Your Farm. Your Future.


2018 Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Chris Barron, Ag View Solutions

Chris has developed top-notch agricultural decision-making techniques by working with some of the best producers in the United States and Canada. From bridging the generational gap to helping individual farms become more profitable, Chris helps farmers size their family enterprise to be more competitive in marketing, purchasing and efficiencies of scale. Chris lives in Rowley, Iowa.

Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh, Kansas State University

Barry is a prominent professor of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University. He is the author of 100 plus publications including an agricultural policy textbook. He applies his vast knowledge and experience in agriculture, economics and politics to create a straightforward and entertaining blend to these topics. He has brought his sage advice on agriculture policy to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and he will stretch your understanding of current and future farm economics.

Mark Gold, Top Third Ag Marketing

Mark is the President and CEO of Top Third Ag Marketing and can be heard daily on Nebraska radio KRVN, and Kansas radio KFRM. He is a regular guest analyst on U.S. Farm Report, Market To Market, and Ag Day TV. Mark’s twice daily audio grain marketing comments are featured on AgWeb. He has been a floor trader at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, International Monetary Market, Sydney Futures Exchange and the New Orleans Commodity Exchange where he served as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Breakout Session Speakers

Dr. Jeff Andresen, Michigan State University

Jeff is a professor of meteorology/climatology and Extension Specialist for Michigan State University while also serving as the state climatologist. He was involved in international crop/weather impact assessments and production estimations with the National Weather Service and with the USDA's World Agricultural Outlook Board in Washington, D.C. He is the director of Michigan’s Enviro-weather information system which supports agricultural pest and production management related decision-making across the state. 

Dr. Brian Arnall, Oklahoma State University

Brian’s extension, teaching and research efforts are focused on precision technologies and nutrient management in all of Oklahoma’s cropping systems with an emphasis on site specific techniques. He works closely with extension educators and industry personnel to improve nutrient management practices that will lead to increased profitability. Brian has been involved in sensor-based technologies, remote sensing and variable rate application for more than ten years. He currently has several ongoing studies focused on precision technologies including the development of methods to use sensor-based technologies, ground truthing the use of sensors and VRT technologies in wheat, corn and sorghum production. 

Dr. Bruno Basso, Michigan State University

Bruno is a professor in the Department of Geological Sciences and W.K. Kellogg Biological Station at Michigan State University. He is an internationally recognized agroecosystem modeler with primary research interests in water, carbon, nitrogen cycling and process-based modeling of agricultural systems for sustainable intensification and long-term sustainability. His research integrates crop modeling with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to understand spatial and temporal variability of crop yield. He is the lead author of SALUS, an agroecosystem model, and coordinates the soil modeling team of the international Agricultural Modeling Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP).

Dr. Tim Boring, Michigan Agri-Business Association

Tim is vice president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association (MABA). MABA represents more than 400 agri-business members, providing leadership on the direction of agriculture in the state and nationally. Tim works primarily on agronomic issues, including crop management, new market potentials, crop quality standards and water quality challenges. Tim operates his family’s sixth-generation farm in Stockbridge, and has received his MS and PhD in crop and soil sciences from Michigan State University. 

Scott Chernich, Foster Swift, Collins & Smith PC

Scott’s practice areas include all types of bankruptcy cases, debtor and creditor rights and commercial litigation. In 2003, Scott was appointed as a Chapter 7 Panel Trustee by the U.S. Justice Department. While he spends a large portion of his time representing creditors in prosecuting claims, he also has significant experience as a debtor's lawyer and as a trustee. As a result, he offers clients, including many agri-businesses, a perspective that includes familiarity with common strategies for all sides and the ability to spot and resolve issues early in the process.

Dr. Barb Dartt, The Family Business Consulting Group

Barb assists business people with planning and team development through her expertise in business succession, family governance, strategy development and financial management unique to family-owned businesses. She previously worked at Lookout Ridge Consulting and Salisbury Management Services. Barb has her masters in Agricultural Economics and doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Michigan State University. She has also worked with MSU Extension as both a farm management specialist and dairy educator and has practiced veterinary medicine.

Dr. Chris Difonzo, Michigan State University

Chris completed an MS and PhD in Entomology at the University of Minnesota, followed by a fellowship at the Volcani Center in Israel. She was hired at MSU in 1996 as the field crops entomologist with extension and research responsibilities in corn, soybeans, small grains, dry beans, sugar beets, and other field crops. Other specific interests include aphid biology, Bt crops, resistance management and IPM. Her teaching responsibilities include the general entomology course for students in the MSU College of Agriculture, as well as a course about pesticides.

Zell Eisenmann, EGA, Inc

Zell and his brother Keith raise 1,300 acres of corn and soybeans in Blissfield, Michigan. They have worked with strip tillage for 20 years and been placing fertilizer down in the spring for ten years. Corn is all planted with spring tillage with anhydrous, MAP and potash utilized in the strips. They use variable rate technology and all soybeans are no-tilled. 

Dr. Ehsan Ghane, Michigan State University

Ehsan received his PhD from Ohio State University in 2014 where he worked on controlled drainage and water quality. He then worked on his postdoc at the University of Minnesota on nutrient runoff in drainage water and urban storm water runoff as well as woodchip bioreactors. He is currently working on innovative practices to reduce nutrient runoff to surface water and conserve water for crop use. Some of these practices are drainage water management, controlled drainage, saturated buffers, drainage water recycling and denitrification beds.

Dr. Nick Goeser, National Corn Growers Association

Nick directs the Soil Health Partnership for the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). He directs the on-farm demonstration network across multiple Corn Belt states. The goal is to connect soil health with on-farm management, crop productivity, profitability and environmental responses through data collection, analysis and communications. Nick’s research background includes crop production, nutrient cycling and environmental quality. Prior to his work at NCGA he worked for Monsanto focusing on germplasm and technology advancement and he holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin. Nick grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin.

Mike Hannewald, Beck’s Hybrids

Mike is a Field Agronomist and Precision Farming Field Advisor with Beck’s Hybrids. He works with farmers in Ohio and Michigan, advising them on best agronomic practices as well as helping them to effectively collect and utilize precision ag data. He holds a degree in Agronomy from Ohio State University and resides in Waterville, Ohio where he is actively involved in his family’s grain farm. 

Bill Hunt, Hunt Farms, Inc

Bill owns and operates Hunt Farms, Inc. an 11,000-acre cash crop farm raising corn, wheat and soybeans in Davison, Michigan. Bill fuels his passion for agriculture by serving on numerous ag-related boards and committees. He has devoted much of his time to educate himself and other producers on various issues impacting agriculture today. He uses trial plots and research data to assist in making nutrient management decisions that will maximize yields and increase profits. After a fire in 2017 destroyed a machinery shed full of tools and equipment, he used surveillance videos to help determine the cause and work through the insurance process. 

Jim and Jake Isley, Sunrise Farms, Inc.

Jim and Jake represent the 5th and 6th generations on their family farm in Palmyra, Michigan.  They have produced corn and soybeans on 1,050 acres in a strip-till/no-till combination for three years.  Strip-till provides excellent moisture retention and erosion control in their sandy loam soils. They deep band a dry fertilizer blend in the fall with their strip-till unit, making all nutrient applications subsurface, and utilize variable rate seeding and fertility on all their acres.

Mike Larges, Rummel Agency, Retired

Mike started his insurance career in 1971 after returning from duty in the United States Navy. He focused on farm related insurance programs until retiring in 2012. Mike currently teaches classes related to agriculture insurance products. He served on the Michigan Association of Insurance Agents in the legislative arena for many years and also as president. He is a past Michigan Agent of the Year, Chairperson of the Year and received the Capitol Award for his work in the legislative arena. He was also given a lifetime achievement award for his leadership and service to the insurance industry and in 2013 he was inducted into the Michigan Insurance Hall of Fame. He resides in Frankenmuth, Michigan.

Dr. Mark Loux, Ohio State University

Mark is the Weed Management professor at Ohio State University. He works to enable producers to make the most effective use of herbicides, minimize herbicide resistance and reduce herbicide use through manipulation of other agronomic factors. Current research projects include characterization and management of weed populations resistant to glyphosate and ALS-inhibiting herbicides, management of dandelion and winter annual weeds, and the biology and management of horseweed.  He has degrees from the University of Delaware and the University of Illinois.

Cliff Meeuwsen, Zeeland Farm Services

Cliff has been president of Zeeland Farm Services since he and his brothers bought the business from their father in 1992.  In the mid-’90s, as ZFS prepared to open Michigan’s first soybean plant, Cliff immersed himself in a program at Texas A&M University to learn the ins and outs of soy processing. He attended Davenport College, taking courses in business and finance, and has taken classes at Michigan State University and completed several leadership training seminars and management courses.  The ZFS soy processing plant in Zeeland helped reshape the farming industry in Michigan, and its affiliate, ZFS Ithaca, is scheduled to begin processing soybeans in 2019. 

Shane Meyer, Countryside Land Management LLC

Shane runs his family's trucking business in Deshler, Ohio and Countryside Land Management LLC that provides custom strip-till in NW Ohio and Southern MI. Along with his father, he raises a continuous rotation of no-till corn and soybeans on 550 acres. He does some spring but mostly fall strip tillage and has the ability to apply variable rate fertilizer (P and K). He has been doing this on his own farm since 2007 and has acquired a customer base of 1,500+ acres of custom work with an eight row Orthman unit and Ag Leader precision technology. The demand for strip-till continues to grow and he has expanded his operation to service the growing demand.

Brent Minett, Beck’s Hybrids

Brent was raised in central Indiana and graduated from the University of Kentucky. He is currently a Field Agronomist-CCA with Beck’s Hybrids covering northern Indiana and has been advising growers on best agronomic management practices for 20 plus years. 

Dr. Eric Olson, Michigan State University

Eric is the winter wheat breeder at Michigan State University. He is focused on the development of high yielding soft winter wheat cultivars with improved quality and disease resistance traits that meet the needs of wheat producers and the Michigan cereal, milling and baking industries.  Eric also carries out fundamental genetic research on plant breeding methods, disease resistance and quality traits. He has degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, North Carolina State University and Kansas State University.

Suzanne Pish, Michigan State University Extension Branch County

Suzanne has been an Extension Educator specializing in social emotional health for 11 years. She has a master’s degree in counseling and grew up on a family dairy farm in southwest Michigan and continues to help with the family farm today. She and her family farm in Branch County.

Gary Randall, Walther Farms

Gary was the Chief Financial Officer at Walther Farms from 2002-2015. He is now an independent consultant that specializes in senior level business and operations management. He has a degree from Eastern Michigan University.

Brent Robinson, Paramount Enterprises Dairy

Brent is a first generation farmer in Caro, Michigan. He has built up to milking 2,500 cows and raising 1,800 acres of corn, wheat, soybeans and alfalfa. He also grows organic black beans and organic corn. A 2007 fire destroyed his milking parlor and put him out of production for 5 months. Brent will speak about dealing with major catastrophes, being prepared and working through the paper trail.

Angie Setzer, Citizens LLC

Angie has been working in the grain industry for more than 12 years. After beginning her career as a cash grain broker, she transitioned into a position as Vice President of Grain for Citizens LLC in Charlotte, Michigan. At Citizens she manages five elevator locations as well as a state of the art on-farm program bringing the company's overall yearly handling to over 12 million bushels. In addition to her “Cash is King” column with Pro Farmer, she has been seen on AgDay, U.S. Farm Report, Market to Market and the Weather Channel, as well as regular appearances on Market Rally Radio, Benzinga’s Pre-Market Prep show, The Bubba Show with Todd Horwitz and Agritalk. 

Wayne Sevilla, GreenStone Farm Credit Services

Wayne is a senior financial services officer based in the Bay City branch. He works in a six-county area and specializes in finding custom solutions for his customers to meet the fluctuating ag markets, particularly for cash crop farmers. In his nine years at GreenStone, Wayne has been recognized several times as a top performer among his peers for delivering exceptional service to his customers. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Central Michigan University. Wayne also serves on the agriculture board of the Bay County Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Jocelyn Smith, University of Guelph

Jocelyn manages the field crop entomology research program at the Ridgetown Campus of the University of Guelph. Her current research activities include collaboration with commodity organizations; the seed and pesticide industries; public researchers; and Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs specialists to develop pest management strategies for key pests in corn, soybeans, and wheat. Jocelyn leads research into resistance management stewardship for insect control with transgenic corn, conducting susceptibility bioassays to Bt toxins with key corn pests such as western corn rootworm, European corn borer and western bean cutworm.

Thomas Urban, GreenStone Farm Credit Services

Tom is a Vice President of Credit for GreenStone Farm Credit Services, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  He leads the credit team in GreenStone’s west and southwest regions, working with GreenStone’s financial services officers and credit analysts to obtain a sustainable competitive advantage for customers. He graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Food Systems Management. He began his career as a loan officer for what was then the PCA of Bay City, and has spent his entire career within the various farm credit organizations here in Michigan.

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2018 Great Lakes Crop Summit - January 31 - February 1, 2018

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