Summit Speaker Bios

THURSDAY KEYNOTE

Barry L. Flinchbaugh, Professor of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University

Flinchbaugh is a Kansas State ag economist and world authority on U.S. ag policy. He earned a B.S. in Animal Science and M.S. in Agricultural Economics from Penn State University, and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics at Purdue University. He teaches a junior-senior level course in agricultural policy and receives approximately 100 speaking invitations a year to discuss agricultural and economic policy. Flinchbaugh has participated in countless overseas trade missions and has authored 100-plus publications including an agricultural policy textbook. He Chaired the Commission that authorized the 1996 Farm Bill.

 

FRIDAY KEYNOTE

David Kohl, Ag Economist and professor emeritus, Virginia Tech

Dr. Kohl is Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Finance and Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship at Virginia Tech.  He has traveled over 9 million miles in his career; conducted more than 6,500 workshops and seminars for agricultural audiences; published more than 2,250 articles; and writes for many leading publications, including Farm Futures.  Dr. Kohl was recently inducted into the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Hall of Fame. His personal involvement with agriculture and interaction with key industry players provide a unique perspective into future trends of the agricultural industry and economy.

Charles Baron, co-founder, Farmers Business Network

Charles is Vice President of Product and Co-Founder of FBN, where he guides the development of the breakthrough farmer-to-farmer network. Previously, Charles was a program manager at Google where he started and led product, investment and research initiatives in advanced energy technologies. Charles’ passion for farming developed after working a corn harvest on his brother-in-law’s farm in Arapahoe, Nebraska, prior to joining Google. Charles earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth and an MBA from Harvard with coursework at MIT.

Chris B. Barron, President of Carson and Barron Farms, Inc. 

Chris graduated from the University of Dubuque in 1992 with a degree in Communications. That year Chris, along with his brother-in-law, took over their Pioneer Sales agency, which had been run by his father for 22 years. More recently, Chris developed a new business model to assist producers with Multi-Generational Growth through his business “Ag View Solutions LLC.” Chris and his wife Alissa work as a team who consult across the country helping Ag businesses and farmers with multiple business decisions that include networking, merging, value assessment and margin management.

Matt Bennett, grain market analyst, Illinois farmer
Matt is owner of Bennett Consulting and is a Windsor, Illinois, farmer and former grain elevator owner. He is Channel Seed’s grain marketing consultant and holds a Series 3 brokerage license. He brokers for and manages the Windsor branch of Bates Commodities, Inc., a CFTC registered, and NFA Member introducing broker. Matt’s firm specializes in formulating risk-management strategies for corn and soybean farmers and livestock producers. A graduate of University of Illinois, Matt and his wife Tiffany live on the family’s centennial farm where they are raising their five children. He owns and operates a 3,000-acre corn and soybean farm with his father while raising 60 head of registered Angus cows.

Roger Bernard, Senior Policy Analyst, IHS Markit

Roger Bernard provides insight and analysis on farm, trade, tax, economic, energy and transportation policy for Informa Economics IEG. Prior to joining Informa in 2011, Mr. Bernard spent more than 24 years with Pro Farmer, including 11 years in Washington, D.C. He also served as Washington and Policy Editor for Farm Journal magazine. In his current role at Informa, he provides policy analysis for various products and works closely with IEG's European-based publications and web-based platforms. Mr. Bernard began his career in broadcast journalism after attending the University of Minnesota and Brown Institute in Minneapolis. He currently resides and works from his home in north-central Iowa on acreage west of Cedar Falls.

Curt Covington, Executive Vice President, Chief Credit Officer, Farmer Mac    

Curt is responsible for managing the $20.7 billion ag loan portfolio as well as the credit administration, underwriting, and client services functions for Farmer Mac, the nation’s secondary market for agr credit. Curt’s extensive experience in ag lending spans over four decades, and his passion for rural America developed at a young age on his family’s grape and tree nut farm in the farming community of Selma, CA. He earned his undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Southern California and his Masters in Agribusiness from Santa Clara University. 

Ken Eriksen, Senior Vice President, IHS Markit

Eriksen is head of Client Advisory and Development, and Energy and Transportation at Informa, a leading business intelligence, academic publishing and events firm. Prior to joining the company Eriksen worked for USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service as an agricultural statistician. While at USDA he worked for the Agricultural Marketing Service on its transportation and marketing program, conducting research and analysis on domestic and international transportation issues. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agribusiness and agricultural economics from Washington State University. 

Dave Fogel, vice president, Advanced Trading, Inc.

Dave 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/end-user accounts. Fogel helped build the company’s Advance 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. 

Carlotta Mast, Market Leader, New Hope Network, Senior Vice President of Content, Informa Markets

Carlotta Mast manages the conference, content and digital products portfolio for New Hope Network, the leading events and information services company for the natural & organic products industry. She also leads the content strategy and team for the Informa Markets Health & Nutrition group. With 20 years of experience, Carlotta has her finger on the pulse of new health, wellness and natural product trends and the forces shaping consumer attitudes and behaviors. Carlotta is a frequent speaker at industry events and conferences and has been interviewed about the natural products industry, regulatory issues and market performance by media outlets including The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, NPR, ABC News, BusinessWeek and many others.

Tim Schaefer, founder, Encore Wealth Advisors

Certified Financial Planner Tim Schaefer guides large, successful, farm operations and family farms so each farm can get and keep a competitive edge. His tools are peer groups via the Encore Executive Farmer Network, Transition Planning, Strategic Planning, and Executive Coaching. His print column, Transitions & Strategies, appears regularly in Farm Futures and online at FarmFutures.com. He is a Certified Family Business Advisor and Certified Business Coach. Raised on a successful family farm, his first business venture was selling sweet corn door to door with an Oliver 70.