Summit Speakers

Featured 2021 Farm Futures Summit Speakers Include ...


Max Armstrong
Director of broadcasting, Farm Progress

For more than 40 years, Max Armstrong’s broadcasts have been viewed and heard by millions of farmers, ranchers and consumers. He is host of TV’s “This Week in AgriBusiness” and “Farm Progress America,” and has a radio show, “Midwest Digest.” For more than four decades, he was heard weekly on Chicago radio powerhouse WGN. A past president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting, Armstrong grew up on a southern Indiana grain and livestock farm, and earned a degree from Purdue University.


Ashley Arrington
Director of real estate, AgriAuthority

Ashley Arrington grew up in Georgia and earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and an MBA from Augusta University. She has worked in the banking industry her entire career and concentrates exclusively on agricultural banking and analysis. She founded AgriAuthority, a consulting company focused on business valuation, asset acquisition and growth. Currently, she is serving as Ag Resource Management’s director of real estate. She compiles a weekly newsletter and shares expertise at countless conferences and seminars, as well as in her Farm Futures blog, NextGen Business Insights.


Bill Biedermann
Hedging strategist, AgMarket.net

Bill Biedermann is a well-known speaker, presenter and commodities adviser. In addition to trading commodities for 40 years, he has testified before Congress and Commodity Futures Trading Commission hearings, served the U.S. Agency for International Development, and co-founded one of the largest IB brokerage and ag economic research firms in the U.S. He graduated from Illinois State University with majors in agricultural production, ag economics and ag education, and farmed from 1973 to 1988. Read his market insights at his Farm Futures blog, AgMarketingIQ.


Davon Cook
Family business consultant, K-Coe Isom

Davon Cook helps farm families navigate organizational growth and transitions in leadership and ownership. She has been specializing in this area since 2012, partnering with Lance Woodbury at Ag Progress and K-Coe Isom. She facilitates peer groups covering a range of strategic and technical topics, so she understands the issues producers are managing every day. Her perspective is shaped by spending 10 years working in her own family’s cotton business near Lubbock, Texas, and a career spanning the ag value chain from McKinsey to ConAgra to consulting with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation throughout Africa. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University and the University of Illinois, completing a master’s and MBA in agricultural economics. She writes the Farm Futures blog, Family Farm Success.


Curt Covington
Senior director of institutional lending, AgAmerica Lending

A highly respected farm financial instructor, Curt Covington began his career in ag finance in 1979 as an agricultural banker. Before AgAmerica, he was executive vice president and chief credit officer at FarmerMac. Before that, was senior vice president at Bank of the West for nearly 12 years. He also was a professor at California State University-Fresno’s School of Agricultural Economics. Covington owns and operates The Agricultural Lending Institute in Fresno. He earned a bachelor’s in finance at the University of Southern California and an MBA in agribusiness at Santa Clara University.


Gregg Doud
Vice president of Global Situational Awareness and chief economist, Aimpoint Research

Before joining Aimpoint Research, Gregg Doud served in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative as chief agricultural negotiator with the rank of U.S. ambassador. He was one of the primary architects of the U.S.-China Phase 1 trade agreement. He previously served as president of the Commodity Markets Council and was a senior staff member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, where he helped craft the Senate’s 2012 farm bill, working on international trade, food aid, livestock and oversight of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Doud served as chief economist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association for eight years and is a former market analyst for the U.S. Wheat Associates. Raised on a dryland wheat, grain sorghum, soybean, swine and cow-calf operation near Mankato, Kan. He received a bachelor’s in agriculture with an emphasis in animal science, as well as a master’s in agricultural economics from Kansas State University. He resides with his family on their horse farm in Lothian, Md.


Mike Downey
Farm Transition Specialist and associate, Farm Financial Strategies

Mike Downey co-owns Iowa-based Next Gen Ag Advocates (nextgenag.us) and is an associate at Farm Financial Strategies (farmestate.com). He graduated from the University of Illinois in 2000, with a major in ag business and finance. He has since been consulting with farmers and landowners on their estate planning, farm transition and entity formation, leasing strategies, and farm finances. His passion for preserving the family farm stems from his own farm roots, growing up on a grain and livestock farm near Roseville, Ill. Read his Farm Futures blog, More Than Dirt, for great tips on all of these topics and anything related to farmland. 


Jacqui Fatka
Policy editor, Farm Futures

Jacqui Fatka grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in southwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, with a minor in agriculture education, in 2003. She’s been writing for agricultural audiences ever since. In college, she interned with Wallaces Farmer and cultivated her love of ag policy during an internship with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, working in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Capitol Hill press office. Fatka worked as the e-content editor for Farm Progress companies’ state and regional publications, and became Farm Futures’ policy editor in 2004. A few years later, she began covering grain and biofuels markets for the weekly newspaper Feedstuffs. Fatka is the interim executive secretary-treasurer for the North American Agricultural Journalists. She lives on a small acreage in central Ohio with her husband and three children. Read her ag policy blog, D.C. Dialogue, each week online at FarmFutures.com. 


Dave Fogel
Vice president, Advanced Trading Inc.

Dave Fogel is a vice president with Advance Trading Inc. and has been with the organization since 1984. He has served on the company’s board of directors since 1986, and mentors close to 25 Advanced Trading branch brokers, with clientele focused on corn, soybeans and wheat production, as well as livestock and end-user accounts. Fogel helped build the company’s advanced risk management philosophy and has been involved in the ag industry for the past 29 years. He is a 1981 graduate of Illinois State University, with a degree in business administration.  


Darren Frye
Water Street Solutions CEO
Session: Open-book management

As president, CEO and founder of Water Street Solutions, Darren guides the strategic direction of the company. He was raised on an innovative Central Illinois farm that stretched from poultry to orchards to helicopter crop dusting businesses. Darren has traded commodities since 1982 and is a licensed crop insurance agent and licensed broker. He started his first business in 1987 specializing in fertilizer distribution and crop consulting. He began Water Street Solutions in 1994, working to provide integrated solutions to help farmers create success. He writes the popular Farm Futures blog, Finance First, to help farmers build their business skills and to help them build their agricultural legacy.


Hugh MacGillivray
Chief Commercial Officer, Anuvia Plant Nutrients

As president, CEO and founder of Water Street Solutions, Darren guides the strategic direction of the company. He was raised on an innovative Central Illinois farm that stretched from poultry to orchards to helicopter crop dusting businesses. Darren has traded commodities since 1982 and is a licensed crop insurance agent and licensed broker. He started his first business in 1987 specializing in fertilizer distribution and crop consulting. He began Water Street Solutions in 1994, working to provide integrated solutions to help farmers create success. He writes the popular Farm Futures blog, Finance First, to help farmers build their business skills and to help them build their agricultural legacy.


Roger McEowen 
Ag law professor, Washburn University

Roger is the Professor of Agricultural Law and Taxation at Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas. Through 2015 he was the Leonard Dolezal Professor in Agricultural Law at Iowa State University. Before joining Iowa State in 2004 he was an associate professor of agricultural law and extension specialist at Kansas State. His Agricultural Law and Taxation Blog, part of the Law Professor Blogs Network, is the most widely read agricultural law and taxation blog online. Prof. McEowen conducts approximately 80-100 seminars annually across the United States and conducts radio programs aired twice monthly online and across the Midwest. In addition, his "Ag Law and Tax Report" can be heard across the country each weekday on many farm radio stations.  He also can be seen weekly on RFD-TV where he discusses various agricultural law and tax topics. He received a B.S. with distinction from Purdue University in Management in 1986, an M.S. in Agricultural Economics from Iowa State University in 1990, and a J.D. from the Drake University School of Law in 1991.


John McNutt 
MBA, lead consultant, LattaHarris

John specializes in family business management, transition, entity planning and management information systems for farm families. He holds degrees from Iowa State University in Agricultural Business and Economics and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Iowa.  He was the first recipient of the Brian Davidson Fellowship from Harvard Business School; he holds a Certificate from the Family Firm Institute and is a graduate of TEPAP. John is a past President of the National Pork Producer Council.


Brian Splitt
Technical Analyst with AgMarket.Net

Brian began his career in the financial services industry with expertise in insurance products, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and annuities. Brian studied technical analysis and migrated to commodities where he has built a successful career. As a technical analyst with AgMarket.Net, he utilizes trends to predict future price moves in conjunction with agricultural balance sheet assessments. Brian is a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom as well as a member of a Gold Star Family.


Greg Soulje
Meteorologist, This Week in Agribusiness

Greg is a veteran meteorologist with over 30 years of experience in the analysis, consultation, and dissemination of weather information. He is an expert in agricultural weather forecasting for the entire United States and other key crop production areas.  Greg is a trusted name in the agricultural community for dependable short term and long-range weather forecasts.  His reliable farm forecasts are seen in millions of homes every week on “This Week in AgriBusiness” via the popular satellite and cable rural lifestyle channel RFD-TV. Greg is the recipient of American Meteorological Society’s Seal of Approval for outstanding radio weather broadcasts.  He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a degree in Meteorology. 


Dick Wittman
Farm Management Consultant and Idaho Rancher

Dick is board chair and former manager of a 20,000-acre dry land crop, range cattle and timber operation in northern Idaho. Management of the farm has transitioned to a partnership of four other family partners. He also provides private consulting to farm, ranch, and agricultural support businesses. After receiving a degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Idaho and an MBA from the University of Utah, Wittman worked for the Farm Credit System from 1972-1980. His banking career concluded with the Farm Credit Administration in Washing¬ton, D. C., where he supervised operations in several Eastern, Midwest, and Southern U.S. districts. In 1980 he joined the family farm in Idaho and established a private consulting practice. Wittman has worked with numerous farm clients to conduct seminars, facilitate strategic planning, teach college classes, instruct at The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers, and develop training modules on a variety of topics throughout the U. S., Canada, and Australia. In 2004 he published Building Effective Farm Management Systems, a guidebook designed to help commercial-size family farm businesses put in place professional governance and transition processes.