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, Ag Resource Management 

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.


Geoff Cooper
President and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association

Since October 2018 Geoff has served as President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the leading trade association for America’s ethanol industry. Previously he served as RFA Executive Vice President, where in addition to overseeing market analysis and policy research, he provided regulatory support and strategic planning for the association and its members. He has served as an appointed member of the California Air Resources Board’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program Advisory Panel, as well as the Oregon Clean Fuels Program Rulemaking Advisory Committee. He received the ethanol industry’s prestigious “High Octane Award” in 2017 and has twice been selected as one of “Top 100 People in the Bioeconomy” by the readers of Biofuels Digest. Previously Geoff served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, specializing in bulk petroleum supply and logistics. A Wyoming native, Geoff graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. He earned his master’s degree at Webster University in St. Louis.


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, Advance 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 Advance 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

Hugh is a sales, marketing, and business development professional with more than 30 years’ ag experience. Hugh has worked with multi-national corporations and startups in Canada, Germany and the U.S. Prior to joining Anuvia, he was the head of Marketing and Business Development for Arysta LifeScience North America and head of Arysta LifeScience Canada. Hugh has also held key roles with Cargill Hybrids Seeds, Rooster.com, and Hoechst/AgrEvo/Aventis. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from University of Manitoba and completed the Executive Marketing Management Program at Western University.


Jay McEntire 
CEO, Arva Intelligence

Jay is CEO of Arva Intelligence Corp., a third-wave machine learning company focused on sustainability and optimization of global row crops. Arva provides growers and manufacturers intelligent, data-driven recommendations that match seed genetics to environment, reduce over-fertilization and direct where biological amendments are value added. In addition Jay serves as Manager of Glennoe Farmland Partners, LLC, based in Humphreys, Ark., and Chairman of Utah Gas Corp. Jay has a Bachelor of science in business administration (BSBA) in Finance from University of Arkansas, attended the University at Salzburg, Austria, and Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. He is married with four children.


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.


Drew Moore
President of business development, Advance Trading, Inc.

Drew is no stranger to agricultural commodities, growing up on his family’s farm in Central Illinois. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in Ag Economics and a minor in international business. Drew worked over 11 years in commodity risk management focusing on softs, agricultural and energy markets. He has held positions as a merchandiser, physical commodity trader and risk management consultant. He currently resides in Bloomington, IL with his wife and two children.


Kelly Nieuwenhuis
Iowa farmer

Kelly has been farming for 36 years near Primghar, Iowa, growing corn and soybeans. He also has part ownership in a hog finishing operation. Kelly serves as the Iowa Corn Promotion Board Director representing District 1 and is chair of the Iowa Corn Industrial Usage and U.S. Production Committee. He is also currently the President of SEC, a 72-million-gallon ethanol plant in Sioux Center, Iowa. Kelly is chairman of the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program Board and is serving a two-year term on the Ethanol Action Team for USGC. Kelly and his wife Luanne have four children.


Bill Northey
Principal at WHNorthey LLC

Bill served as USDA Under Secretary of Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) from 2018-2021. The agencies manage farm programs, farm loans, conservation programs, and the federal crop insurance program and consist of a total of 22,000 employees. Bill was elected Iowa Secretary of Agriculture in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010 and in 2014. In 2011-12, Bill served as President of the National Association of the State Departments of Agriculture. Bill started farming after earning a degree in Agricultural Business from Iowa State University in 1981. Bill served on the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) Board of Director and served as President of ICGA in 1990-1991.  He served as President of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) in 1995-1996.  Bill earned a Master’s in Business Administration degree from Southwest Minnesota State.


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. 


Jason Weller
President, Truterra, a subsidiary of Land O’Lakes

Jason joined Land O’Lakes, Inc., in 2017 as senior director of sustainability and in 2020 was appointed President of Truterra, the famer-led and farmer-driven sustainability business unit at Land O’Lakes. Weller currently serves as the chair of the board of directors for the Soil Health Institute as well as on the board of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. Prior to joining Land O’Lakes, he served as Chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the nation’s largest working lands conservation organization that partners with farmers and ranchers to deliver assistance to protect and improve the quality of their operations’ natural resources. Prior to his role as Chief of NRCS, Jason worked at the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, the U.S. House Budget Committee, and in the White House Office of Management and Budget. Jason earned a bachelor’s degree from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and a master's in public policy from the University of Michigan.


Mike Lorenz
Senior Vice President of Market Development, Growth Energy

Mike brings extensive knowledge of petroleum refining, international oil trading and supply, and wholesale and retail gasoline/diesel marketing, to Growth Energy. He served over 20 years as Executive Vice President, Petroleum Supply, for Sheetz, Inc. where he oversaw the fuel supply for 600 stores in six states and initiated the company’s first renewable and alternative fuels program. Earlier, Lorenz held positions at ExxonMobil and Mobil Oil Corporation, including two stints abroad in the Netherlands and England.