SPEAKERS

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.

Christopher Adams

Christopher Adams

Partner, Adams Family Farm
 Christopher Adams grew up on a family farm near Grand Forks, ND. He earned a Biology degree from the University of North Dakota in 2010 and began farming alongside his father making Adams Family Farm a 4th generation family agri-business. Since becoming a partner, Chris has introduced precision ag technology, brought new varieties of edible beans, seed wheat and hemp into the crop rotation and spearheaded the purchase of a bean processing operation. Chris was a Top Producer of the Year finalist as well as a North Dakota Exporter of the Year finalist in 2019. He has completed The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers (TEP AP) and is a member of the Association of Agricultural Production Executives (AAPEX).
  
Elizabeth Ainsworth

Elizabeth "Lisa" Ainsworth

Research Leader, Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit, USDA ARS
 Elizabeth Ainsworth, a USDA-ARS researcher and Adjunct Professor at the School of Integrative Biology at the University of Illinois, is the 2019 recipient of the NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences. Ainsworth’s pioneering research focuses on how the world will eat in the face of climate change and other threats. This research has revealed how man-made atmospheric changes will affect the physiology and growth of crops around the world. Ainsworth is the lead investigator for the SoyFACE Global Change Research Facility, which is studying how crops will be affected by increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and ozone in combination with drought and other environmental stresses, as well as possible solutions.
  
Jeni Arndt

Jeni Arndt

Colorado State Representative, Co-Chair NCSL Agriculture Task Force
 Jeni Arndt is the State Representative from House District 53. Arndt has been a ESL teacher, Peace Corps volunteer, school board member and university department head. She holds a PhD from Purdue University, master’s degrees from the University of Colorado and Purdue and an undergraduate degree from Colorado College. Jeni serves on Rural Affairs and Agriculture, Business and Labor during the legislative session. She also serves year-round on the Statutory Revision Commission, the Colorado Commission of Higher Education and Water Resource Review Committee. Jeni is passionate about her work with the National Institute of Civil Discourse, Council of State Governments (Chair-elect), and National Council of State Legislatures (Co-Chair of the national agriculture task force).
  
Amanda Ashworth

Amanda Ashworth

Soil Scientist, USDA-ARS
FFAR New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research
 Amanda Ashworth is a Soil Scientist with USDA-ARS and Adjunct Professor in the Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences Department at the University of Arkansas. Dr. Ashworth’s research focuses on plant-soil-water interactions. Dr. Ashworth has published 55 articles, 20 extension publications, 3 book chapters and has secured $3.54 mil in funding. She currently serves on the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) Board and was recognized with the USDA-ARS Early Career Scientist of the Year (2019), the USDA-ARS Southeast Area Early Career Research Scientist of the Year (2019) and the ASA, Environmental Quality, Inspiring Young Scientist Award (2019).
  
Aaron Ault

Aaron Ault

Co-Founder OATS Center, Purdue University and Vice President, Ault Farms
 Aaron Ault received BS and MS degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Purdue University. He has contributed to projects across the computing spectrum over the past 15 years, including security, data science, embedded systems, mobile apps, blockchain and cloud architectures for supply chains. He is currently the senior engineer with the Open Ag Technology Center at Purdue University, spearheading the development of several open source initiatives including the Open Ag Data Alliance, Trellis, the Open Ag ToolKit and ISOBlue. Aaron is also Vice President of Ault Farms, Inc., where he works full-time managing daily operations and getting his hands dirty. Ault Farms is an Indiana family farming operation with 3,200 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat and 3,000 head of beef cattle.
  
Chip Bowling

Chip Bowling

Chairman, U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance
 Chip Bowling, a corn grower in Newburg, MD, serves as Chairman of U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance. He is a former chairman of the National Corn Growers Association, a farmer-led trade association. Bowling is a third-generation farmer operating a 1,400-acre grain farm growing corn, soybean, wheat, barley and grain sorghum, only an hour’s drive outside of Washington, DC, in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. A graduate of NCGA’s first Advanced Leadership Academy class, Bowling has also served at the state and local levels as a past president of the Maryland Grain Producers Association, as Farm Service Agency committee chairman, as a director for the Charles County Farm Bureau and on the Charles County Economic Development Board. Governor Larry Hogan inducted Bowling into the Maryland Agriculture Hall of Fame.
  
Thomas Burke

Thomas Burke

Food Traceability and Safety Scientist, Global Food Traceability Center
 Thomas Burke is the Food Traceability and Safety Scientist at IFT’s Global Food Traceability Center (GFTC). Currently, he is the technical lead for interoperability piloting, implementation guidance and beta testing for the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability, which is facilitating the creation of data and IT architecture standards addressing catch legality, food safety and labor accountability. He has a Bachelor of Science in microbiology from Kansas State University, studied epidemiology at Emory University, and is pursuing graduate studies in food science at Illinois Institute of Technology.
  
Dorn Cox

Dorn Cox

Research Director, OpenTEAM (Open Tech Ecosystem for Ag Management)/Wolfe's Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment
 Dorn Cox serves as research director and OpenTEAM (Open Tech Ecosystem for Ag Management) PI at Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment. Dorn also lives and works on his family’s 300-acre certified organic farm in New Hampshire. As a co-founder of the FarmOS software platform, the GOAT (Gathering for Open Ag Tech) and Farm Hack community, he is passionate about sharing open source agriculture to accelerate innovation and quantify environmental services from regenerative agriculture. In 2018 his work as a NACD Soil Health Champion was recognized with the inaugural Hugh Hammond Bennett award for excellence in conservation, and in 2019, Dorn was awarded the Food Shot Global Ground Breaker prize. He has a PhD from the University of New Hampshire in Natural Resources and Earth Systems Science.
  
Rodney Davis

Rodney Davis

U.S. Representative, Illinois 13th Congressional District
 Rodney Davis is currently serving his fourth term in Congress serving the 13th District of Illinois. Davis serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and is Ranking Member of both the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, and the Committee on House Administration. Davis is also serving his fourth term on the Committee on Agriculture where he continues to focus on issues important to Illinois farmers and helping people get out of poverty and into a good-paying job. Davis co-chairs and co-founded the House Agriculture Research Caucus. Prior to being elected, Rodney served as Projects Director for Congressman John Shimkus (IL-15) for 16 years helping Illinois citizens and communities cut through government red tape and secure federal funding.
  
Meredith Ellis

Meredith Ellis

G Bar C Ranch
 Meredith Ellis is a 2nd generation rancher on her family ranch in Rosston, TX. She passionately believes in ranching’s ability to provide nutritious food to a growing population while leaving habitat and natural ecosystems intact. Meredith received her Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture with a focus on sustainability from the University of New Mexico. Meredith also sits on the board of Noble’s Integrity Beef Alliance. The ranch is a member of the United States Roundtable for Sustainable Beef and American Angus Association. Meredith believes that ranchland plays an important part of the climate solution and is a timeless refuge for native and migratory species in an increasingly developed world.
  
Hon. Dan Glickman

Hon. Dan Glickman

Vice President, Aspen
Institute
Senior Fellow, Bipartisan
Policy Center
26th U.S. Secretary of
Agriculture
 Daniel Glickman currently serves as the Vice President of the Aspen Institute and Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Congressional Program. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Glickman served as the 26th U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Before his appointment, Glickman served for 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives where he represented the 4th Congressional District of Kansas. Glickman was also Chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA). Prior to joining the MPAA, he was the Director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is currently a Board Member and formerly the Past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research.
  
Al Gore

Al Gore

Former Vice President
 Former Vice President Al Gore is the cofounder and chairman of Generation Investment Management, and the founder and chairman of The Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit devoted to solving the climate crisis. He is also a senior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and a member of Apple Inc.’s board of directors. Gore was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976, 1978, 1980, and 1982 and to the U.S. Senate in 1984 and 1990. He was inaugurated as the 45th vice president of the United States on January 20, 1993, and served eight years. He is the subject of the documentary movie “An Inconvenient Truth.” In 2007, Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for “informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change.”
  
Bill Hilliard

Bill Hilliard

CEO, Atalo Holdings, Inc.
 Bill Hilliard is the CEO of Atalo Holdings, Inc., one of the largest participants in Kentucky’s Industrial Hemp Program. The company manages a selective Growers’ Group of 100+ farmers growing close to 2,000 acres in Kentucky for the 2019 season with growers in five other states. Bill represents Atalo as a voting member of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable and a founding director of the U.S. Hemp Farming Alliance. Prior to joining Atalo, Bill was executive vice-president, general counsel and chief development officer for Thomas and King, Inc. Bill was admitted to the Kentucky Bar in 1978 and practiced as a partner with the firm of Gess Mattingly & Atchison, P.S.C. for 18 years before joining Thomas and King. Bill remains of counsel with the law firm and spends free time on his farm in Lexington, KY.
  
Bryan Hitchcock

Bryan Hitchcock

Senior Director for Food Chain, Institute of Food Technologists and Executive Director, Global Food Traceability Center
 Bryan Hitchcock is IFT’s Sr. Director Food Chain & Exec. Director of the Global Food Traceability Center. He is responsible for managing the GFTC including strategy & governance, sales & marketing and government/public relations. He also serves as IFT’s principal scientific and technology leader on matters related to existing food chains and their digital transformation. Bryan has extensive R&D expertise in the food industry across emerging and mature brands, as well as broad & deep experience in new product and technology innovation, ingredients, processing, quality/food safety and supply chain. He spent much of his career at PepsiCo most recently as Sr. Director, North America Nutrition R&D. Prior to PepsiCo, Bryan worked at P&G and 3M.
  
Scott Hutchins

Scott Hutchins

Deputy Under Secretary, United States Department of Agriculture Research, Education, and Economics Mission
 Scott Hutchins is the Deputy Under Secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Research, Education, and Economics mission area which is comprised of the Agricultural Research Service, Economic Research Service, National Agricultural Statistics Service, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. He was sworn-in by Secretary Perdue on January 29, 2019. Hutchins recently retired from Corteva Agriscience after almost 32 years. In addition, he is a Board-Certified Entomologist, Adjunct Professor of entomology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Past President of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), and Fellow of the ESA. Hutchins received a BS in entomology from Auburn University, a MS in entomology from Mississippi State University, and a PhD in entomology from Iowa State University.
  
Tu Anh Huynh

Tu Anh Huynh

Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin – Madison
FFAR New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research
 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.
  
Chavonda Jacobs-Young

Chavonda Jacobs-Young

Administrator of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Acting Chief Scientist USDA
 Chavonda Jacobs-Young is the Administrator of the ARS, USDA’s chief scientific in-house research agency, and currently also the Acting Chief Scientist of USDA. Prior to joining ARS, Dr. Jacobs-Young held several scientific leadership roles in the Federal Government, including Director of the USDA Office of the Chief Scientist, Acting Director for the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Senior Policy Analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She holds MS and PhD degrees in Wood and Paper Science and a BS degree in Pulp and Paper Science and Technology from North Carolina State University. Dr. Jacobs-Young is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Public Administration and a 2016 recipient of the Presidential Rank Award.
  
U.S. Senator Mike Johanns

U.S. Senator Mike Johanns

U.S. Senator (R-NE), 28th U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Governor, Mayor
 Mike Johanns has devoted over 30 years to public service at virtually every level of government. As a U.S. Senator, he represented Nebraskans in the 111th-113th Congresses. Johanns was the 28th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where he held 50 nationwide listening sessions to inform a complete Farm Bill proposal, which became the foundation for improvements and reforms adopted in the 2008 Farm Bill. Previously, Johanns served as Governor of Nebraska, two terms as Mayor of Lincoln and on the Lincoln City Council. Johanns’ public service began on the Lancaster County Board in Nebraska in 1983. He graduated from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and holds a law degree from Creighton University in Omaha.
  
Daniel Johnson

Daniel Johnson

Chair of the Department of Packaging Science in the College of Engineering Technology, Rochester Institute of Technology
 Daniel Johnson is Chair of the Department of Packaging Science in the College of Engineering Technology at Rochester Institute of Technology. He leads a team of experts in food packaging, brand/channel marketing, distribution packaging, sustainable packaging and design for supply chain. The Department of Packaging Science has an industry driven research focus which includes the American Packaging Center for Packaging Innovation, the Center for Sustainable Packaging and an ISTA certified student operated packaging dynamics lab which provides packaging evaluations for more than 200 company-clients each year. Dan’s research interests include sustainable packaging, new product/package development, e-commerce, automation and design for supply chain.
  
A.G. Kawamura

A.G. Kawamura

Founding Co-Chair, Solutions from the Land (SfL) and Farm
Journal Foundation Farmer Ambassador
 A.G. Kawamura is 3rd generation fruit and vegetable grower and shipper from Orange County. He is the former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (2003-2010) and co-chair of Solutions from the Land, a non-profit organization that collaborates with farmers, ranchers, foresters and stakeholders to implement climate smart land management practices and strategies. He is dedicated to the goal of ending hunger in our lifetime, and has worked in innovative ways to provide fresh produce to local food banks through his non-profit, Solutions For Urban Agriculture. Through his company, Orange County Produce, LLC, he is engaged in building an exciting, interactive, 21st-century, 100-acre agricultural showcase at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, CA.
  
Isaya Kisekka

Isaya Kisekka

Associate Professor, University of California Davis
FFAR New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research
 Isaya 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.
  
Kranthi Mandadi

Kranthi Mandadi

Assistant Professor, Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center
FFAR New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research
 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).
  
Pam Marrone

Pam Marrone

Founder, Marrone Bio Innovations Inc.
 Pamela G. Marrone is the Founder of Marrone Bio Innovations Inc. and Board of Director at the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. Dr. Marrone founded AgraQuest in 1995 and served as its CEO, Chairman and President. She was founding president and business unit head for Entotech, Inc. She is an alumni-elected Trustee of Cornell University, Treasurer of the Association for Women in Science, on the Board of the Association of Applied IPM Ecologists Foundation and Founding Chair of the Biopesticide Industry Alliance. Dr. Marrone was a founding Board member of UC Davis CONNECT and DATA (Davis Area Technology Association). She was elected as a Fellow of AAAS (American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science).
  
Shefali V Mehta

Shefali V. Mehta

Founder, Open Rivers Consulting Associates
 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 and the Soil Health Partnership. 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 and The Gates Scholar Advisory Council.
  
Shane New

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, KS. 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.
  
LaKisha Odom

LaKisha Odom

Scientific Program Director, Foundation for Food and
Agriculture Research
 LaKisha Odom is a Scientific Program Director at the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research where she pursues her commitment to promoting the use of innovative science, collective impact and the development of public private partnerships. She is extremely committed to cultivating increased diversity in a new generation of food and agriculture scientists. At FFAR, Dr. Odom spearheads the Soil Health challenge area and manages projects in sustainable water management, plant efficiency, ecosystem services and developing the next generation of food and agricultural leaders. Dr. Odom received her BS in Environmental Science from Tuskegee University, her MA in Environmental Resource Policy from The George Washington University and her PhD in Integrative Biosciences from Tuskegee University.
  
Jimmy Panetta

Jimmy Panetta

U.S. Congressman, California 20th Congressional District
 Congressman Jimmy Panetta proudly serves California’s 20th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. His district, which includes Monterey and San Benito Counties, and parts of Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties, produces over 100 different kinds of specialty crops, earning it the title of the “Salad Bowl of the World.” First elected in 2016, he is serving his 2nd term in Congress. Congressman Panetta currently serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means, the House Committee on Budget and the House Committee on Agriculture. He is the co-founder and co-chair of the bipartisan House Agriculture Research Caucus.
  
Yiping Qi

Yiping Qi

Assistant Professor, University of Maryland
FFAR New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research
 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 a 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.
  
Thomas L. Rabaey

Tom Rabaey

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 BS in Agronomy Sciences from South Dakota State University and MS 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, MN where he still has an active role in management of the operation.
  
Amanda Raster

Amanda Raster

Program Manager, U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance
 Amanda Raster is a Program Manager at the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, where she focuses on engaging farmers, ranchers and supply chain partners around the science of sustainable food systems. In her previous role as Senior Manager of Food, Beverage, and Agriculture at The Sustainability Consortium, Amanda focused on aligning sustainability metrics across agricultural initiatives and improving data flow across food and ag supply chains. Prior to joining TSC, she facilitated a national effort to develop standards for sustainable agriculture and engaged the broader agricultural sector in making commitments to sustainability. Amanda conducted graduate studies in Agroecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and in Political Science and Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University.
  
Julie Reynes

Julie Reynes

Chief Operating Officer, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research
 Julie Reynes is FFAR’s Chief Operating Officer. Previously, she owned Julie’s Datery, a startup manufacturer and wholesaler of stuffed dates. Reynes has held a variety of executive positions in the health, science and technology nonprofit sectors, including Vice President of International Services at American Red Cross. She was the first President of Patient Access Network Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting cancer and chronic disease patients. Reynes also contributed to the success of numerous organizations in the Washington, D.C. area, through leadership as interim CEO at several nonprofits.
  
Dr. Sally Rockey

Sally Rockey

Executive Director, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research
 Sally Rockey became the inaugural Executive Director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research in September 2015. Prior to this role, she 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 PhD in Entomology from The Ohio State University and was recently named a fellow of the Entomological Society of America..
  
Shauna Sadowski

Shauna Sadowski

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.
  
Debbie Stabenow

Debbie Stabenow

U.S. Senator, Michigan
 U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow from Michigan is the Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry. Sen. Stabenow understands the critical connection between agriculture and addressing the climate crisis. She has been a leader in strengthening investments in sustainability, conservation and research to help producers address these critical issues. As Chair of the Committee, she wrote the 2014 Farm Bill, which provided new tools to protect our land and water and created the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. Most recently, she secured the most advanced climate-smart agriculture policies to date in the bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill.
  
Bob Stallman

Bob Stallman

Past President, American Farm Bureau Federation
 Bob Stallman is a rice and cattle producer from Columbus, Texas. He is the past president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, serving in that position for sixteen years. Previously, Stallman was president of the Texas Farm Bureau. In addition to Farm Bureau involvement, he served in various state and federal roles. He was appointed by President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama to serve as a member of the White House Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations. Stallman also led the creation of a foundation to raise an estimated $65 million to build a classical Chinese Garden at the National Arboretum to fulfill a 2004 agreement between the U.S. and China. He is now a current board member for the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research.
  
Bill Strassburg

Bill Strassburg

VP of Strategic Initiatives, Wegmans
 Bill Strassburg has a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Marketing from SUNY Albany and a Master of Business Administration in Finance and Marketing from University of Rochester. Bill joined Wegmans in 1977. Bill worked in marketing research, pricing, special promotions, marketing, real estate, operations, special projects, and strategic planning for Wegmans before he became the president of Chase-Pitkin Home and Garden, a division of Wegmans. Bill currently is VP of Strategic Initiatives for Wegmans. Bill has been a significant influence in New York’s Finger Lakes Region as a part of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Committee, Grow NY and RIT’s Center for Sustainable Packaging.
  
Fred Strathmeyer Jr.

Fred Strathmeyer, Jr.

Deputy Secretary for Plant Industry and Consumer Protection, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
 Fred R. Strathmeyer, Jr., Deputy Secretary for Plant Industry and Consumer Protection, was a co-owner of Strathmeyer Forests Inc. of York for over 35 years. He was appointed by former agricultural secretaries to serve on multiple committees and task forces. As the Deputy Secretary for Plant Industry and Consumer Protection, Deputy Strathmeyer oversees the department’s bureaus of Plant Industry, Ride and Measurement Standards, Dog Law Enforcement, the State Horse Racing Commission and the Hardwoods Development Council. He serves as the designated chair for the Governor’s Invasive Species Council, the Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Committee and the Amusement Ride Safety Board, highlighting the department’s commitment to a sustainable and safe food supply, along with good stewardship of the land and natural resources.
  
Cortney Van Oeffelen

Cortney Van Oeffelen

Van Oeffelen Farm Service
 Cortney Van Oeffelen of Van Oeffelen Farm Service represents a diverse family-employee run dairy and crop operation located in Conklin, MI. The dairy strives to be stewards of their people, cows and the environment by offering their team the ability to create a positive culture of accountability and ownership.
  
Tom Vilsack

Tom Vilsack

President & CEO, U.S. Dairy Export Council, 30th U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
 Tom Vilsack, as president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, provides strategic leadership and oversight of global promotional and research activities, regulatory affairs and trade policy initiatives. He joined USDEC in January 2017 after serving eight years as Secretary of Agriculture, where he worked to strengthen the American agricultural economy and build vibrant rural communities. Prior to his appointment, he served two terms as governor of Iowa, in the Iowa State Senate and as mayor of Mt. Pleasant, IA. Secretary Vilsack has been a proud member of the Iowa Bar Association since 1975 after graduating from Hamilton College and Albany Law School. He is a proud husband to his wife of 46 years, and father of two sons. He is fortunate to have two daughters-in-law and five grandkids.
  
Jason Wallace

Jason Wallace

Assistant Professor, University of Georgia
FFAR New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research
 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.