachelor of science in agricultural communications from the University of Illinois and a master of science in strategic communication from Purdue University. She began her career with Novartis moving next into business development and training with ABG Inc. (Adyana). Entrepreneurial at heart, at 26 she launched a retail meat business and at 30 a grant writing firm. Both businesses have been sold to investors. As the former CEO of Prosperity Ag LLC, Sarah Beth wrote over 300 successful grants in 29 states, yielding nearly $100 million in funding. She is technically savvy in understanding the complex issues facing agriculture and professional development today. She blogs on these topics for Forbes.com within the Forbes Coaches Council, and her column, The Farm CEO Coach, launched in Top Producer magazine in July 2017. The author of five books, Sarah Beth is also part of the adjunct faculty at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) where she designs curriculum and teaches graduate classes.
Dan Basse
Dan Basse
Daniel Basse is President of AgResource Company. AgResource Co. is a domestic and international agricultural research firm located in Chicago. Dan is an economist that has been in the commodity business since 1979. Raised on a dairy/grain farm in Waukesha, Wis., he has a keen sense of production agriculture. Dan graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has worked with Professional Farmers of America, Brock Associates and the ag research division of GNP Commodities in Chicago. In 1987, he founded AgResource Company to serve the market research needs of the world agricultural community. Dan holds global conferences on agriculture in Switzerland and Brazil and is vice chairman of the US Farm Foundation.
Matt Bennett
Matt Bennett
Matt Bennett is a Windsor, Ill., farmer and former grain elevator owner. He is Channel Seed’s grain marketing consultant and holds a Series 3 brokerage license as co-founder of AgMarket.Net, Farm Division of JSA.
Becky Berger
Becky Berger
Becky Meeuwsen Berger is CEO of Berger International, which primarily produces proprietary varieties of tall fescue seed in Hillsboro, Ore. It also includes 3,200 acres of wheat, hemp and hazelnut production. She has experience with finance, sales and product development and is currently responsible for making all major business decisions on behalf of Berger Seed. Becky's volunteer activities include serving on the Washington County Developmental Disabilities Council and the Hillsboro School District's Parent Advisory Council for Special Education. She also serves on the Oregon Grass Seed Bargaining Association Board and Oregon State University's Austin Family Business Advisory Council. She has an associate of applied science in radiologic technology.
Naomi Blohm
Naomi Blohm
Naomi Blohm is a specialist at helping farmers understand how to manage their cash marketing needs. In addition, she helps them understand the importance of managing basis, delivery point considerations, cash flow needs and storage capacity. She also assists with explaining, implementing and managing futures and options strategies for clients.
John Carroll
John Carroll
John Carroll graduated from Western Illinois University in 2003 with a degree in agribusiness and an MBA with a finance emphasis. John and his wife, Kelly, moved to Brazil immediately after graduation to manage the farm that the Carroll family had recently acquired. John lived in Brazil for the next 10 years where the operation grew to include 25,000 acres of owned and leased row crop farmland, a cotton gin and a services business which does consulting, accounting and compliance work for other foreigners with investments in Brazil. John oversees the quarterly and longer-term strategic planning for the business. In the U.S. business, John manages the family's sow farms in Illinois and Missouri.
Robin Crowe
Robin Crowe
Robin Crow’s journey as an author, speaker, entrepreneur and CEO is an American success story. As a business leader, Robin has gained a deep reservoir of experience as he has tirelessly developed and evolved each of his three companies. He is the CEO of Dark Horse Recording, a scenic three-studio complex and resort he built from the ground up. Founded in 1992, Dark Horse has attracted some of the most celebrated artists in the world including Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Megadeth, Taylor Swift, Neil Diamond, Jeff Beck, One Republic, Alison Kraus, Korn, Faith Hill and countless others.
In 2010, Crow founded Dark Horse Institute (DHI), a post-secondary institution offering audio
engineering, film production and music business to young entrepreneurs. Their mission is to create the most compelling educational model of the 21st century. In 2012 Robin established Dark Horse Luxury Rentals, a property management company specializing in high end residences. The company now owns five properties in Telluride, Colo.. and Nashville, Tenn.. His best-selling books include Evolve or Die, Rock Solid Leadership, Jump and the Net Will Appear and soon to be released The Intelligence Revolution. Robin divides his time living in Tennessee and Colorado.
Artur Falcette
Artur Falcette
Artur Falcette graduated from the Federal University of Viçosa – Brazil, with a MBA in agribusiness strategic management at FGV and a postgraduate degree in strategic business leadership at the Ohio University (USA). In addition, he has specific training in people management, strategic planning, balanced scorecard (BSC), among others.
Mark Faust
Mark Faust
Mark Faust has run Echelon Management, a growth advisory firm, since 1990. Mark has been an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio University and Northern Iowa University. He is an adviser on company boards, and he has conducted hundreds of sessions for dozens of the world’s largest companies including Apple, IBM, P&G, John Deere, Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer Crop Science, CPS, almost two dozen seed companies and several larger ag retailers. Mark’s first book “Growth or Bust! Proven Turanround Strategies to Grow Your Business” was a best seller at Barnes & Noble in the business section and his newer book “High Growth Levers” is available at BarnesAndNoble.com. Mark has monthly columns in periodicals from Farm Journal to Forbes.
Chip Flory
Chip Flory
Chip Flory joined Pro Farmer as a floor reporter for Futures World News in January 1988, after graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in ag journalism. He spent three years reporting from the floors of the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as bureau chief for FWN. Chip moved to Pro Farmer headquarters in 1991 where he started as electronic services editor. With Pro Farmer, he served as senior market analyst, general manager, editor of the company’s flagship newsletter for 17 years, editorial director and is now editor emeritus for Pro Farmer. Chip is the host of Farm Journal Media’s issues-driven “AgriTalk” and markets-driven “AgriTalk After the Bell.” Chip is also the Farm Journal economist, providing market insights for readers in each issue of Farm Journal.
Shay Foulk
Shay Foulk
Shay Foulk is an ag business consultant at Ag View Solutions. Their team focuses on profit management, business structuring, transition planning and farm professional development through peer group facilitation. They work with producers across the United States and Canada in depth for their operational needs, as well as focusing on profit management through their Profit Manager system. Learn more at agviewsolutions.com.
Sarah Frey
Sarah Frey
Sarah Frey founded Frey Farms, a Certified Woman Owned Business, in 1992. Headquartered in Keenes, Ill., Sarah and her four older brothers operate farms and facilities in seven states. Frey Farms distributes fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the country serving the nation’s top 25 retail chains. With a mission to end food waste in the fresh produce industry, the family makes natural food products and beverages from imperfect or “ugly fruit”. They produce a line of beverages and fresh juices under the Sarah’s Homegrown and Tsamma Watermelon Juice brands. Sarah Frey has been described by the New York Times as “The Pumpkin Queen of America”. Sarah sells more pumpkins than any other producer in the United States. She is the author of the best-selling book “The Growing Season: How I Built a New Life–and Saved an American Farm,” published by Random House in August of 2020. Sarah will serve as co-executive producer of the upcoming ABC television series of “The Growing Season” based on her story.
Tom Gimbel
Tom Gimbel
Tom Gimbel is the founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a national staffing, recruiting and culture firm headquartered in Chicago. LaSalle has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies for 12 years, Fortune’s “Best Companies to Work for in Chicago” and “Best Medium Workplaces,”, Forbes’ “Best Professional Recruiting Firms,” Inc. Magazine’s “Best Workplaces” list, and Crain's Chicago Business' "Best Places to Work in Chicago" for 6 years. With over 25 years of industry experience, Tom is an expert on sales, hiring, corporate culture and management/leadership, contributing to Inc., Fast Company and The Wall Street Journal. He also appears frequently on CNBC and in The New York Times, Fortune, Crain’s Chicago Business, among others. Tom is on the Board of Directors of Start Early, the American Staffing Association and Lurie Children’s Hospital Foundation. He also has been an active member of Young Presidents’ Organization for the last 10 years as well as of the Economic Club of Chicago.
Leah Halverson
Leah Halverson
Leah Halverson is a 4th generation potato farmer from North Dakota. With a lifetime of experience in the potato business with her family and Black Gold Farms, Leah deeply understands how it all works from crop production up to the consumer point of sale. In 2019, Leah started Ten Acre Marketing, a marketing and communications agency that focuses on farming and food.
Steve Henry
Steve Henry
Steve Henry serves as CEO for LongView Farms. He grew up actively participating in the family farm operation. After receiving a bachelor of science degree in farm operation from Iowa State University, he worked as an ag lender in Nebraska for Farm Credit Services and then for Metropolitan. Since returning to farm in 1988, Steve has taken advantage of numerous educational opportunities including the Ferguson Agri-Management Institute, Texas A & M’s Executive Program for Ag Producers and Purdue’s Top Crop Farmer Program. Steve has served on the Iowa Soybean Association Board of Directors, Heart of Iowa Co-op Board and is currently the president on the Farm Credit Services of America Board. Locally, he is involved in Rotary and Cornerstone Church.
Peter Martin
Peter Martin
Peter Martin leads companies to their next stage of growth. Whether in need of a jump-start or currently undergoing runaway growth, he develops a game plan so business leaders can confidently choose among the best alternatives. His experience has transcended several industries including agriculture, business services, distribution and manufacturing. Peter participates in a number of continuing education programs to stay current on the latest trends in the debt and equity markets and the merger and acquisition industry. He serves as a success catalyst and valued adviser to business owners and leadership teams. Peter received his bachelor of arts in psychology from the University of Northern Colorado and his MBA with an emphasis in finance and accounting from Regis University.
Andrew McCrea
Andrew McCrea
Andrew McCrea is a farmer and rancher, an award-winning radio and TV broadcaster and a nationally recognized speaker. He is the host of a nationally broadcast radio feature, “The American Countryside,” a program that has won five Oscars in Agriculture for rural and agricultural broadcasting. He has interviewed hall of fame sports stars, Emmy and Grammy winners and has even been body slammed by professional wrestlers. His broadcasting work has taken him to all 50 states and six continents to interview thousands of guests for his program. “The American Countryside” is unique in broadcasting because all of the interviews are done on location. His broadcasts are heard daily on 100 radio stations and Sirius XM satellite radio. The TV version is a regular feature on “U.S. Farm Report.” Andrew continues to own and manage the farm and ranch where he was born and raised. He is the author of six books, including his latest book, “The Total Town Makeover,” which looks at real-life strategies towns, cities and counties have used to revitalize themselves and create vibrant communities where people want to live and work. He and his family reside near Maysville, Mo., where they are the fifth and sixth generations to operate the family farm.
Peter Meyer
Peter Meyer
Pete Meyer joined S&P Global Platts in 2012 to launch the Agricultural Commodities Service. His career in commodities spans close to 40 years, concentrating on agriculture for the past 25. Prior to this, Pete held the position of agricultural commodities specialist at both Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan. He also spent 14 years on the floors of the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange, trading on behalf of clients as well as proprietarily. He is a long-time member of Pro Farmer who annually participates as a scout on crop tours. He is a frequent presenter at a variety of agriculture conferences and is often sought out for his opinions and yield estimates by members of the media.
Paul Neiffer
Paul Neiffer
Paul Neiffer is an agribusiness certified public accountant and business adviser for CliftonLarsonAllen LLP. He specializes in income taxation and accounting services related to farmers and processors. Paul works with farmers and processors providing income tax advice and compliance services, and he consults with farm families on succession planning issues and opportunities. He also helps farmers understand the proper use of accounting systems to run their business more profitably. He authors a monthly column for Top Producer magazine called “The Farm CPA” and has written several articles for various farm magazines and media outlets.
Stephen Nicholson
Stephen Nicholson
Stephen Nicholson has more than thirty years of experience in cash grain markets, hedging, commodity/ingredient procurement, commodity risk management and commodity analysis. A native of Iowa, he holds a bachelor’s degree in farm operations and agricultural education and a master’s degree in agricultural economics, both from Iowa State University. Prior to joining Rabo AgriFinance, Nicholson was most recently category manager and chief economist with International Food Products, a trader and distributor of food ingredients. Responsibilities included procurement and trading of vegetable oils, corn sweeteners, starches and grain products, along with consulting assignments. From 2001 to 2007, he was a senior economist with Doane Agricultural Services in St. Louis as the oilseed analyst. Nicholson also has nearly fifteen years of experience in the food and beverage industry.
Bret Oelke
Bret Oelke
Bret Oelke is the owner of Innovus Agra LLC, an agricultural business consulting company that provides business management services to agricultural producers and the businesses that support them. Bret is also a partner in Heartland Livestock Services, a company that provides a marketplace for breeding livestock and breeding livestock auctions. He is retired from the University of Minnesota agricultural business management team. Bret holds a bachelor’s degree in animal and range sciences from South Dakota State University and his master’s degree in agribusiness from Kansas State University.
Eric Snodgrass
Eric Snodgrass
Eric Snodgrass is the principal atmospheric scientist for Nutrien Ag Solutions, where he develops predictive, analytical software solutions to manage weather risk for global production agriculture. He provides frequent weather updates that focus on how high-impact weather events influence global agriculture productivity. His current research uses machine learning to better understand field-level weather impacts on yields in the U.S. and to increase confidence in long-range weather prediction. He presents his research as a featured speaker at over 120 conferences annually where he provides logistical guidance and solutions to weather sensitive financial institutions, farmers, commodity traders and other stakeholders. Snodgrass is a co-founder of Global Weather and Climate Logistic, LLC and Agrible, Inc which were both acquired by Nutrien Ag Solutions in 2018.
Before transitioning to Nutrien Ag Solutions, Snodgrass was the director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 2006-2019. Each year, he guided over 1800 students through the wild side of weather in ATMS 120: Severe and Hazardous Weather.. Snodgrass currently serves as the chair of the Alumni Council for the Department of Atmospheric Science’s at the University of Illinois.
Rena Striegel
Rena Striegel
Rena Striegel is an internationally recognized business coach and consultant with over 20 years of experience working directly with farmers, ag leaders, senior executives and entrepreneurs to identify and implement strategies that create growth and profitability. In her role with Transition Point Business Advisors, she leads client projects in the areas of strategic planning, business succession and continuity planning and employee/leadership development. Most of her current clients are large family-owned farm operations. Rena grew up on a dairy and hog farm in What Cheer, Iowa, and she is a professional EOS implementer as well as a certified business coach and holds an MBA from the University of Iowa.
Jackson Takach
Jackson Takach
Jackson Takach, the chief economist and sr. director of Strategy, Research, and Analytics at Farmer Mac, is a Kentucky native whose strong ties to agriculture began while growing up in the rural town of Scottsville. He joined the Farmer Mac team in 2005, and has worked in the strategy, research, credit and underwriting departments. Jackson is a lead author and creator of “The Feed,” Farmer Mac’s quarterly publication on the agricultural sector, and he regularly presents to lenders, producers and industry experts throughout the year. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Centre College, a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Purdue University, as well as a master’s of business administration and a master’s degree in finance from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. He has also been a CFA charterholder since 2012 and currently sits on the board of AgAnalytics and AcreValue.
Brian Watkins
Brian Watkins
Brian Watkins grows corn, soybeans, wheat and pigs with his brother and nephew near Kenton, Ohio. The farm has been in Brian’s family for seven generations, and he became a partner in 1983.