Co-Chairman, AgriCapital Advisors
John Crabtree has worked in and around the seed and agricultural input industry for 40 years. His experience has included 12 years as President of Wilson Genetics, L.L.C. and its predecessor companies in Harlan, Iowa (1990-2002) and close to 22 years as an active member of the AgriCapital team (1983-1990 & 2003-2017). He has specialized in developing trait-specific, identity-preserved grains and has experience ranging from product development to contracting and grain logistics to processing to marketing to end-users of value-added ingredients. John received his B.S. degree in agriculture from the University of Illinois. He is a member of the American Seed Trade Association, Ag Retailers Association, National Grain and Feed Association, National Council of Farm Cooperatives, Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association and Association of Equipment Manufacturers. He is a past board member of the U.S. Grains Council and chaired ASTA’s Corn & Sorghum Market Development Committee to the Council. John devotes his time on the Advisory Board to companies involved in grain, farm equipment, seed and fertilizer, as well as with cooperatives of all types.
Co-Chairman, AgriCapital Advisors
Robert Fox was most recently President and CEO of Foster Farms, the west’s largest poultry producer, which he joined in 1992. Before his appointment as Foster Farms CEO, Bob was President and CEO at Revlon International, where he was responsible for all operations outside of North America. He was President of Continental Can from 1987-1990; Vice Chairman of Nabisco from 1986-1987; President, Chairman and CEO, of Del Monte from 1980-1986; President of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco International from 1978-1980; and President and CEO of Canada Dry International from 1972-1975. Bob started his career with Procter & Gamble and also worked for T.J. Lipton and Hunt Wesson Foods. He holds a B.A. degree from Colgate University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Senior Consultant for Canadian Agribusiness
Robynne Anderson has extensive experience in strategic development and issues management in the agriculture and food sector, working throughout the value chain from inputs right to the grocery store shelf. Founder and President of Canadian-based Emerging Ag Inc., she works internationally in the sector, including speaking at the United Nations on agricultural development as the main representative for the International Federation of Agricultural Producers to the UN, while maintaining close ties to the Canadian scene. She has been a media commentator on the seed, biotechnology, crop protection, fertilizer, farming, and manure management sectors. Previously, Robynne established Issues Ink, a Canadian-based publishing company specializing in magazines on Canadian and American agriculture, which she managed for over seventeen years until selling in 2008. The company also included an issues management practice, sold in 2007, that served clients focused on banking, M&A, grain handling, equipment, inputs, and farming. Prior to founding Issues Ink, she was a legislative assistant to the then Deputy Prime Minister of Canada.
DR. JOE CONNOR
Senior Consultant for Pork Industry
Joe Connor has a long distinguished career in Swine Veterinary Medicine. He is President of Carthage Veterinary Service, Ltd., which provides consulting and management to numerous swine herds both domestically and internationally. He is a leader in disease management and elimination strategies. He holds a degree from the University of Illinois.
Senior Consultant for Stochastic Analysis
Michael C. Donovan has over 20 years of commercial and investment banking experience. His background in financial management spans a variety of mature going concerns, as well as entrepreneurial ventures. He also has a substantial background in both government and investor relations. His affiliations have included Chase Manhattan Bank, Rabobank Nederland, and Aquaculture Technologies Ltd. Michael holds a M.S. in Agricultural, Managerial, and Resource Economics from Cornell University, where he attended as a Lehman Fellow. He holds a B.A. from the University of Colorado, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude.
Senior Consultant for European Seed Industry
Jean-Louis Duval is the CEO and founder of the Sarl JLDuval Conseil, a consulting company dedicated to serving governmental agencies, NGOs, and businesses on the agri-food chain. Offering a global view, its specific expertise is in seeds and information technology. Jean-Louis was previously the General Manager of Verneuil Holding, an important European field crop seed company, and most recently was Project Manager for Limagrain. He has 25 years of experience in the seed business. He was the President of ISF (the world seed organization) from 1996-1998 and is currently President of the organization’s “steering committee.”
Senior Consultant for New Zealand Agribusiness
James Grennell has served in the agribusiness industry for over 37 years in various managerial roles in Australia and New Zealand. For ten years until April 2009, he was a senior Business Manager with the PGGWrightson Group, holding an International Export Market Development position with PGGWrightson Seeds in Christchurch. In this role he was responsible for a range of export activities of the seeds business including the establishment of new strategic business relationships in various territories around the world, and the further development of existing key commercial activities in North America, South America, Europe, United Kingdom and South Africa. Jim serves as the current Chairman of NZ Agritech Inc., the New Zealand agri-sector export member organization and has been involved with NZ Agritech activities for the past seven years and commenced the role as Chairman in 2007.
LARRY L GROCE
Senior Consultant for Biofuels Industry
Larry Groce has 30 plus years of experience in the grain systems and biofuels industries with focus on domestic and international markets. Larry Groce is retired from Bratney Companies where he served as Vice President – Business Development leading efforts in the biofuels and grain sectors plus representing Bratney Companies on the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). Mr. Groce also served as a director of the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA), is a Past Chairman of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), a Past Chairman of the Alpha Zeta Foundation, and is a honorary life member of the Farm Foundation – Round Table. He holds a B.S. degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and has completed AgriBusiness Seminar executive education programs at the Harvard Business School.
LEE E. HUEY
Senior Consultant for Seed Industry
Lee Huey has over thirty-five years experience in the seed industry and specializes in the areas of hybrid corn and soybean seed production, research evaluation, and targeted planning. He has served for ten years as President of the Lee Huey Company and has held the positions of President of the Iowa Seed Association and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Iowa State University Committee for Agricultural Development. He holds a degree in Seed Technology/Agronomy from Mississippi State University.
DR. LEIF KJAERGAARD
Senior Consultant for Life and Food Sciences
Leif Kjaergaard has served in the agribusiness industry for over 25 years. He currently serves as president of LEIF and FOOD SCIENCE, as well as a senior advisor in research policy for the EU commission and the Danish government. His past experience includes many years with Danisco A/S in various top level management positions. For five years he was responsible for strategy and business development, and had been strongly involved in the transformation of the company from being a north European sugar manufacturer to becoming a major global ingredients and biotech company through internal development and a number of acquisitions. In addition, Dr. Kjaergaard has served as a member of the board for several companies.
Senior Consultant for Production Agribusiness
Jeffrey Lakner has served in the agribusiness industry for over 35 years. His experience includes 33 years as CEO of Lakner Farms LLC, a 4000-acre diversified crop and livestock farm located in east-central South Dakota. Currently, Jeffrey is Vice-Chairman of South Dakota Wheat Growers Association, the largest local ag-supply cooperative in the United States as well as the Chair of Board of its Risk Management Committee. Other memberships include: Land O’ Lakes Executive Council, representing 9 states from the Dakotas to the Pacific Northwest, Dakotas America Advisory Council, and South Dakota State University Advisory Committee for the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences. From 2005- 2007, Jeffrey was a member of the 9th Federal Reserve Bank District of Minneapolis: Agricultural Advisory Council. Jeffrey holds a B.S. from South Dakota State University and is a four-time participant in Harvard’s Agribusiness Seminar. Jeffrey is a member of the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association as well as the Risk and Insurance Management Society.
Senior Consultant for Precision Agriculture/Farm Equipment
John Larkin has a thirty-year history helping farm equipment companies with strategy and marketing. Prior to establishing his consulting business, John was the commercial lead and general manager of Monsanto’s Precision Planting division. John was a part of Precision Planting from the beginning of the company and was instrumental in its growth and development – including working on the company’s sale to Monsanto in 2012. During John’s tenure at Precision Planting, the company moved from an aftermarket planter parts company to a leader in precision ag concepts. Prior to his work at Precision Planting, John was involved in marketing communication agencies in Chicago and Central Illinois where his clients included Caterpillar’s Ag Products group, White Farm Equipment, Yetter, Spraying Systems, Kewanee Farm Equipment, as well as many other clients in animal health, animal nutrition, seeds and crop protection. John started his career in the advertising department at Deere & Company after graduating from the University of Illinois in ag economics and ag communications. John also operates a grain farm near his home in Bloomington/Normal, Illinois.
Senior Consultant for Agricultural Finance and Dairy
Porter Little has served in the agribusiness industry for over 40 years. His experience includes 38 years with the Farm Credit System, the last 21 years with CoBank, ACB and its predecessor entities. During his career, he held positions in the area of credit approval, credit administration, international banking services and relationship management. At the time of his retirement from CoBank, he was handling some of CoBank’s largest relationships, both cooperative and non-cooperative. Porter holds a B.S. from NC State and a M.S. from University of Connecticut.
Senior Consultant for Animal Health
Kobi Lustgarten has over 40 years experience in the Animal Health industry. In 2011 he founded L.KOBIC Animal Health Ltd., an export consulting firm based in Israel and specializing in veterinary products. Prior to establishing L.KOBIC, Kobi worked for 35 years at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. in several positions, including export economist and general manager of a subsidiary in Nigeria and CEO of its Animal Health division. Kobi received his B. A in Economics and M.B.A. in Business Administration from Tel-Aviv University.
DR. DOUG NELSON
Senior Consultant for Crop Protection
Doug Nelson has over 25 years experience in the agribusiness industry. He is currently a
Senior Advisor for Trade, Intellectual Property and Strategic Issues for CropLife America, the not-for-profit trade organization representing the major manufacturers, formulators and distributors of crop protection and pest control products, including bioengineered products with crop production and protection characteristics. He had been the Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of CropLife America for 17 years before assuming his current role. Doug is a member of the United States Industry Trade Advisory Committee on trade in Chemicals (ITAC3) and Intellectual Property (ITAC15) charged with advising the U.S. Trade Representative and the Secretary of Commerce on U.S. Trade Policy. He is active in numerous international organizations, serving as Vice Chair of the Food and Agriculture Committee of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) to the OECD and as a speaker at OECD and FAO meetings. He also has been a member of the U.S. Delegation to the Codex Alimentarius Commission meetings and a CropLife delegate to the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conferences in Hong Kong (2005), Cancun (2003), and Seattle (1999). He was an NGO delegate to the annual meetings of the United Nation’s Commission on Sustainable Development and was a delegate to the World Trade Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2002, and in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2012. Doug also has been an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in Washington, DC. A Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude graduate in history from Rutgers University, Doug earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in modern European history from Columbia University and a J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law.
Senior Consultant, Meat, Midwest Agribusiness & Finance
Dan Ochylski’s experience includes 22 years at The Pinnacle Food Group, a family owned business where he held a variety of positions prior to becoming CEO in 1995. At Pinnacle, Daniel oversaw a hog slaughtering and processing business with five operating units in four states. The combined companies had over 1,000 employees and processed in excess of 10,000 animals per day. During that time, Mr. Ochylski was a member of the Executive Committee of the American Meat Institute and a board member of the National Meat Association. Mr. Ochylski is currently CEO of Growth Financial Partners, a consulting and investment banking firm specializing in management consulting and specialty financings.
Senior Consultant for Genetics and Genomics
Daniel Pomp has over 30 years of experience in the agricultural genetics and genomics space. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Genetics (School of Medicine) and Nutrition (School of Public Health) at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. In his academic career, Daniel has published over 150 papers and many review articles and book chapters on genetics and genomics with applications to both the agricultural and biomedical sciences. He has served as Chair of the US National Animal Genome Research Program, was on the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Animal Genome Research, and is on the editorial boards for many journals and the advisory boards for several organizations spanning many facets of global agriculture and life science. In 1998, Daniel co-founded GeneSeek, a privately held, global biotechnology company dedicated to providing high quality DNA testing to agribusiness. After helping to grow GeneSeek into one of the world’s leading animal genotyping companies, Daniel sold the business to the Neogen Corporation, and he currently serves as a senior consultant to help further grow Neogen’s Food Security business. Pomp has also been involved in other private ventures, including The Original Foods Company, which was the first business to commercialize “A2 Milk” in the US. Pomp holds a B.S.Agr. Degree in Animal Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, an M.S. degree in Quantitative Genetics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, a Ph.D. in Animal Genetics and Biotechnology from North Carolina State University and conducted Postdoctoral research at the University of California – Davis.
Senior Consultant for Grain, Logistics and Oil Seed Crushing
Most recently, Bailey Ragan was Vice-President, Grains, Biofuels and Fertilizer, at Bunge North America. He had worked with Bunge for over thirty years until his retirement in 2013. Bailey joined Bunge in 1981 as procurement manager at the soybean processing facility in Decatur, Alabama, when Bunge purchased the facility. He served as a commercial manager of the facility starting in 1983. In 1998, he assumed responsibility for Bunge’s soybean crushing facilities in the South Central region. From 2002 through 2011, Bailey served in various positions, including vice president and general manager, of Bunge’s grain operations and Oilseed Processing Group. He has served on the National Grain & Feed Board of Directors and was an Executive Committee member and Officer.
Senior Consultant for Emerging Markets
Elia Roumani is the founder and Managing Director of ER Emerging Markets LLC, an advisory firm that specializes in emerging markets agribusiness, smart water management and the confluence of the two industries. Elia spent his entire career in emerging markets, most recently as Principal Investment Officer and founding member of the Agribusiness Department at the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank. There he led-managed numerous investments for leading integrated commodities producers and traders, fisheries, fruits, vegetable, and agribusiness logistics companies. He assumed leadership roles in IFC’s corporate initiatives on sustainability, bio-diversity and food traceability. Elia spearheaded IFC’s business development efforts in several industries and regions, especially in Brazil and Latin America, Turkey, Russia and Central Europe. Prior to joining IFC in 1986, Elia was the Latin America Regional Director for management consulting at Arthur Young & Co. and Finance Director for US based mining companies in Brazil. He holds an MBA degree from Cornell University, an MA degree from the University of Chicago, and a BA from the University of Massachusetts.
Senior Consultant for Seed Technology & Seed Treatments
Kyle Rushing has over 50 years of experience in seed technology and seed treatments, as well as in actives, biological agents, and additives. Most recently he was Senior Lead–Actives and Additives at INCOTEC, the international company providing seed treatments, technologies and services where he spent the last nine years of his career. Prior to joining INCOTEC, Kyle was Vice President of Research for Gustafson, Inc. During his 27 years at Gustafson, he served on numerous seed industry committees and was granted a patent for the liquid application of fungicides to peanut seed. Kyle holds BS and MS degrees in Agronomy – Seed Technology from Mississippi State University.
Senior Consultant for the Feed and Pet Food Industries
Randy Schwalke is the founder and owner of FEED MARKETING LLC, a feed and pet food industry advisory firm. Randy’s feed industry experience dates back to 1973 at MoorMan’s/ADM where he served in a number of capacities, including Controller and General Director. In 2000, Randy joined Blue Seal Feeds where he was VP of Sales and then President before forming FEED MARKETING in 2008. Randy has served on the AFIA Board of Directors and has been the President of the Northeast Ag & Feed Alliance. In addition to his cross-functional work experience, Randy has a diverse channel background, serving direct-to-farm livestock producers, distributors and independent retailers.
DENNIS F. STEADMAN
Senior Consultant for Animal Health
Dennis was President and Chief Executive Officer of Velcera Pharmaceuticals Inc. from May 2004 through October 2013. Prior to joining Velcera, he founded Valorum Associates Ltd., which provided executive management and strategic advisory services to animal health and related industries. Prior to Valorum, Dennis held the position of Vice President, North American Operations and Global Management Committee Member with Merial Ltd., a leading animal health company. Prior to joining Merial, Dennis was with Chase Econometrics (subsidiary of Chase Manhattan Bank) for more than a decade conducting business research and providing consulting services to the agribusiness sector. He holds a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from Pennsylvania State University with a focus on marketing and statistics, a B.S. degree from Pennsylvania State University in Agricultural Business Management, and has completed an Executive Program in Finance at the Harvard Business School.
Senior Consultant for Agribusiness
Pat Whidden has had a forty-plus-year career in animal agriculture and companion/recreational animal-related agribusiness. His experience covers the range from "dirty boots" to board rooms. Within the feed industry, his responsibilities have included technical support, sales, marketing, training and development, sales management, business management, and executive leadership. Pat has been involved with and served on boards of directors and executive committees of various industry organizations. Over the years, he has acquired valuable skills that are applicable to helping clients capitalize on opportunities and/or solve problems. Former corporate employers include Landmark, Inc; Countrymark, Inc; U.S. Sugar Corporation; Tennessee Farmers Co-op. Pat holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio State University where he studied Animal Science in the Agri-Industries Program.
Senior Consultant for Grain Processing/Ingredients
Juliet Zavon is an independent consultant to the food and agribusiness industries. Her principal clients are U.S. and multi-national corporations, associations, and government agencies. She is fluent in French, Russian, and Spanish. Before establishing her consultancy, Juliet worked for Archer Daniels Midland Co. as Director of Venture Analysis International. Her early career included stints at the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service and the State Department before joining Arthur D. Little, Inc., where she helped develop business strategies, analyze markets, and evaluate potential acquisitions in Europe and the U.S. for chemical, energy, and food companies. Juliet holds an undergraduate degree in Animal Science from Cornell University and an M.S. in Agronomy and Range Management from the University of California, Davis. She has taken courses in finance and accounting at Harvard.