Mark Kies farms 3500 acres of corn, soybean, wheat, and cattle in Hillsdale County, Michigan. Mark farms alongside his son, Patrick and utilizes cover crops. Mark currently serves as the Hillsdale County president for the Michigan Corn Growers Association.

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Stephanie Smith M.S., C.C.A., from Michigan State University in Crop and Soil Science.  Held various agronomy and innovative roles within Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, 360 Yield Center and now currently as Golden Harvest District Manager in Michigan and Ohio.  Farming with her family in southern Hillsdale County, MI, each day is a mission to make the farmers more successful and profitable.  As a seed professional, each day my feet fit the floor, I am centered on increasing farmer’s profitability. I enjoy being able to teach and educate on the small tweaks on operations which can really move the needle to higher yields and increased profitability. Each day my goal is to do what is right for the farmer and further my passion.  A resident of Fort Wayne, IN and farms with her family near Waldron, MI.

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Manni’s research, extension, and teaching program at MSU focuses on current and emerging issues in cropping systems of Michigan with an overall goal to improve the profitability and sustainability of these systems. Variety selection and improved management strategies are explored in the context of modern farming practices, climatic patterns, and economic conditions. Current research is focused on impact of planting time as well as other management decisions such as variety selection, planting methods, seed placement accuracy, seeding rates, row spacing, seed treatments, and plant-pathogen interactions in corn, soybean, and wheat-based cropping systems. Additionally, Manni oversees the Michigan corn hybrid testing program with field trials across 12 locations in the state.

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Connor Sible is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois studying under advisement of Dr. Frederick E. Below. He received his BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Crop Sciences from the University of Illinois where his research has focused on categorizing biological products and in understanding where, how, and why they work to improve fertilizer use efficiency and increase crop yields. He also uses agronomic inputs and various methods of crop residue management to enhance nutrient release and improve soil quality. Latest research focuses are on soybean management and innovation in the 4R’s of fertility for improving grain yield.

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Heather Rindler grew up on a small dairy farm in Maria Stein, Ohio. After graduating high school, Heather went on to college to pursue a degree in agriculture. She graduated from Wilmington College with a bachelor’s degree in Agronomy with a minor in Chemistry in 2018. While in college, Heather had several internships that focused on small plot research for corn, soybeans, and wheat. Heather started working at Brookside Laboratories, Inc. as a soil technician in the Soil Health Lab. Currently, Heather is the Research Agronomist where she has the pleasure of interacting with the Amplify Consultants, method development, researching new technologies, and developing education content for our Amplify Consultants.

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Ryan Olson is the Market Access Manager at the U.S. Soybean Export Council. Funded by the U.S. soybean checkoff, USDA FAS, and industry, USSEC focuses on differentiating, elevating preference, and attaining market access for the use of U.S. Soy for human consumption, aquaculture, and livestock feed in 80+ countries internationally. At USSEC, Ryan works to level the playing field for U.S. soy products by anticipating and resolving market access challenges for the soy value chain. Previously, Ryan was the Director of Operations at the North American Export Grain Association where he worked with the grain trade on advocacy, trade policy and market access issues. He began his career in Washington, D.C. working on Capitol Hill and as a trade policy researcher for The Heritage Foundation, a think tank. He now lives in Durham, NC with his wife and daughter.

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Dave Mielnicki obtained achieved his certified general appraiser license in 2008. In April 2009 Dave joined the Southfield/Detroit office of CBRE where he went on to appraise a breadth of commercial real estate. Dave confirmed the MAI designation from the Appraisal Institute in 2014. In January 2021 Dave resigned from CBRE after an 11-year tenure to join Peoples Company as their Director of Appraisal. At Peoples Company, Dave’s focus is to grow/enhance the existing appraisal services business line across the entire United States. The appraisal services business line is centric on the appraisal of agricultural real estate. Property types appraised by the appraisal team include but are not limited to bare recreational and hunting land, income-producing high-quality tillable cropland, fruit/vegetable farms, wineries, agribusiness facilities such as dairy, hog, cattle, and poultry, as well as conservation easements. In July 2022, Dave confirmed the accredited rural appraiser (ARA) designation from the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.

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Rob is from Harlan, Indiana, where he works at G&K Concepts. Rob has been a part of the Amplify Network for over four years. Rob’s entire professional career has been in the crop consulting industry. Rob handles the majority of the communication needs for Brookside Labs’ Conservation Innovation Grant field trials. He excels at explaining the trial data in a comprehensible and actionable manner.

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Josh Linville is the Vice President of Fertilizer for StoneX Financial Inc. – FCM Division. Having grown up in Northwest Missouri on a family farm that raised row crops, tobacco and livestock, Josh brings a unique point of view to the fertilizer markets. With 20 years of experience in the fertilizer industry, Josh has operated in roles that have given him perspective on the market as a North American logistics specialist, a U.S.-based nitrogen producer, and General Manager of Trade in Melbourne Australia. Josh and his team, which spans around the world, have been hard at work educating the market on how to use fertilizer futures markets to not only offset price risk but also be able to sell products to farmers well before fertilizer producers release their physical sales programs.

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