2021

FORUM SPEAKERS

Honor the Harvest is convening leaders who are committed to action and will jointly develop solutions and mutually beneficial outcomes. Over the last two years we have crafted and launched a common vision, the Decade of Ag, and deployed action networks to design solutions to help the food and ag sector reach the vision. We’re at a timely moment where opportunity meets collective will to act on pressing challenges, deepen cross-sector relationships, and spark insight on what matters most. 
 
These #LeadersInAction have demonstrated their commitment to creating sustainable food systems and we are honored for them to join us at the 2021 virtual gathering to share their perspective of the top-line challenges facing our sector and supporting farmers, ranchers and value chain leaders as they co-design solutions.

Addy Battel

Addy is an active 4-H and FFA member who will be a freshman at Michigan State University in the fall.

Hope Bentley

Hope Bentley leads the Strategic Sourcing function responsible for the McDonald’s food menu across all 14,000 restaurants in the United States.

Fabian Bernal

Fabian Bernal M.S., PAS, joined DeLaval as the Dairy Advisory Sr. Manager for the North American Market Area.

Chip Bowling

Chip is the former Chairman of U.S. Farmers and Ranchers in Action Board of Directors. 

Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh

Dr. Jewel H. Bronaugh was appointed the 16th Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in 2018 by Governor Ralph Northam.

Paxton Dahmer

Paxton Dahmer serves as the 2020-21 FFA Central Region Vice President. 

Rob Dongoski

Rob serves as Partner, Global Agribusiness Industry Leader for Ernst & Young. 

Zippy Duvall

Zippy Duvall has served as president of the American Farm Bureau Federation since 2016.

Karianne Fallow

Karianne Fallow serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Dairy West, a marketing and promotion organization representing the dairy communities in Idaho and Utah.

Ben Fargher

Ben Fargher is the Managing Director of Sustainability for the Cargill Agricultural Supply Chain in North America.

Martin Frick

Martin Frick is the Deputy of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Food System Summit 2021.

Julie Fussner

Julie Fussner is the vice president of marketing for Culver Franchising System, LLC.

Senator Chuck Grassley

Chuck Grassley is the longest serving U.S. Senator in Iowa history. In 1980, Grassley was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he’s developed a reputation for bipartisanship and pragmatism. 

Matt Herman

Matt Herman serves as the Director of Environmental Science for the National Biodiesel Board.

Marilyn Hershey

Marilyn Hershey is the chair of Dairy Management Inc., and a director of the United Dairy Industry Association (UDIA) board.

Jay Hill

Jay Hill is a second generation farmer in southern New Mexico.

Miriam Hoffman

Miriam Hoffman serves as the 2020-21 FFA Eastern Region Vice President. 

Governor Larry Hogan

Governor Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr. was sworn in as the 62nd governor of the State of Maryland on January 21, 2015. 

Dr. Jane (Carter) Ingram

Dr. Jane (Carter) Ingram serves as the Executive Director of Pollination with over 15 years of experience at the forefront of integrating nature into sustainable development. 

David Iverson

David Iverson runs a fourth-generation family farm and grows soybeans and corn near Astoria, South Dakota.

Cassidy Johnston

Cassidy Johnston is an agriculture advocate who manages a 1000-head cow/calf outfit in Colorado.

Jon Leafstedt

Jon Leafstedt serves as Managing Partner for Kincannon & Reed. 

Anna Mathis

Anna serves as the 2020-21 National FFA Organization Secretary. 

Anne Meis

Anne is Chairwoman of U.S. Farmers and Ranchers in Action Board of Directors

J.T. Metzger

J.T. is a Senior Director in EY-Parthenon’s Food and Agribusiness sector team.

Gonzalo Muñoz

Gonzalo Muñoz was appointed by the Chilean presidency and the United Nations as High Level Climate Champion for the 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25) of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change.

Steve Reno

Steve Reno is President of the Global Seed Business Platform for Corteva Agriscience.

Dr. Sally Rockey

Dr. Sally Rockey is the inaugural Executive Director of FFAR.

Toni Stanger-McLaughlin

Toni Stanger-McLaughlin serves as the CEO of the Native American Agriculture Fund.

Rob Trice

Rob is founder of The Mixing Bowl, where he connects innovators in food, agriculture and information technology.

Marlowe Vaughan

Marlowe Vaughan is a North Carolina pig farmer and Executive Director of Feed the Dialogue NC.

Secretary Tom Vilsack

Thomas J. Vilsack was confirmed as the 32nd United States Secretary of Agriculture on Feb. 23, 2021 by the U.S. Senate.

Lisa Watson

Lisa Watson joined the Dairy Management Inc. as social responsibility officer of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy in July 2016.

Addy Battel

Addy is an active 4-H and FFA member who will be a freshman at Michigan State University in the fall. Her passions include agriculture, sustainability, food security and youth empowerment. She co-founded a nationally recognized nonprofit Meating the Need for Our Village and grew up raising livestock and poultry and producing maple syrup. 

 

hope bentley

Hope Bentley is the Sr. Director, Strategic Sourcing for McDonald’s U.S. Supply Chain. Hope leads the Strategic Sourcing function responsible for the McDonald’s food menu across all 14,000 restaurants in the United States. Her team’s accountability includes sustainable sourcing, supplier management, product costing and pricing.  

 

She joined McDonald’s in 2007 and has held roles in food sourcing, supply chain services and new product development. Prior to McDonald’s her twenty plus year career included roles in Operations, Supply Chain and Marketing Operations with Rockwell International, W. W. Grainger and ULTA.   She has achieved industry certifications for both APICS and CPM.  

 

Hope holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Operations Management and a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance. Additionally, she has earned Executive Scholar, Management recognition from Northwestern University.  

 

Hope resides in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband and college-aged daughter.

Fabian Bernal

Fabian Bernal M.S., PAS, joined DeLaval as the Dairy Advisory Sr. Manager for the North American Market Area. MANA and is now the Global Head of Sustainability, DeLaval Group. 

 

Fabian is a native of Bogota, Colombia and attended the University of La Salle. He graduated from WKU with a major in Agri-Business and Ag-Economics. He also graduated with a Masters degree in animal science (large animal nutrition) from WKU. His special interests are Animal welfare, Dairy Sustainability, Livestock Management, Dairy Nutrition, Physiology of Lactation, Animal Pathology, Cow Comfort, and Ag Business Management.  

 

Sustainability is a key part of DeLaval’s business strategy, and in this roll Fabian helps ensure that DeLaval is at the forefront and delivering upon our vision by supporting Group Management as well as working in close cooperation with all parts of the DeLaval organization.

Chip bowling

Chip Bowling is former Chairman of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers in Action Board of Directors as well as past Chairman of the NCGA. He and his family farm near the Chesapeake Bay, where Chip’s family has farmed since the early 1700s. The Bowling family raises grain crops. 

deputy secretary of agriculture
jewel bronaugh

Dr. Jewel H. Bronaugh was appointed the 16th Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in 2018 by Governor Ralph Northam. She previously served as the Virginia State Executive Director for the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe and then-U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, in July 2015. Prior to her FSA appointment, she served as Dean of the College of Agriculture at Virginia State University (VSU) with oversight of Extension, Research and Academic Programs. Previously she was the Associate Administrator for Extension Programs and a 4-H Extension Specialist.

 

In spring 2019, Dr. Bronaugh launched the Virginia Farmer Stress Task Force to raise awareness and coordinate resources to address farmer stress and mental health challenges in Virginia. In the fall of 2020, she helped establish the Virginia Food Access Investment Fund and Program, the first statewide program of its kind to address food access within historically marginalized communities.

 

Dr. Bronaugh received her Ph.D. in Career and Technical Education from Virginia Tech. She is passionate about the advancement of youth leadership in agriculture. Dr. Bronaugh is from Petersburg, Virginia. She is married to Cleavon, a retired United States Army Veteran.

Paxton Dahmer

Paxton is a third generation FFA member, so he says it was natural for him to join the organization. However, he stayed in the organization and fell in love with the connections he made throughout his time in FFA.

“As a freshman in high school, I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field,” Dahmer said. “After spending time traveling with the Nevada FFA Chapter, it became clear that agriculture was what I knew, and that I was meant to pursue a career in agriculture.”

Dahmer says that he hopes to reach as many members as possible this year. “With the current virtual environment, we have such a unique opportunity to expand our outreach and meet with additional members,” Dahmer said. “I hope to meet members where they’re comfortable so we can have meaningful conversations that allow them to embrace and develop their own potential for leadership.”

rob trice

Rob is founder of The Mixing Bowl, where he connects innovators in food, agriculture and information technology. He also founded Better Food Ventures, which makes seed stage investments to apply IT to the food and agriculture industries. 

Rob Dongoski

Rob leads EY’s Agribusiness sector globally and focuses on strategy, innovation and M&A in the Agribusiness and Food sectors. As EY’s global leader, he works directly with client executives to optimize their approach in global markets and serves as lead partner on accounts ranging from seed/chem, Agri-retail, grain processing, and meat processing.   

 

Rob’s experience ranges from growth strategy to operating model design to digital innovation across the Agri, food and beverage value chain.  He works with client executives in the design and implementation of the appropriate operating model for their business, including strategy/portfolio management, marketing/merchandising, digital agriculture, operational areas and back office efficiency.

President Zippy Duvall

Zippy Duvall has served as president of the American Farm Bureau Federation since 2016. He is a third-generation farmer  from Georgia. He owns a beef cow herd, raises broiler chickens  and grows his own hay, all while continuing to restore the land he inherited. 

 

Through his leadership as AFBF president, Duvall has helped to shape a new farm bill, defeat misguided regulations, shepherd new trade agreements and ensure farmers and ranchers are supported through natural disasters and the devastating effects of  the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

In 2017, Duvall was honored by the National 4-H Council as a  founding luminary, a group of influential 4-H alumni. Prior to being elected AFBF president, he was president of the Georgia Farm Bureau and served on the AFBF board of directors. Duvall and his late wife, Bonnie, were married for more than 40 years, raised four children and welcomed five grandchildren. They were honored with the national Young Farmer and Rancher Award in 1982.

Karianne Fallow

Karianne Fallow serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Dairy West, a marketing and promotion organization representing the dairy communities in Idaho and Utah.

 

Prior to joining the exciting world of dairy in 2013, Karianne worked as Director of Public Affairs and Business Development for Red Sky Public Relations. In that role, she led strategic communication planning and execution for clients of many sizes and grew the Public Affairs practice significantly.

 

Before joining Red Sky, Karianne, who is a native Idahoan, led Public Affairs and Government Relations efforts for Walmart Stores, Inc. in several Western states. During her time at Walmart, Karianne was responsible for legislative and regulatory issues, political development, and reputation management at the state and local levels. In addition, she managed community outreach, stakeholder engagement and foundation efforts in those states.

 

Karianne joined Wal-Mart in January 2006 after six years at Albertsons, where she managed Government Affairs and worked in Media Relations and Internal Communications. She was responsible for developing and managing state and federal government affairs programs for the company. 

 

Karianne has her bachelor’s degree from University of Oregon, where she studied Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology. She worked as an archaeologist prior to attending Boise State University, where she pursued her Master of Public Administration. During her master’s study, Karianne worked as a Public Information Officer and firefighter for the Boise National Forest and the Lower Snake River District of the Bureau of Land Management. She also interned at the Idaho Association of Counties during that time.

 

Mrs. Fallow currently serves on the Idaho Foodbank Board of Directors and is an active volunteer coach with the Eagle High School Mountain Bike Team. She has been recognized as one of Idaho’s “Women of the Year” twice, “Most Accomplished Under 40” and as a nominee by Governor Butch Otter to the National Business and Professional Women’s Leadership Summit. She has served in various leadership positions, including President of the University of Oregon Alumni Association in the Treasure Valley and Go Lead Idaho, an organization whose mission is to develop and promote women in leadership roles in the private, public and non-profit sectors.

 

Karianne lives in Eagle, Idaho with her husband, two children and a yellow lab. She enjoys fishing, hunting, recreating outdoors, traveling and eating cheese and ice cream. 

Ben Fargher

Ben Fargher is the Managing Director of Sustainability for the Cargill Agricultural Supply Chain in North America.  In this role he is responsible for a sustainability portfolio, including carbon and water projects, in this part of Cargill’s business. 

 

In November 2018, Ben moved to the U.S. from Australia, where he was the General Manager for customers, grain origination and storage and handling, in the Cargill Australia grain and oilseed business. 

 

Prior to Cargill, Ben worked as the General Manager of Operations for a publicly listed cotton and grain agribusiness.  He was also previously the Chief Executive Officer of the National Farmers’ Federation, the national farm lobby group in Australia. 

 

Ben, who grew up on a farm in Australia, has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from the University of Adelaide and a master’s degree in economics from the University of New England. 

MARTIN FRICK

Martin Frick is the Deputy of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Food System Summit 2021. He served before as the Senior Director of UN Climate Change where he was overseeing the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the secretariat’s Climate Action work.  As programme director for former Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Foundation, he developed the founding narrative of climate justice. He previously served as Director for Climate Change at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. He was the German representative for human rights and humanitarian affairs at the UN General Assembly and served as the European Union’s lead negotiator in the establishment of the UN Human Rights Council. As Ambassador to the international organizations based in Germany, he helped building up the UN’s sustainability hub in Bonn. He holds a PhD in Law from Regensburg University and was a guest lecturer at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. 

 

 

JULIE FUSSNER

Julie Fussner is vice president of marketing for Culver Franchising System, LLC (CFS), the franchisor for over 775 Culver’s restaurants in 25 states. In this capacity, Ms. Fussner oversees the brand strategy, creative execution, media optimization, menu strategy and company events. She joined the company in February 2017. 

 

Ms. Fussner has spent the vast majority of the past 20 years working in food consumer packaged goods. She most notably spent 10 driving growth for the iconic Oscar Mayer category of products while at Kraft Foods. 

Ms. Fussner grew up just outside of Chicago. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and her MBA from the University of Chicago. 

Outside of the office, Ms. Fussner enjoys raising her boys, riding her Peloton bike, yoga and reading. 

U.S. senator chuck grassley

Chuck Grassley was born September 17, 1933, on a farm in Butler County, Iowa, where he continues to farm today. Coming of age on the heels of the Great Depression instilled principles of conservationism and fiscal conservatism. He was also brought up in a household that valued hard work and civic engagement. His mother, Ruth, was one of the first four women in Iowa to cast a vote following the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.

 

Grassley studied political science at the University of Northern Iowa, and frequently returns to his alma mater to root for the Panthers at athletic events.

 

Grassley’s extraordinary work ethic and passion for civic engagement is hardwired for public service. He began growing corn and soybeans at an early age and is one of only two active farmers in the Senate today. While farming, he also worked on various factory floors over a span of two decades, and was a member of the International Association of Machinists. Grassley also spent several years as an adjunct professor teaching government courses. His diverse work experience and rural background guide his policymaking in Washington.

His seniority, experience and respect earned over years of service ensures Iowans have an influential seat at the policymaking table.

 

Grassley is the longest serving U.S. senator in Iowa’s history. Grassley was first elected to the Iowa state legislature in 1958 and served there until Iowans sent him to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974. In 1980, Grassley was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he’s developed a reputation for bipartisanship and pragmatism. This approach to legislating consistently earns Grassley high marks as one of the Senate’s most effective and collaborative lawmakers. In each post, serving Iowans has always been Grassley’s guiding light and primary objective.

 

Matt Herman

Matt Herman serves as the Director of Environmental Science for the National Biodiesel Board. Matt works closely with the Board’s advocacy team and membership to ensure that laws and regulations properly reflect the sustainable nature of the fuels the members produce. 

Marilyn Hershey

Marilyn Hershey is the chair of Dairy Management Inc., and a director of the United Dairy Industry Association (UDIA) board. UDIA and the National Dairy Board Fund Dairy Management Inc.™ (DMI), which manages the national dairy checkoff program. Marilyn and her husband Duane own and operate  Joy Farms, LLC, a Pennsylvania family farm nestled about an hour west of Philadelphia. 

 

Environmental stewardship is a priority for the Hersheys, and they have many on-farm practices that conserve water and soil, reducing their carbon footprint. In 2017, they installed a methane digester, taking manure from the cows and converting it to electricity. They are also able to incorporate food waste from the local community, increasing the amount of gas produced from the methane digester.  

Jay Hill

Jay Hill is a second generation farmer in southern New Mexico. Jay partners with his father, Jim Hill, on their 750-acre farm started by Jim in 1969. The majority of their operation is dedicated to vegetable and nut production. 

Jay grew up loving the farm life.  As he grew, the farm grew as well. Upon graduation New Mexico State University with a Bachelor of Science degree, Jay returned to Hill Farms in 2008 and took over the reins of the operation.    

Hill Farms produces more than 18 million pounds of fresh onions annually. In addition to onions, Jay grows world famous New Mexico Green Chile peppers, lettuce, wheat, oats, alfalfa, pinto beans, corn and pecans. 

In 2012, Jay started a small beef cattle herd, which has grown to 60 head of mother cows. 

Jay’s wife, Katie, has finalized plans and construction is underway on a farm-to-market store, which will sell Hill Farms produce, as well as produce from growers around the southwest.
 

Along with the farm and the future store, Jay and Katie are members and district directors of the New Mexico Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Team. Jay’s hobbies include photography, playing guitar, hunting, hiking and camping.

Miriam Hoffman

Growing up surrounded by FFA memorabilia from when her late father was involved in FFA, Miriam was encouraged by her older sister to join the organization.

During an FFA leadership camp between her sophomore and junior years, she had an incredible three days of personal growth and relationship building, allowing her to challenge the limit of her comfort zone.

Hoffman says that her aim for this year is to empower students and the organization to embrace complexity. “I hope to do this by embracing everything that we are as individuals and refusing to simplify ourselves to fit in a box,” Hoffman said. “I want to embrace the nuance in our efforts to continue moving forward as an organization and in the beautifully diverse industry of agriculture.”

governor larry hogan

Governor Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr. was sworn in as the 62nd governor of the State of Maryland on January 21, 2015. In 2018, he was overwhelmingly re-elected to a second four-year term, receiving the most votes of any Maryland gubernatorial candidate and becoming only the second Republican governor to be re-elected in the 242-year history of the state.

 

In his first inaugural address, Governor Hogan reminded citizens of Maryland’s history as a state of middle temperament and pledged to advance the best ideas, regardless of which side of the political aisle they come from. He is recognized nationally as a strong, independent leader who consistently delivers real results and achieves common sense, bipartisan solutions. 

 

After being elected by his fellow governors, Governor Hogan recently completed a successful term as chairman of the National Governors Association, and he consistently maintains one of the highest job approval ratings in the country.

Dr. Jane (Carter) Ingram

Carter has over 15 years of experience at the forefront of integrating nature into sustainable development across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the United States. Prior to joining Pollination, Carter was a Senior Manager in EY’s Climate Change and Sustainability Services practice where she advised food/agriculture, real estate, infrastructure and tourism businesses in designing and implementing ESG goals and strategies, programs and impact measurement, with a focus on natural capital. Carter’s previous experiences include launching and leading the Ecosystem Services program and the Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP) for the Wildlife Conservation Society, where she worked with governments, multi-lateral institutions, NGOs and businesses to conduct scientific analyses, develop new collaborations and implement initiatives to advance conservation and sustainable development globally.

 

Carter completed a Post-doctoral fellowship at the Earth Institute of Columbia University and has a M.Sc. and D.Phil. from the School of Geography and the Environment of Oxford University. She has co-edited two books and written over 60 articles, reports and publications on biodiversity and ecosystem services, climate change, poverty reduction and economic development. Carter is currently an Adjunct Associated Professor in the School for Foreign Service at Georgetown University and serves on the SNAPP Science Advisory Council, the Technical Advisory Council for the UNDP Equator Initiative, the International Working Group for the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures and has been co-leading a USG working group on Natural Capital Accounting in the United States.

David Iverson

David Iverson runs a fourth-generation family farm and grows soybeans and corn near Astoria, South Dakota. This is his ninth year on the United Soybean Board, and he also serves as Secretary and Sustainability Target Area Coordinator. He wants to improve the quality of his land and grow his farm moderately in size.  

 

David is a member of South Dakota Agriculture and Rural Leadership, South Dakota Corn Growers Association and South Dakota Soybean Association. He also serves on his school board and enjoys traveling, gardening and bike riding. 

 

David thinks the work of the soy checkoff is as important as ever when it comes to sustainability and climate change as we adapt to a changing world. 

Cassidy Johnston

Cassidy Johnston works beside her husband, Bert, who manages a 1000-head cow/calf outfit in the high country between Cañon City and Ouray, Colo. Raised in the metro-Denver area, Cassidy excels in her ability to speak both for and to the average urban consumer about beef cattle production and products. With her academic background in environmental studies, Cassidy has extensive knowledge about the positive role livestock grazing land management plays in environmental stewardship, especially as it relates to public land use.

Jon Leafstedt

Growing up on a farm in South Dakota, Jon was immersed in the details of the agriculture industry early in life. That upbringing was a motivator for Jon, who went on to earn his BS in Animal Science and Economics from South Dakota State University. He also holds an MBA from the University of Iowa. 

 

An analytical problem-solver, Jon draws on his comprehensive expertise in ag and biotechnology to help associations, cooperatives, and early-stage companies define their talent needs and recruit differential senior leadership. His passion for connecting professionals with the right roles and organizations is evident in each search he leads. In his tenure at Kincannon & Reed, Jon has led over 200 searches and often helps educate and guide colleagues in both industry-specific and search execution challenges. 

 

Prior to joining K&R in 2007, Jon led two different venture-backed biotech companies. He also held senior leadership positions in regulatory, governmental affairs and sales and marketing.

Anna Mathis

When Mathis was young, she followed around her dad, an FFA advisor, and dream about the day she could have her name on a jacket. She joined FFA as a freshman, and although she didn’t win the FFA Creed speaking competition at state, it changed her perspective. “The value of the creed and FFA, in my opinion, is in the purpose behind what we do, not the process. FFA gave me the clarity, focus and perspective I needed to be a thoughtful and informed consumer, agriculturist and human-being.”

Mathis says this year she plans to serve members, advisors, staff and supporters with kindness, integrity and grace. “I also want to seek to preserve the proud traditions and history of our organization and brainstorm creative ways to ensure we continue to honor our past to build a brighter future,” Mathis said. “I want to emphasize the importance of one—one member, one moment, one teacher, one donation, one opportunity. Our organization is made up of a lot of people and moving parts but choosing to focus on one person and moment at a time can also strengthen the core of who we are.”

anne meis

Anne is Chair of U.S. Farmers and Ranchers in Action’s Board of Directors and serves as a Nebraska Soybean Board Member. She and her family own and operate Meis Farms in Elgin, Neb., where they raise corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and beef cattle. 

J.T. Metzger

J.T. is a Senior Director in EY-Parthenon’s Food and Agribusiness sector team with over twenty years of experience across a blend of Big Four consulting, boutique consulting, and corporate roles, where he led initiatives related to corporate strategy, go-to-market, digital transformation, and sales and marketing optimization. His consulting experience includes a wide range of Fortune 500 food, seed, chemical, animal health, and ag equipment manufacturers. His most recent client services experience includes the vertical integration of food production and the maximization of adjacent business opportunities for large growers.  

Gonzalo Muñoz

Gonzalo Muñoz was appointed by the Chilean presidency and the United Nations as High Level Climate Champion for the 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25) of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, to mobilize climate action in non-state actors around the world. Previously, he co-founded and led TriCiclos, one of the most recognized Latin American companies in circular economy and recycling. Inspired by 10 years of running traditional food businesses where he witnessed the waste generated by the private sector, he set out to offer a transformative service that would help the environment while being financially sustainable. Using his entrepreneurial and business knowledge, he redirected his efforts towards the ideals and passion for sustainability and the environment. Today, TriCiclos operates in 13 countries in Latin America, where its mission is to foster new designs and business models for a world without waste. TriCiclos was also the first company to be certified as a B company outside North America. Gonzalo co-founded Sistema B and is a board member of BLab global. He is currently an advisor to the National Water, Green Hydrogen, Electromobility and Circular Economy Committees.

steve reno

Steve Reno is President of the Global Seed Business Platform for Corteva Agriscience. He leads the development and implementation of global seed product line and portfolio strategies, as well as the company’s food systems and consumer strategy. He is member of the company’s senior leadership team.

 

Steve held numerous sales, product management and leadership positions in Corteva’s heritage organizations. He began his career with DuPont Crop Protection in 1992 and later joined DuPont Pioneer, where he eventually was named Business Director for the company’s Western Business Unit. In that role, Steve led commercial business operations and was responsible for meeting seed and crop protection objectives and ensuring the team delivered the industry-leading products and services that farmers expect from Corteva. In 2013, he was promoted to Vice President and Regional Business Director for the United States and Canada before being named President of the Global Seed Business Platform in 2018.

 

Steve is a champion for promoting diversity and inclusion throughout the company, in hiscommunity and in agriculture. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Agriculture Future of America (AFA) organization – which is dedicated to developing outstanding college men and women for careers in agriculture and food – and represents Corteva on CropLife International’s Plant Biotech Strategy Council.

 

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Business from Iowa State University.

Dr. Sally Rockey

Dr. Sally Rockey is the inaugural Executive Director of FFAR having joined after a 30-year career in the Federal Government. FFAR supports innovative research through public-private partnerships. Prior to FFAR she oversaw extramural research programs at the National Institutes of Health and at USDA cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service. She has dedicated her career to bettering people’s lives through science and research.  

Toni Stanger-McLaughlin

Toni Stanger-McLaughlin, J.D., a citizen of the Colville Confederated Tribes, serves as the Chief Executive Office (CEO) of the Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF). Mrs. Stanger-McLaughlin has compassionately worked in agriculture law and policy for many years. Before being named the CEO of NAAF, she served as the first NAAF Director of Programs where she assisted the development and delivery of millions of dollars of NAAF philanthropic investment in Tribal food systems. 

 

Mrs. Stanger-McLaughlin started her agricultural career working in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) headquarters in Washington D.C., within the Office of Civil Rights. She was engaged in the settlement of civil rights and access to credit claims on behalf of American Indian farmers and ranchers in the Keepseagle national class action litigation; the settlement of those claims ultimately led to the creation of NAAF. Mrs. Stanger-McLaughlin thereafter moved from the Office of Civil Rights to the USDA Office of Tribal Relations in the Office of the Secretary. 

 

While in the Office of Tribal Relations, Toni working across multiple USDA agencies and offices as well as other federal departments to advance Tribal needs in agriculture, natural resources, land use and infrastructure development. A key highlight in her time at USDA included leadership in a comprehensive analysis of the policies related to sacred sites for the U.S. Forest Service. Upon leaving USDA, Toni established a successful consulting business working directly with Tribes for five years. 

 

Prior to joining NAAF, Toni served as the Director of Tribal Relations for the University of Arkansas School of Law Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative (IFAI). At IFAI, Toni worked with individual producers and Tribal governments advancing their needs in agriculture and in self-governance in the area of food law and policy.  Her work also included providing training directly to Tribal producers and food businesses. 

 

She attended the University of North Dakota School of Law and received her JD, focusing on federal Indian law. In addition, Mrs. Stanger-McLaughlin holds certificates in mediation, Trial law and business, as well as executive leadership. In her spare time, Toni enjoys being outdoors with her husband and three children, as well as beading and sewing powwow regalia for her immediate and extended family. 

Marlowe Ivey Vaughan

Marlowe Vaughan is a NC pig farmer and Executive Director of the Feed the Dialogue NC with a true passion for educating consumers about agriculture and where their food comes from. Her roles include communications, content development and promoting the dialogue between consumers and farmers. In addition to her role with Feed the Dialogue, Marlowe is actively involved in the pork industry through the finishing farm she owns with her brother. She is currently serving on the National Pork Board Marketing Committee and Outreach committee for the NC Pork Council. She has participated in the Pork Leadership Institute and served as a delegate at the National Pork Forum. She also sits on the NC CALS Research Foundation Board and is a US Farmers and Ranchers Ambassador.

Her enthusiasm, passion and knowledge of the pork industry earned her the Emerging Leader Award, previously known as the Pork All-American, an award also earned by her father, Bob Ivey in 1982. Marlowe was named 2019 Agriculture Advocate of the Year by the Wayne County, NC Chamber of Commerce.

secretary of agriculture TOM VILSACK

Thomas J. Vilsack was confirmed as the 32nd United States Secretary of Agriculture on Feb. 23, 2021 by the U.S. Senate.

 

He was nominated by President Joe Biden to return to a role where he served for eight years under President Barack Obama.

 

As leader of the U.S. Department of Agriculture as the 30th Secretary of Agriculture between 2009-2017, Vilsack worked hard to strengthen the American agricultural economy, build vibrant rural communities and create new markets for innovation in rural America. He fought to put Americans back to work by investing in rural infrastructure, renewable energy and large-scale conservation partnerships. Under his leadership, USDA supported America’s farmers, ranchers and growers who drove the rural economy forward, set records for U.S. agricultural exports, provided food assistance to millions of Americans, and helped provide a safe, sufficient and nutritious food supply for the American people. USDA introduced healthier food choices in school meals to benefit 50 million children during Vilsack’s tenure and expanded free and reduced-price lunches for millions of kids.

 

Vilsack was the longest-serving member of President Obama’s original Cabinet. Prior to his appointment, he served two terms as the Governor of Iowa, served in the Iowa State Senate and as the mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. He received his bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College and his law degree from Albany Law School in New York.

 

Prior to returning to USDA, he served as president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) from 2017 until February 2021. There, he provided strategic leadership and oversight of USDEC’s global promotional and research activities, regulatory affairs and trade policy initiatives. In addition to his post at USDEC, he also served as a Strategic Advisor to Colorado State University’s food and water initiatives.

 

A native of Pittsburgh, Penn., Vilsack was born into an orphanage and adopted in 1951. After graduating from law school, Vilsack moved to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, his wife Christie’s hometown, where he practiced law. The Vilsacks have two adult sons and two daughters-in-law—Doug, married to Janet; and Jess, married to Kate. They have five grandchildren.

Lisa Watson

After decades of working for and with dairy in a variety of ways, Lisa Watson joined the Dairy Management Inc. as social responsibility officer of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy in July 2016. In that capacity, she serves as an ambassador of the Innovation Center and provides counsel to its members to assist in the management of cross-cutting reputational issues. She is executive staff lead of the U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment, launched in 2018 to demonstrate U.S. dairy’s positive work and impact from farm to table. She also leads the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Alliance®.

 

Throughout her career, Lisa has brought together stakeholders to address challenging food-related topics, including biotechnology, livestock antibiotics, and food ingredients.  She has organized expert networks and programs to bridge the gap between professional and public understanding of food, nutrition, and health issues. With a Master of Science degree in human nutrition from Clemson University, she is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and an associate member of the American Society for Nutrition.  Lisa lives in Washington, DC with two daughters and two brown dogs.