Summit Speakers

Featured 2023 Farm Futures Summit Speakers

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Max Armstrong

Director of broadcast, Farm Progress

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

Brian Basting 
Commodity research analyst, Advance Trading, Inc.

Brian was born and raised in Bloomington, Ill., on a grain and livestock farm. He earned both Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Agricultural Economics from the University of Illinois. Prior to joining Advance, he worked for a farmer advisory service based in Wisconsin. Brian began his time with ATI in September 1993. He is responsible for wheat market fundamentals and domestic grain consumption trends assisting in feed grains and soybean analysis. 

Matt Bennett

Grain market analyst, Illinois farmer

Matt Bennett is a Windsor, Ill., farmer, and former grain elevator owner. He holds a Series 3 brokerage license and is a founding partner of AgMarket.Net, a farm division of JSA. His analysis appears on various TV and radio stations across the Midwest, as well as the AgMarketingIQ blog at A graduate of University of Illinois, Matt and wife Tiffany live on the family’s centennial farm north of Windsor, where they are raising their five children. He owns and operates a 3,000-acre corn and soybean farm with his father, while raising 25 head of registered Angus cows.

Brian C. Briggeman
Ag Economist, Kansas State University

Brian is a Professor and Director of the Arthur Capper Cooperative Center in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University. His research interests include agricultural finance, agribusiness and macroeconomic implications for U.S. agriculture. He provides expert commentary on agricultural and rural related issues to local, national, and international audiences. Prior to joining K-State Brian was an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and a business analyst with Farm Credit Services of America. He holds a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness from Kansas State University, an M.S. degree in agricultural economics from Texas A&M University and a Ph.D. degree in agricultural economics from Purdue University. 

Howard Buffett

Farmer, Chairman and CEO, Howard G. Buffett Foundation

Howard Buffett is CEO of one of the largest private charitable foundations in the United States. The Foundation invests primarily in global food security, conflict mitigation and public safety. He also manages a 1,500-acre family farm in central Illinois and operates a 400-acre farm in Nebraska. He oversees multiple Foundation-operated research farms in Arizona, Illinois, and Nebraska totaling 9,500 acres. He oversees two ranches in Arizona, and one farm in Texas, which are adjacent to the U.S./Mexico border. Howard serves on the corporate board of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. and has been honored over the years for his leadership and contributions to agriculture, conservation, philanthropy, and journalism, including receiving the highest honors bestowed on a foreign citizen by the governments of Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador and Rwanda for his work in each country. He has traveled to over 150 countries and authored eight books on conservation, wildlife, and the human condition, including two New York Times bestsellers, 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World and Our 50-State Border
Crisis: How the Mexican Border Fuels the Drug Epidemic Across America. 

Jolene Brown

Author, speaker and Iowa farmer

Jolene Brown is a walking-talking spokesperson and champion for agriculture and farm families. She’s a farmer in eastern Iowa, contributor to popular family  business columns, author of two books and an inductee into the Speaker Hall of Fame for the Council of Peers Award for Excellence. Her worldwide audiences  appreciate her fun-filled spirit and valuable information. She’s on a mission to share leading-edge best practices to increase farm productivity, profitability and peace of mind.

Cesar Cruz
Director of Research, Advance Trading, Inc.

Cruz has spent the past 15 years working in the university setting as an Economics Professor, Research Scholar, and University Consultant. His role as University Consultant involved working closely with agricultural producers. During his tenure as a professor, he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in fundamental subjects associated with Risk Management at the Federal University of Sao Carlos. In 2016 and 2017, Cruz was a visiting professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he taught Commodity Futures and Options to undergraduate students. Cruz earned his PhD in Applied Economics from the University of Sao Paulo, a Master of Science degree in Applied Economics and Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the Federal University of Vicosa. 

Mike Downey
Associate, Farm Financial Strategies

Mike is co-owner of Iowa-based Next Gen Ag Advocates ( and an associate at Farm Financial Strategies ( He graduated from the University of Illinois in 2000 with a major in ag business and finance and 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 his family’s grain and livestock farm near Roseville, IL. Read Mike’s popular Farm Futures blog, More than Dirt, for great tips on all of these topics and anything related to farmland.  



Jacqueline Holland
Grain Market Analyst, Farm Futures

Holland grew up on a dairy farm in northern Illinois and obtained a B.S. in Finance and Agribusiness from Illinois State University where she was the president of the ISU chapter of the National Agri-Marketing Association. Holland earned an M.S. in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University where her research focused on large farm decision-making and precision crop technology. Before joining Farm Progress, Holland worked in the food manufacturing industry as a financial and operational analyst at Pilgrim's and Leprino Foods. In her free time, Holland enjoys competing in triathlons as well as hiking and cooking with her husband, Chris. She resides in the Fort Collins, CO area.

Darla Huff

Director of agriculture, Advanced Drainage Systems Inc.

Darla Huff was born and raised in Zachary, La. She earned both her bachelor’s and an MBA from Mississippi State University. Before joining ADS in 2018, she worked for Corteva Agriscience (then Dow AgroSciences) across multiple crop portfolios. She and her team are responsible for all facets of the agriculture water management sector of the company, including market strategy, growth implementation, sales and sustainability practices. 

Dr. David Kohl
Professor Emeritus, Virginia Tech

Dr. Kohl taught in the Department of Agriculture & Applied Economics at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. He is an academic Hall of Famer in the College of Agriculture. Dr. Kohl has keen insight into the agriculture industry gained through extensive travel, research, and involvement in ag businesses. He has traveled nearly 10 million miles, conducted more than 7,000 presentations, and published more than 2,500 articles in his career. Dr. Kohl’s wisdom and engagement with all levels of the agriculture industry provide a unique perspective into future trends.



David Muth, Jr.

Managing director, Peoples Company, Capital Markets

Dave Muth leads Peoples Company in devising and implementing innovative land acquisition strategies to deliver improved investment returns. The company is a national farmland brokerage, management, appraisal and investment firm headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. The Capital Markets group works with clients to build farmland investment portfolios. Dave earned his Ph.D. from Iowa State University and spent the first several years of his career building technologies in advanced biofuels in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. He maintains a daily presence in production agriculture working, with his family farming business where he grew up in North Central Iowa. 


Eric Raby

Senior Vice President, CLAAS Americas Region

In his current role Eric leads commercial operations for North and South America including Sales, Service, Parts, Dealer Development, Marketing and Product Management. He received an A.S. in Ag Equipment Management and a B.S. in Agricultural Mechanization from Western Kentucky University. Later in his career, he completed professional development programs at Purdue University,  University of Virginia and Universität St. Gallen in Switzerland. Eric Raby was raised on his family’s beef cattle, hay and tobacco farm in Western Kentucky. He worked for a local dealership as a service technician apprentice during high school and for another dealership as a retail sales representative during his college years. 


Rob Saik
Entrepreneur, Consultant, Founder AGvisorPRO

Rob has 40 years of experience as a Professional agrologist, speaker, entrepreneur and international consultant who's worked with a wide variety of agriculturalists from Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture to Bill Gates. In 2021 he was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 50 Most Influential Agriculture Leaders. His latest book, “FOOD 5.0 How We Feed the Future” is a pragmatic look at how technology is reshaping the farm and consumer sectors. He has founded over 15 companies including Agri-Trend, which was acquired by Trimble. Robert is the founder of award-winning AGvisorPRO, a technology platform that connects those seeking agriculture advice with trusted experts.

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. 

Brian Splitt

Technical Analyst, Co-Founder,

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.