Join leaders at the forefront of their fields for exciting panel discussions and Ted-Talk style presentations. Foster Our Future 2020 will feature speakers representing key sectors in the food and agriculture communities, including policymakers, farmers, researchers, sustainability experts and private sector stakeholders.
Food Traceability and Safety Scientist, Global Food Traceability Center
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Senior Director for Food Chain, Institute of Food Technologists and Executive Director, Global Food Traceability Center
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Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Tu Anh Huynh is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She received a PhD at the University of California – Davis and postdoctoral training at the University of Washington. Her lab in Madison studies the adaptation and virulence of Listeria monocytogenes, an invasive human and animal pathogen that is frequently shed by asymptomatic dairy cattle. Towards this phenomenon, they also investigate the genetic determinants that allow Listeria to colonize the bovine gastrointestinal tract, and the effects of asymptomatic Listeria carriage on the GI tract microbiota of dairy cows.
Associate Professor, University of California Davis
Dr. Kisekka is an associate professor in the Departments of Land, Air and Water Resources and Biological and Agricultural Engineering at University of California Davis. His research focus includes 1) irrigation, 2) water resources management, and 3) hydrology. Current projects include data-driven irrigation optimization in tree, vegetable and forage crops, monitoring and modeling of nitrate leaching to groundwater, salinity, proximal and remote sensing, recycled water reuse, and crop modeling.
Assistant Professor, Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center
Kranthi Mandadi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at Texas A&M University. His research spans both fundamental and translational studies of fastidious plant diseases that threaten global food production and security. Kranthi is also committed to mentoring students and early-career scientists, as well as serve the agricultural stakeholder community. He is an active member of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB), American Phytopathological Society (APS) and Texas Plant Protection Association (TPPA).
Chief Executive Officer, Marrone Bio Innovations Inc.
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Founder, Open Rivers Consulting Associates
Dr. Shefali Mehta, an environmental and agricultural economist and statistician, focuses on developing strategy and implementation plans for organizations. She founded and leads Open Rivers Consulting Associates to tailor solutions and create holistic strategies for a range of clients. Prior to founding Open Rivers, Dr. Mehta worked in roles across private, public and non-profit sectors including McKinsey, Syngenta, the Soil Health Partnership, amongst others. She serves or has served as a Board member for various groups including Bountifield, Pheasants Forever, Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pest Center (MITPPC), the School of Statistics at University of Minnesota, The Gates Scholar Advisory Council, amongst others.
Partner, Understanding Ag, LLC
Shane New is a stockman, entrepreneur and partner with Understanding Ag, LLC. A graduate of Kansas State University, he spent 20 years as a civil contractor and sod producer before completely focusing on regenerative agriculture. Shane and his wife Kelli alongside their three children, own and operate New Family Farms, a beef cattle and free-range chicken operation located in Holton, Kansas. The farm incorporates many of the regenerative practices including no-tilling, cover crops, rotational and adaptive grazing. Shane’s passion is production agriculture and believes that the future for agriculture and human health has to come from regenerative agricultural practices. He completed Dr. Elaine Ingham’s Life in the Soils courses and in 2017, New Family Farms received the Soil Health Award from Jackson County Conservation District for outstanding accomplishments in the management of soil health.
Assistant Professor, University of Maryland
Dr. Yiping Qi is an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture at University of Maryland, College Park. In the past decade, Qi has been working on engineering sequence-specific nucleases such as ZFN, TALEN and CRISPR-Cas9. In recent years, Dr. Qi has pioneered novel CRISPR systems, such as CRISPR-Cas12a and CRISPR-Cas12b, for plant genome editing. With these tools, Qi and collaborators have edited the genomes of many crops, including tomato, carrot, rice, maize, strawberry, apple and poplar. Funded by FFAR New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award, Qi lab is currently developing and improving CRISPR-Cas12a genome editing tools for achieving highly efficient multiplexed genome editing in crops.
Sr. R&D Manager, General Mills, Inc.
Tom Rabaey is a Sr. R&D Manager leading the Agronomy Sciences group focused on oat breeding and variety development, agronomy research, organic and regenerative agriculture practices, and is liaison for global agronomy. He holds a B.S in Agronomy Sciences from South Dakota State University and M.S and PhD in Agronomy Sciences and Entomology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Tom joined General Mills in 1995 and has worked on many brands for the company including Green Giant, Nature Valley, Cheerios, and the organic brands of Muir Glen, Cascadian Farm and Annie’s. He grew up on a diversified family farm near Minneota, Minnesota where he still has an active role in management of the operation.
Executive Director, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research
Dr. Sally Rockey became the inaugural Executive Director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), in September 2015. Prior to this role, Dr. Rockey was a leader in Federal research, overseeing the operations of the extramural programs in both agriculture and biomedicine. She spent 19 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture before taking on the extramural research program at the National Institutes of Health. As Deputy Director for Extramural Research, Dr. Rockey led groundbreaking initiatives and activities that have and will have a lasting positive impact on the research community. Dr. Rockey received her Ph.D. in Entomology from The Ohio State University and was recently named a fellow of the Entomological Society of America.
Head of Sustainability for the Natural & Organic Operating Unit, General Mills, Inc.
Shauna Sadowski is the Head of Sustainability for the Natural & Organic Operating Unit at General Mills, lead efforts across four brands: Annie’s, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen and Epic Provisions. Shauna develops the sustainability strategy by integrating it into product design with an emphasis on farm-level impacts, leading external engagement through partnerships, and working cross-functionally to ensure that sustainability is implemented across the brands. In prior years, Shauna has been a management consultant and a farm girl; is a graduate of the Friedman School at Tufts University and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Berkeley with her husband and two children.
Assistant Professor, University of Georgia
Jason Wallace is an assistant professor at the University of Georgia. Combining the expertise of a PhD in molecular microbiology and a postdoc in agricultural genomics, his lab investigates how genetics affects how crop plants interact with microbes in the environment. His goal is to understand these interactions to harness them for sustainable food production and global food security.