2023 Speakers

We'd love your input! Have you heard a great speaker recently or want to suggest a topic/speaker for our 2023 event?  Submit your speaker or topic idea below!

Rich Redmond

Rich Redmond has been the touring/recording drummer with multi-platinum country rocker Jason Aldean for over two decades. With Aldean, Rich has recorded 31 #1 hits and plays to millions of fans per year in iconic venues around the globe. Rich has also performed with: Garth Brooks, Ludacris, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Bryan Adams, Bob Seger, Chris Cornell, Joe Perry, Jewel, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, and many other top performers. Rich has appeared on Saturday Night LiveThe Voice, American IdolThe Grammy Awards, The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, Ellen, The CMA Awards, ACM Awards, CMT Awards, etc. Rich was voted “Country Drummer of the Year” many years in a row by Modern Drummer magazine and DRUM! Magazine voted Rich one of the “Top 60 Rock Drummers of All Time.” Rich is also a busy speaker, host, educator, author and actor. 


Jim Wiesemeyer

From his office near Washington, D.C., Jim Wiesemeyer contributes daily to Pro Farmer’s website, providing members with the latest information on agricultural policy and trade developments. He also is a twice-weekly participant in Farm Journal’s “AgriTalk” radio program and serves as a Washington analyst for Pro Farmer and Farm Journal. Since 1978, Jim has frequently reported on and interviewed senior government officials, including former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, as well as USDA secretaries since Earl Butz. Jim has traveled extensively in his assignments and is a frequent speaker on farm policy and trade issues. He rejoined Pro Farmer in June of 2018, after serving as their Washington consultant for 19 years while at Informa Economics and before that an employee of Pro Farmer. Jim is one of the writers for the Agriculture Letter, formerly the Kiplinger Ag Letter. Prior to Pro Farmer, he was a Washington editor with Doane's Agricultural Report and Washington editor and managing editor of the Washington Farmletter.

Dave Mitchell

Since founding the Leadership Difference in 1995, over 400,000 people have attended Dave’s “enter-
TRAIN-ment” seminars on topics that include leadership, customer service, selling skills, and personal performance enhancement. His clients include Allstate Insurance, Bank of America, Universal Studios, Hilton Worldwide, Sub-Zero Wolf Appliances, Electrolux Appliances, Trek Bikes, Walt Disney World and the CIA. In July 2013, Meeting Professionals International selected as the Meeting Madness winner for Best Speaker of the Year at their World Education Congress in Las Vegas. In September 2015, Meetings and Conventions Magazine named Dave one of the Best Speakers of the Year. He has a B.A. in Mass-Communications with an emphasis in Business Administration and M.Ed. in Global Human Resources Development. Dave spent 12 years as a corporate executive in human resources management, has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois and Walla Walla University, regular guest lecturer at Whitman College, is the chairman of the business advisory board for Walla Walla Community College and is designated as a Certified Advanced Wine Sommelier by the International Wine Guild.

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.






Mark Faust

Since 1990 Mark has run Echelon Management, a growth advisory firm. Mark has been an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio University and Northern Iowa University. He is an advisor on company boards and he has conducted hundreds of sessions for dozens of the worlds 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.

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 more profitably run their business. 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.

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.





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.

Sara Schafer

Sara Schafer, editor of Top Producer magazine, was raised on a family farm where they produced hogs and cattle, along with soybeans, corn, wheat, milo and hay. Since joining Farm Journal Media in 2008, she has covered a broad range of topics pivotal to the success of American farmers. In addition to being an award-winning content producer, she has played several key roles with the transformative relaunch of AgWeb.com, she spearheaded the Farm Journal Legacy Project expansion and increased the flow of succession planning information to farmers. Sara graduated from the University of Missouri–Columbia with a degree in agricultural journalism and a minor in agricultural economics. She, her husband and their daughter live in Columbia, Mo.

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.








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.

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.

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 ream. 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.

Sam Taylor

Samuel Taylor is an Analyst in the farm inputs sector, focusing on fertilizers, agrochemicals and seed as well as the broader farm economy. He has a decade of professional experience working in the agricultural industry, in both the North American and European markets. Prior to joining Rabobank, Sam worked as an equity analyst for Cleveland Research Company, covering agribusinesses in the North American, European and South American markets. Before moving to the U.S., Sam specialized in agriculture and renewable energy project finance, working on large standalone projects as well as integrated on-farm solutions to waste and energy capture. Sam has been involved in agriculture throughout his life, having grown up in a large farming family with mixed crop, livestock and broiler farms. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Manchester and a post graduate degree in finance. Sam also served in the British Army before moving to the U.S.

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.

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.

Kristjan Hebert

Kristjan Hebert is the President and CEO of The Hebert Group and Managing Partner of Hebert Grain Ventures, a 30,000 acre grain and oilseed operation in southeast Saskatchewan, Canada. He is also the co-founder of Maverick Ag Consulting which provides custom designed lending, accounting and insurance solutions to producers and Farmer Coach, a business management coaching program for farmers. Hebert was born and raised on a family farm. He left the farm to get his business degree with a major in accounting & finance, and obtained his CPA with Meyers Norris Penny, a large accounting firm in Canada. In 2008 he returned to the family farm - Hebert Grain Ventures - in partnership with his wife, and his parents. At the farm, Hebert’s passion is solving agriculture’s puzzles in order to fulfill HGV’s purpose of “Respect the past, grow the future!” Hebert received the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Prairies in 2022. He was recognized internationally as a Global Climate Positive Leader by Corteva Agriscience in 2021 and received the Top Producer Award in 2020. He is also a lifetime member of the Global Farmer Network. A sought after speaker, mentor and agri-business leader, Hebert is passionate about advancing agriculture in Canada and globally. Besides farming, he most enjoys coaching hockey, travelling and creating experiences with his son Bentley, his daughter Ivy, and wife Theresa.

Steve Freed

Overseeing the analysis of all market information and trading strategies for over 1100 brokers, Steve Freed creates daily short and long-term market outlooks, monthly grain PowerPoint presentation updates, daily market outlook video and an electronic statistical manual identifying changes in world supply and demand conditions. Steve’s market opinion is often quoted in newspapers and business journals around the world, and he is regularly a featured speaker at seminars and workshops. Born and raised on a grain and livestock farm in central Illinois, Steve received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from Illinois State University. His career began as a crop analyst, then as a grain analyst creating trade recommendations based on international and domestic crop conditions. Before joining ADMIS in 1992, he was with Continental Grain Company and later held the position of Vice President of Futures Research at Dean Witter Reynolds. While there, he sharpened his ability to create trade recommendations based on crop conditions, seasonal trends and changes in cash inputs. Long recognized as an industry expert, today Steve is one of the most respected and followed grain analysts in the nation.

Kala Jenkins

As a manager for KCoe Isom, Kala Jenkins improves upon the financial performance of food and agriculture producers through strategic planning, operational consulting, and risk management.  Her background in grain merchandising and ag lending has provided her with a unique insider’s perspective on the challenges and issues her agricultural clients are contending with. Due to a fundamental love for the Agriculture industry instilled by her family farm experience, Kala Jenkins has immersed herself in helping producers with financing solutions and finding out-of-the-box solutions for cash flow difficulties with growers. Kala’s insights have helped position agribusinesses for both survival and success – from agricultural lending, cash flow strategies and debt optimization to grain marketing, succession plans and legacy building.  She is a proactive catalyst for agribusiness success – enabling their growth, optimization, and expansion.

Polly Dobbs

As the owner of Dobbs Legal Group LLC, Polly focuses her practice in estate and wealth transfer planning along with business succession planning. Her passion lies with helping family-owned farms and closely held businesses achieve a smooth succession. Having grown up on a farm, she understands the issues facing farm families and has extensive experience in farm succession planning. Polly earned her bachelor’s degree from Ball State University, an MBA from the Kelley School of Business, and her Juris Doctor degree from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. 

Jackie Applegate

Dr. Jacqueline Applegate serves as President of Bayer Crop Science North America and is a member of the Global Executive Leadership Team. Previously, Applegate served as Head of Global Vegetable Seeds & Environmental Science, where she led operations, strategic planning and product development for the two key business units. Prior to that, Applegate served in a variety of leadership positions at Bayer, including as the Senior Bayer Representative for Australia and New Zealand; President of Environmental Science North America; Vice President of Environmental Science Consumer Products; and Head of Global Project Management. In addition, Applegate served as the Culture and Change Management Lead for the Bayer/Monsanto integration. She began her career at Bayer in 1992 as a chemist. Jackie is active on multiple philanthropic, community and business organizations. A passionate advocate for ag youth, she serves on the board of trustees of the National 4-H Council. Additionally, she is a member of the Crop Life America Board of Directors. In St. Louis, MO, where Jackie resides, she is a member of the Forest Park Board of Directors and is serving as Bayer’s Executive Sponsor of the 2022 United Way campaign. A strong leader in career development, Jackie is the National Executive Co-sponsor of Bayer’s employee-led resource group GROW, which advocates for women’s advancement in leadership.

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 Roberts 

Matthew Roberts, Ph.D., is Terrain’s senior grain and oilseed sector analyst. He has extensive experience as a commodity economics research consultant, trainer and professional speaker on grain and biofuels markets. He spent 15 years as an assistant and associate professor and Extension Grain Marketing Specialist in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics at The Ohio State University. Matt was also a founder and Managing Director of The Kernmantle Group, a commodity economics research and training consultancy. He has published on the use of derivatives for risk management in agricultural production. Matt earned his Ph.D. in economics from North Carolina State University.

Kip Tom 

Kip Tom is is chairman of the Tom Family of Agribusinesses, Tom Farms, CereServ and Tom Family Farms in Leesburg, Ind. After decades of multiple roles in support of agriculture on local, state, national and international levels, Kip was appointed U.S. Ambassador to the Rome-based United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture in 2019. He oversaw the largest contributions to UN food programs and dealt with emergency assistance, safety standards, agriculture, fisheries, forests and rural development financing. His diligent efforts to modernize agriculture and increase sustainability has enhanced U.S. objectives in foreign policy and agriculture priorities. It all started in northeast Indiana at his eighth-generation farming operation. Kip has done work and served as a board member with various organizations including Forum for America and the World, Farmers Feeding the World, the Farm Foundation, Farm Journal Foundation, Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Indiana state Department of Agriculture and National 4-H and FFA foundations. He has been intimately involved sharing his expertise and experiences in advancing agriculture’s technology sector. His servant leadership to agriculture have been marked with many successful outcomes from his tireless efforts to advance sustainable modern agriculture for the benefit of the U.S. and the International community.

Rob Dongoski

Rob leads EY’s Food & Agribusiness sector and focuses on strategy, innovation and M&A for clients in the food, agribusiness and beverage sectors. As EY’s global leader, he is at the forefront of industry issues and works directly with client executives to optimize their approach in the global markets.  He works across the entire value chain including crop inputs, ag retailers, protein, food manufacturers, grocery and restaurants.  Rob has also worked extensively to foster innovation and digital adoption across the industry with corporate clients, private equity, venture capital and incubator/accelerator communities. Rob’s experience ranges from growth strategy to operating model design to digital innovation.  He works directly with client executives to define their strategic direction, portfolio and routes-to-market as well as design the appropriate operating model for their business.  This often includes buy/build partner strategy, product/portfolio management, supply chain reconfiguration, labor and talent approaches and new product/market entry.  

Kanlaya Barr

Kanlaya (pronounce: Ga-li-a) Barr is the director of corporate economics for John Deere. She manages a global team of economists oversees the industry trend and agricultural market globally. Since joining Deere nearly a decade ago, Kanlaya has held various roles including manager of forecast analytics for worldwide service parts and a Latin America economist. Prior to joining Deere, Kanlaya spent a few years in the finance industry. Kanlaya received her doctorate degree in Agricultural Economics and a Master Degree in Accounting from Iowa State University.   

More Speakers Coming Soon!