2024 Field Day Speakers

 

Brian Hefty and Darren Hefty are fourth-generation farmers and agronomists who are focused on how to help you increase yields, make more money on the farm, and leave the land and environment in better condition for future generations. They are the hosts of Ag PhD TV, the number-one agronomy show in the U.S., which has aired a brand new episode every week for more than 26 years. The brothers also host the number-one agronomy radio show, Ag PhD Radio, which has aired on SiriusXM for more than 11 years. Darren and Brian manage Hefty Seed Company, as well, which is the 8th largest ag chem retailer and the 8th largest seed retailer in the U.S. Brian is a father of 3, a Christian, and despite his wife Jenny’s suggestion to give it up already, a long-suffering Minnesota Vikings fan. Darren and his wife Shelley have 6 kids. Don’t let his love of farming fool you. It’s always going to be faith, family, and then farming for Darren.

Mark Arnusch

Marc Arnusch is a third-generation farmer and businessman and operates Marc Arnusch Farms, LLC; a diversified, irrigated operation located in Prospect Valley, CO. After graduating from college with a degree in Agriculture Economics, Marc returned to the family farm in 1995. Today, his farm encompasses nearly 3,000 irrigated acres and specializes in growing seed wheat, seed barley, grains for the craft beer and spirits industry, food-grade corn for the tortilla marketplace, black eye peas for seed, and alfalfa. The driver for the farm is focusing on growing value-added crops and developing marketplaces across the country. Grains from Arnusch Farms are shipped to more than 20 different states and a couple of foreign countries. Borrowing from past experiences as a sugar beet and onion grower has allowed Arnusch Farms to push the outer boundaries of wheat yields, netting them four National Wheat Yield Competition placings. However, the greatest achievement for the Arnusch family has been bringing on the next generation of farmers in the area by watching their son grow his own farming operation, as well as by helping a first-generation farm family in the area get a start. Marc and his wife Jill are celebrating more than 32 years of marriage and are the proud parents of their son, Brett; his wife, Alexis; and their new daughter, Charlotte. In his free time, Marc is heavily involved in the Colorado Farm Bureau, Colo Groundwater Commission, the Colo Public Health Benefits Board. Plus, he enjoys college sports of all kinds.

Mark Arnusch

Galynn Beer’s career trajectory was not necessarily a straight line through the ag industry. His degree from OU is in Business Administration and Finance, and he began his career in investment banking. He soon returned to his roots in agriculture, and he has been with AgroLiquid for more than 20 years. Beer is diligent in staying connected with AgroLiquid’s customers as a part of monitoring the economic climate we operate in. He has unique insight in this area, as he owns an ag input supply company in Guymon, Oklahoma. Beer also has an innate curiosity, which led him to attain an MBA from Michigan State University in 2018. Beer lives with his wife, Lisa. Dedicated foodies, the couple travels extensively and knows the best restaurants in many states, cities, towns, villages and four-way stops. As a licensed pilot and dedicated OU football fan, Beer can also be counted on to grill burgers and brats at many OU football games.

Brandi Buzzard is a rancher with a gift for storytelling, drizzled with sarcasm and served with a hefty dose of reality. In 2009, she started her blog, Buzzard’s Beat, to help bridge the gap between consumers seeking information and confidence about their food, and the farmers and ranchers who grow and raise it. For the past 14 years, she has been writing and speaking about tough issues that affect both producers and consumers while giving a behind-the-scenes look at her life on the ranch with her husband, Hyatt, and their two daughters, Oakley and Quincy, on their Gelbvieh and Balancer seedstock operation, High Bar Cattle Company. Buzzard has been featured on MSNBC, FOX News, CBS, Newsy, and The Weather Channel talking about the hot issues that affect the agriculture industry. She has also visited the White House and spoken with senior officials about sustainability and agriculture’s role in a healthy climate.

Todd Cogdill is a Technical Service Manager for FMC covering central and western Iowa and northern Missouri. Todd earned his B.S. in Agronomy (2006) and M.S. in Crop Production & Physiology (2008) from Iowa State University and his Ph.D. in Weed Science (2013) from Texas A&M University. He spent nine years managing a Crop Protection R & D farm in Iowa developing and guiding new products to commercial launch. In his role as a Technical Service Manager, he supports the local sales teams, retailers, and growers with technical and agronomic recommendations to address the challenges at the farm level. He is a native of western Iowa and grew up on a primarily grain (corn and soybean) farm. He recently moved back onto the homestead he grew up on to raise his young family and participate in the family farm. His connection to the family farm guides him to make the commonsense recommendations farmers are looking for to make the best decisions on their farms.

Drake is a U.S. Crop Manager for FMC and facilitates the marketing and sales strategy for wheat, cotton, rice, and peanuts. During his career at FMC, Drake has also worked as a Technical Service Manager covering Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. Prior to his time at FMC, Drake worked for University of Tennessee Extension while obtaining a Ph.D. in weed science. He also holds a M.S. in Cotton Agronomy and Entomology from Mississippi State University and a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Business from the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Heath Cutrell is a fourth-generation farmer who built his first-generation farm in Chesapeake, VA. Heath has always been involved with farming. After spending his youth working on family and neighborhood farms, he decided to take the initiative to start a trucking business, which lead him to building the farm he owns and operates today. Cutrell Farms includes a 5000-acre operation of non-irrigated corn, soybeans, and wheat in both southeastern VA and northeastern NC. Located in the center of the heavy populated triangle of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and the Outer Banks, Heath finds his challenges a little different. The movement of farm equipment on heavy populated roads and the government restrictions within the Chesapeake Watershed help him to be innovative with his farming practices. As a multiple NCGA national winner, and state winner in VA and NC, Heath continues to push his limits and his yields each year. In 2022, he was NCGA national yield contest winner, recording a whopping 394 bushels! In 2023, Heath was awarded the Virginia Farmer of the Year.

Colin grew up on a multi-generational family farm in east central Saskatchewan, Canada. Upon receiving his Bachelors degree in Agricultural Business, he has held many roles and is currently the president of Heads Up Plant Protectants Inc. Heads Up is a family owned, independently run, North American manufacturer of biological seed treatments which provide effective, naturally derived disease management solutions for U.S. farmers. The company’s signature product, Heads Up®, is a first of its kind seed treatment for the suppression of white mold, SDS, and rhizoctonia in soybeans.

Robb is an independent crop consultant from Arkansas. After graduating from the University of Arkansas in 1995, he began a career that has been shaped with the desire to help others. He consults rice, soybeans, corn, and wheat. Robb says, “Helping farmers achieve higher yields and solving problems that limit their ROI is my game. I want farmers to succeed!”

Grayce Emmick is an eighth-generation farmer at Emmick Farms located in Lewisport, Kentucky. She is known as “Farmer Grayce” on her social media. Her video content about grain hauling, harvesting, and life on the farm has gathered her 1.2 million followers. Her long-distance relationship with Gavin Spoor is being recorded and published on AcresTV in their new show, Dirt Poor.

Tim Eyrich has been involved in commercial crop production for 41 years. He received a degree in Agronomy and Plant Physiology from the University of Arizona. For half his career, Tim has been directly involved in crop production across several crops including cotton, corn, soybeans, citrus, wheat, and dry beans. His passion is crop nutrition and crop physiology, and for more than 25 years he’s been involved in product development, commercialization, and education on crop nutrition, cropping systems, PGRs and biologicals, and biostimulants.

Rob Fritz is a senior agronomist at Hefty Seed Company near Baltic, SD. He is also a field agronomist on the Hefty Naturals research team, concentrating on biology, fertilizer, soil, and plant interactions.

Kelly Garrett

Kelly Garrett, from Arion, Iowa, is a progressive farmer renowned for his no-tillage operation spanning 7,000 acres in western Iowa. His farm specializes in growing corn, soybeans, and winter wheat, utilizing innovative techniques to prioritize soil conservation and yield stability. Garrett’s dedication to excellence has earned him numerous accolades, including top yield honors in no-till irrigated farming from the National Corn Growers Association – he placed nationally in this contest in 2019, 2021, and 2023. His commitment to sustainable practices and outstanding agricultural stewardship was recognized in 2024, when Garrett was a finalist for the 2024 Top Producer of the Year, as well as in 2022 when he was named Farmer of the Year by Field to Market, an organization focused on advancing sustainable agriculture. Driven by a passion for sharing knowledge and fostering innovation within the farming community, Garrett co-founded XtremeAg. This platform serves as a hub for progressive farmers across the nation, facilitating the exchange of ideas and strategies to enhance agricultural practices. Garrett’s commitment to regenerative agriculture is evident in the launch of XtremeAg’s new Soil Health Initiative program. Through this initiative, Garrett aims to further promote soil health practices and advance the adoption of regenerative agricultural techniques among farmers nationwide. Kelly Garrett’s leadership and dedication to sustainable farming practices have not only propelled his own operation to success but also inspired countless others within the agricultural community to embrace innovation and prioritize environmental stewardship.

Rob Geis

Ron Geis is a Market Development Specialist with Corteva AgriScience. Ron’s primary responsibilities include in-field representation to the Corteva Biological Concepts Team and conducting educational field and classroom learning events. He has been in that role, based out of northern Iowa, for the past six years. Previous to the Dow DuPont merger into Corteva, Ron worked in a sales role for DuPont in western and eastern Nebraska, then northwest Iowa for a span of 34 years. Ron has been married to his wife, Cindy, for 40 years. They have four children and five grandchildren.

Rob Geis

Macy grew up on a farm in north central Iowa where they grew corn and soybeans and raised show stock. She received an associate’s degree in Precision Ag at Ellsworth Community College before moving on to South Dakota State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Ag Science with a minor in Precision Ag. After graduation, she spent some time in central South Dakota as a product specialist before moving to Sioux Falls to work for C & B Operations as a Support Center Technician. In her role, she assists customers with technologies ranging from data management in the Operations Center to setting up displays in the cab.

Tommy Grisafi

Born and raised in Midwest America, Tommy Grisafi is a passionate podcaster whose confidence stems from his 30+ years of experience in the agricultural industry. His genuine, personable, and direct demeanor sets him apart as an entertaining storyteller who thrives under volatility. Tommy is a member of the Chicago Board of Trade, the owner of Ag Bull Media LLC, and is a commodity risk management advisor at Advance Trading. He loves public speaking and is a husband and father.

Tommy Grisafi
Sawyer Hanson

Sawyer is a visionary leader in Precision Agriculture, serving as the Director of VRAFY, a company at the forefront of integrating technology with agricultural practices. He graduated from South Dakota State University before working with farmers all across the United States with a career dedicated to enhancing crop productivity. He spearheads initiatives that harness data-driven insights to empower farmers and optimize agricultural efficiency. Beyond the realm of precision farming, Sawyer treasures time spent with his wife and two young children, nurturing a passion for family adventures and fostering a love for the great outdoors.

Zach Hefty is a fifth-generation farmer and the son of Brian Hefty. He is a content creator who focuses on helping educate about farming and agriculture on social media. He graduated from Morningside University in 2023 with a degree in Agri-Business and Agronomy. While attending Morningside, he played college baseball for the Mustangs.

Glenn Herz

Glenn Herz is the Field Research Lead with Ag PhD. Glenn has been part of the Ag PhD team for 10 years and is involved with many of the operations in the company, overseeing all research plots, Field Day plots, testing of biologicals and naturals, plus he is instrumental in assembling the national lineup of Hefty Brand Corn and Soybeans. Glenn grew up on a farm in North Dakota where his family still farms. Glenn and his wife, Karla, live in Sioux Falls and have two daughters, Kaitlyn and Morgan. In his spare time, Glenn loves spending time with his grandsons, Thomas (9) and Brooks (4 months). Glenn is an avid UND hockey fan and enjoys all the trips with family and friends to Grand Forks to cheer on his North Dakota team. Glenn is a great educator and is always willing to share his knowledge with others.

Jack Hieb

Jack H. Hieb was born and raised in South Dakota, growing up in Delmont. After graduating from Delmont High School, Jack attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and International Affairs. Jack also competed in intercollegiate track and cross country at Augustana College. Following the completion of his undergraduate studies, Jack enrolled at the University of South Dakota School of Law, in Vermillion, South Dakota. His law school achievements included: Dean’s List (Class Rank 1/67), Sterling Honor Graduate, and Law School Foundation’s Distinguished Scholar. Prior to joining the Richardson Law Firm, Jack practiced law with Lee Schoenbeck in Webster, South Dakota and served a four-year term as the Day County State’s Attorney. Jack has been a partner at Richardson Law Firm since 2000. Jack and his wife, Jennifer, have three sons: Austin, Griffin and Trevor.

Jack Hieb

Michael Horsch, born on a farm in Germany, is a renowned entrepreneur and innovator in agricultural machinery. He founded Horsch Maschinen GmbH in 1984, which has become a global leader in seeding, tillage, spraying and planting equipment. Michael’s upbringing gave him a deep understanding of farming challenges. He spent some time in the U.S. before starting his company, which has been at the forefront of agricultural technology, introducing products that enhance efficiency and sustainability. Michael Horsch’s contributions have earned him numerous awards and accolades. He is also a dedicated family man and a father of four, whose commitment to innovation and sustainable farming continues to inspire advancements in agriculture worldwide.

Jeff spent a 30-year career with Cargill, Incorporated holding a number of trading and leadership positions. His experience includes product line management of their physical spring, soft white, and soft red winter wheat, as well as the head of export trading winter wheat. Jeff worked as a project team leader in the internal consulting group executing mergers and acquisitions and strategy. He became the CEO of Renessen, a joint venture between Cargill and Monsanto in the biotech and processing space. He was the head of trading and risk management for the refined oils business in North and South America. In addition to being the head of trading for Cargill’s aquaculture business, Jeff was a member of the leadership team of the business. Most recently, Jeff was the head of risk and trading for Cargill’s feed business in Central and South America. In addition to Jeff’s corporate experience, he owns and operates farms in Ohio and Minnesota. His farms produce corn, soybeans, and hay. Kazin received his B.S in Agriculture Economics from The Ohio State University and his MBA from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School.

Emerson King

Emerson is located in western Kentucky where he and his family have a growing amount of row crop acres, in addition to six large production broiler chicken houses. He hopes you will join him and his family as they come upon new adventures each day, showing their faith in Jesus Christ, their family working together, and their farm. Faith. Family. Farm.

Lee Lubbers

Lee Lubbers, a farmer from Gregory, South Dakota, represents the spirit of hard work, perseverance, and dedication to agriculture. Growing up in the farming tradition, Lee’s journey began with humble beginnings, utilizing leftover scholarship money as the down payment for his first tractor and rent for 200 acres of land. Today, Lee oversees a vast farming operation covering more than 17,000 acres of dryland, where he cultivates soybeans, corn, and wheat. Despite his remarkable success, Lee remains grounded in his values, emphasizing the importance of continuous learning and self-challenge in building an operation and legacy that the next generation can be proud of. Lee’s commitment to excellence and innovation has earned him recognition within the agricultural community, culminating in his receipt of the prestigious Top Producer of the Year award in 2014. This accolade serves as a testament to Lee’s tireless work ethic, strategic vision, and unwavering dedication to advancing the agricultural industry. His determination to educate, led Lubbers to co-found XtremeAg, a platform that serves as a hub for progressive farmers across the nation, facilitating the exchange of ideas and strategies to enhance agricultural practices. Two years later, Lubbers founded a scholarship program designed to support and empower individuals who are passionate about pursuing a higher education within the Agricultural Industry. With a focus on connecting with today’s youth, the scholarship provides not just financial assistance, but also guidance, education, and support to assist them in planting their legacy in agriculture. Through his leadership and commitment to lifelong learning, Lee Lubbers exemplifies the qualities of a modern farmer who not only achieves success in his own right but also lays the foundation for future generations to thrive in the agricultural landscape. His story serves as an inspiration to farmers everywhere, reminding us of the importance of resilience, innovation, and dedication in achieving lasting success in agriculture.

Lee Lubbers
Michelle Martin

Michelle Martin was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas and attended Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. After working a few marketing jobs, she took a leap of faith, quit her job and started an agricultural magazine, “Ag Mag”, in 2013 with only $200 in the bank. By the sixth year, the magazine had grown. It was then Michelle decided to launch a TV show called Ag on Wheels to showcase the importance of agriculture. Michelle is married to a fertilizer salesman who also farms and ranches, alongside owning a spray business. She has an eight-year-old son who loves farming, fishing, hunting, ranching, and baseball. The magazine and TV show now reach a demographic of well over half a million and are featured on YouTube, RFD-TV, Acres TV, and soon a water documentary on Prime Video. The magazine is about to hit its eleventh year and now has a nationwide distribution. In addition to the magazine and TV show, Michelle owns an ag marketing company, working with notable clients such as the Department of Agriculture, Polaris, John Deere, and many more. You can keep up with her ag adventures on her social media at agmag_stx. Michelle always says, “God blessed me and entrusted me with my business, and I am beyond blessed to share agricultural stories and am beyond grateful for all the support.”

Kevin Matthews

Matthews Family Farms, located in East Bend, North Carolina, is a prominent agricultural operation led by Kevin Matthews. Their farm spans 6,000 acres and specializes in no-till cultivation of corn, soybeans, wheat, and barley, with some employment of vertical tillage in river valley areas to optimize soil health and productivity. Matthews is recognized for his expertise and achievements in both non-irrigated and irrigated crop production. While his operation primarily focuses on non-irrigated corn and soybeans, Matthews has demonstrated success with pivot and subsurface irrigation methods, as well. His commitment to innovation and excellence has resulted in remarkable yield achievements, including holding the state corn yield record for North Carolina at an impressive 375 bushels per acre. Additionally, Matthews has earned multiple state and national titles and records in both corn and soybeans, further solidifying his reputation as a leader in agricultural productivity. In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the farming community, Kevin Matthews was honored as the North Carolina Farmer of the Year in 2022. This prestigious award highlights his dedication to excellence, sustainable farming practices, and commitment to advancing agricultural innovation in North Carolina and beyond. Beyond is where Matthews went — co-founding XtremeAg, which is a platform that serves as a hub for progressive farmers across the nation, facilitating the exchange of ideas and strategies to enhance agricultural practices. Matthews Family Farms serves as a shining example of agricultural success, driven by Kevin Matthews’ leadership, expertise, and unwavering commitment to excellence in crop production.

Kevin Matthews
Jeff Perkins

From Spirit Lake, IA, Jeff attended the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business where he earned his Masters of Business Administration. From there, he began working for AGCO Corporation in Jackson, MN as a Manufacturing Engineer, assisting in manufacturing of products like the RoGator C-Series product line in 2018. In May of 2018, he began working for John Deere first as an OFP Manufacturing Engineer for sprayers and then tillage before becoming a Tillage Problem Resolution Specialist out of Des Moines, IA. Jeff is now a Product Systems Specialist for Large Grains out of the Greater Sioux Falls area, coordinating demo programs, agronomic trials, and providing product and agronomic knowledge to local dealerships in IA, MN, SD, and ND.

Bridgette Readel

Bridgette Readel is an agriculturalist in North Dakota. She has had a 26+-year career in crop protection and now is the Ag Director for WDAY Radio. She is also a partner in the AgMafia, who provide agronomy and sales expertise to many.

Bridgette Readel
Eric Rebek

Dr. Eric Rebek is a technical service manager for FMC, covering southern and central Minnesota and eastern South Dakota. Eric earned his B.S. (1996) and M.S. (1999) in Entomology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his Ph.D. (2004) in Entomology from Purdue University. Before starting with FMC in March 2022, Eric was a professor and extension entomologist at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma for 15 years, focused on IPM strategies for horticultural insect pests. He is excited to be back in the Upper Midwest connecting growers with effective pest management solutions available within the extensive FMC portfolio.

Tony Reed

Tony Reed is a 43-year-old grain farmer from Illinois. His straightforward, no-nonsense approach has gained him more than 600,000 followers on social media. He calls a spade a spade and likes to keep the ag industry on its toes. You can check out his show, Off the Pavement, on AcresTV, or you can listen to his straightforward farming podcast on all major platforms. He resides about 35 miles south of Decatur, Illinois with his wife, Carolyn, and their three children: Henry, Cora, and Josey.

Tony Reed
Temple Rhodes

Temple Rhodes, a seventh-generation farmer from Maryland’s Eastern Shore, is the driving force behind Chestnut Manor Farms in Centreville, Maryland. Chestnut Manor Farms is very much a family-run farm. With help from his dad, nephew and two of his sons, Little T and Alexander, their operation encompasses a diverse range of activities, including a no-till farming enterprise covering 3000 acres of soybeans, 1500 acres of corn, and 1500 acres of wheat. In addition to their crop production, Chestnut Manor Farms continues to run a background cattle operation, and his daughter, Madeline, manages CMF Show Cattle. In the winter months, Rhodes and family also operate a full-scale hunting business, adding to the multifaceted nature of their family operation. Temple Rhodes is known for his innovative and forward-thinking approach to agriculture. Facing heavy government regulations and the environmental challenges posed by the Chesapeake Watershed, Temple has embraced innovation to overcome these obstacles and drive sustainability on his farm. In recognition of his groundbreaking efforts, Temple Rhodes was awarded the 4 R’s Award for Agriculture Innovator of the Year by The Fertilizer Institute in 2012. This prestigious accolade served as a “Tipping Point” for Chestnut Manor Farms, catapulting them into partnerships with agronomists, seed salesmen, and fellow farmers to advance regenerative farming practices while simultaneously increasing return on investment. Temple’s commitment to innovation extends to his participation in competitions such as the Asgrow National Yield competition, where he has emerged victorious on multiple occasions. In 2024, Temple placed National in the National Corn Growers Association, continually pushing the limits of his yields, Temple Rhodes demonstrates his dedication to maximizing productivity while also championing sustainable agricultural practices. In 2021, Temple joined forces with XtremeAg, a platform that serves as a hub for progressive farmers across the nation, facilitating the exchange of ideas and strategies to enhance agricultural practices. This allowed Temple to share his knowledge of government regulations, but also allowed him to gain knowledge from farmers all over the world. Through his leadership and relentless pursuit of innovation, Temple Rhodes exemplifies the spirit of modern farming, embracing the challenges of the present while laying the groundwork for a sustainable and prosperous future for Chestnut Manor Farms and the broader agricultural community.

Mike Rohlfsen

Of Mike Rohlfsen’s 30-year career in agriculture, 19 were with Cargill. While at Cargill domestically, Mike had two elevator system merchant roles in Illinois and Texas, and two regional trading management roles, one of which served the southwest U.S. feed markets; the other as the head of all eastern U.S. Feedgrain Trading. Mike also spent five years in Ukraine beginning Cargill’s trading operations of all ag and industrial commodities and the build-out of grain storage, processing, and export infrastructure. Like his business partner, Jeff, he also worked as a project team leader in the internal consulting group executing mergers and acquisitions and strategy. Mike ended his time at Cargill with a five-year stint in Cargill Ventures. Since then, he has been a part of three ag tech startups and four years in ag tech venture capital. He does not actively farm but maintains that connection through the ownership of two farms in Rice County, Minnesota. Rohlfsen went to St. Olaf College where he received his B.A. in Economics, Russian Language, and Russian and Soviet Studies. He has an MBA from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School.

Mike Rohlfsen
Zach Sellin

Zach is originally from Norfolk, Nebraska, where he grew up on a small family cow/calf operation. Zach attended South Dakota State University, graduating with a major in Precision Agriculture and minors in Agronomy & Ag Business in Spring of 2022. After college, Zach started his career as a Precision Ag Consultant for a John Deere Dealer in Colorado. In the Fall of 2022, he moved back to South Dakota and joined C & B Operations as a Support Center Technician, where he assists customers and dealership employees remotely with data management, display setup, and diagnostics with all John Deere technologies.

Rob Sharkey

Rob Sharkey, known in digital circles as the SharkFarmer, is not your average Illinois grain farmer. He’s a disruptor who is unwavering in his ability to directly address controversial topics. His groundbreaking SharkFarmer Podcast resonates with hundreds of thousands of global listeners each week because he gives the average person in ag a platform to tell their story. Rob has his own weekly National TV show, SharkFarmer TV on RFD-TV, in which he showcases people in ag, as well as a local show on WTVP PBS called A Shot of Ag. You can also find Rob showcasing even more stories from agriculture on The Root of It, exclusively on AcresTV. Finally, Rob does a new SharkFarmer Radio program every day on Sirius XM channel 147 and regularly speaks at events all across the country. As you can see, Rob keeps busy shining a light on agriculture, and he’s just getting started!

Rob Sharkey
Joe Sinkula

Joe Sinkula brings nearly 15 years of experience in Precision Agriculture. Joe currently works for VRAFY. He started working at a John Deere dealership as a precision agriculture consultant and finished as their Integrated Solutions Manager. There, he witnessed first-hand the rapid growth of precision ag and the importance of the equipment and the data working together. He most recently worked on agronomy for a dairy and crop farm in northeast Wisconsin, focused on soil sampling, building variable rate prescriptions, making the equipment work with those prescriptions, and operating the equipment itself. Joe resides in the Green Bay area with his wife, Stacey, and their children, Isaac and Morgan.

Gavin Spoor

Gavin Spoor is a first-generation farmer from Missouri. In 2017 at the age of 18, he was given the chance to cash rent six acres, an opportunity he had been waiting for his entire life. A bountiful crop meant he made just enough to help pay for some college classes and put a down payment on his first tractor. The spring of 2018 brought many new opportunities. With a year under his belt and a few more acres rented, Spoor Farms was on to its next adventure: popcorn. Spoor Farms grew 15 acres of popcorn in 2018. The row crop and popcorn operations have both seen continued growth. Popcorn is now shipped nationwide. Spoor Farms is nestled in Laddonia, a little farming town in Northeast Missouri. Gavin is known for his TikTok @thepopcornfarmer, where he makes informational/everyday videos of farming. He also shares his day-to-day through other social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook.

Gavin Spoor
Justin Storm

Justin Storm is a North Dakota meteorologist specializing in long-range forecasting. Justin is one of eight LRC Certified Scientist/meteorologists in the entire country with Weather2020. Broadcasting out of Fargo for the past four years with WDAY Radio, Justin uses the LRC to forecast monthly and seasonal weather outlooks for the surrounding Fargo area and Northern Plains.

Gail Stratman

Stratman, a native of northeast Nebraska, grew up on a diversified grain (corn, soybeans, oats, barley, alfalfa) and livestock (swine, cattle, poultry) farm. He is still an active part in agronomy and production in family operations. Stratman received his B.S. in Agronomy in 1990 and M.S. in Weed Science in 1992, both from the University of Nebraska. In the past 30 years with FMC in Nebraska, he spent six as Field Biologist in Product Development working to develop new actives and products including bifenthrin, sulfentrazone, carfentrazone, and clomazone. Four years were in a dual role of Product Development / Regulatory and Sales Support Agronomist. Fourteen years were spent as Technical Service Agronomist working in High Plains region of NE, KS, CO, OK, WY, and SD. Since 2018, Stratman has been the Regional Technical Agronomy Manager for the Heartland Region (Midwest & N. Plains) of FMC North America Crop. In his current role, he manages FMC’s Technical Service Agronomists, working closely with Sales teams to provide agronomic advice and recommendations to help growers achieve the highest possible satisfaction and utility with FMC crop protection products on their farms. He coordinates with Marketing, Communications, Regulatory, and Manufacturing with education, promotion, troubleshooting and stewardship. Stratman says, “I try to focus on ensuring FMC understands the production side of farming, and in turn, be a credible resource for growers for agronomic issues to make them better at what they do.”

Gail Stratman
Matt Thompson

Matt Thompson is the Hefty Naturals Brand Manager based out of Baltic, SD. His primarily role includes development, marketing, education, and overall management of the Hefty Naturals portfolio of products. He is formerly a chemical Rep from FMC and originally from central Illinois.

Bobbi Thury

Bobbi Thury is known for asset protection planning, whether it’s for high net worth clients or to shelter assets for those running out of money in a nursing home. She is a board-certified Estate Planning Law Specialist by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils as well as an Accredited Estate Planner®. Bobbi is also the only Certified Elder Law Attorney in South Dakota certified by the National Elder Law Foundation. Bobbi has gone through the educational process of the certified value growth advisors and certified exit planner advisors for family and privately held businesses, and along with her Juris Doctor, she also has a Master’s in Business Administration.

Bobbi Thury
Caleb Traugh

Caleb Traugh works as a crop advisor in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. Despite an unconventional path, Caleb has demonstrated a profound passion for crops and soil from a young age. His keen interest in the agronomic aspects of farming led him to establish his own crop consulting business. Instead of holding him back, his unique background has given him the freedom to explore and adopt various farming practices to push for higher yields and profitability. Caleb’s commitment to on-farm research and leveraging new technologies has earned him recognition, such as winning state titles in the NCGA corn yield contest in 2021 and 2022. In 2023, he assisted one of his growers, Alex Harrell, in setting a new world record soybean yield with a whopping 206.7997 bu/A and earning a national NCGA corn yield contest title with over 400 bu/A. Caleb manages to combine his crop production with extensive research, conducting dozens of trials annually and sharing his findings to benefit the wider farming community. Even when he’s not working, Caleb is mixing concoctions to try to hold a third ear in his sweet corn patch or wondering if attending farm shows can count as vacations.

Troy Uphoff

Troy Uphoff is President of Uphoff Farms, Inc., and together with his parents and brother, Trent, the family has farmed in Findlay, Illinois, for five generations. They have grown the farm supported by adopting precision farming techniques and conservation practices. Uphoff has spent the past several years focused on understanding and improving the productivity and profitability of the farm. As a community leader, Uphoff has served on the board of the Illinois Farm Bureau, the Illinois State Farm Service Agency committee, and as a drainage commissioner. In the private sector, he has served on the board of Country Financial, a primary U.S. insurance provider. Uphoff strongly advocates for the ag industry, sitting on boards for FFA, 4-H, the Illinois Ag Leadership Program, and the University of Illinois. He is a member of the Illinois Corn Growers, Illinois Soybean Association, and Illinois Farm Bureau. Uphoff is an active member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

Troy Uphoff
Jayna Voss

Jayna Voss is a fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel; she is an Accredited Estate Planner® awarded by the National Associate of Estate Planners & Councils; she has an AV Preeminent™ peer rating from Martindale-Hubbell; has been recognized in Great Plains Super Lawyers®, where only 5% of attorneys in South Dakota earn Super Lawyer status; and she is recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© in the field of trusts and estates. Jayna has gone through the educational process of the certified value growth advisors and certified exit planner advisors for competently advising family and privately held businesses on increasing business value and succession planning.

Wayne Will

Wayne grew up on a small family farm in the Klamath Basin of northern California. In 2014, he moved to Minnesota where he worked for a family owned and operated farm in the Red River Valley of NW Minnesota growing wheat, barley, soybeans, edible beans, sugarbeets, corn, and canola. He attended Ridgewater College in Willmar, MN, where he obtained his diploma in Farm Operation Management and a certificate in Precision Ag Technologies. He began his career in 2019 as a Precision Ag Consultant for Evergreen Implement and then True North Equipment. In 2021, he joined C & B Operations as a Product Specialist, where he assists all 37 stores with Product Information, setting up demos, and being a lead role in new technologies like the John Deere See & Spray. He and his wife reside in Marshall, MN with their first child due in August.

Wayne Will
Austin Williams

Austin graduated from North Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agrictultural Systems Management and a minor in Agribusiness. Following graduation, he worked at a John Deere dealer in Jamestown, ND as an Integrated Solutions & Commercial Application Equipment Consultant. Over the next seven years, Austin held several roles at John Deere Company, starting at ISG as a Product Support Representative for GreenStar Displays including the Generation 4 Display. In 2016, he moved to Waterloo and worked as a Product Manager – Future Tractor Product Programs, where he worked with customers, dealers, engineers, and marketing on introducing new John Deere tractor models in the U.S., Mexico, and Germany. Before Austin transitioned back to his family farm in 2020, he spent his final two years with John Deere Company in Ankeny as the Product Manager – Nutrient Application. In 2023, Austin joined C&B Operations as the New Equipment Manager for the Ag Division. Austin is originally from Fulda, MN and is actively involved in his family corn and soybean farming operation. Austin and his wife Rebekah founded and operate Fairland Farms, where they direct market pork consumer packaged goods to bacon fans all over the country.

Dean Wysocki

Dean has been forecasting weather in the Midwest covering ND, SD, MN, IA, and Nebraska for more than 25 years. Weather has always been a passion of his, and advancing the technology of the LRC is his next step in the continuous study of meteorology.

Dean Wysocki
Christina Ybema

Christina Ybema is a Technical Sales Manager with Trace Genomics and is based in Orange City, Iowa. Her roots in agriculture began on a dairy farm in Michigan where her family continues to raise Holstein dairy cows and young stock, as well as growing corn, alfalfa, oats, and a winter cover crop for forages. Christina then pursued her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science at Dordt University. Through internships and post grad, Christina began her career in the agronomy industry in ag retail before joining Trace Genomics in 2022. Her passion is helping growers and agronomists utilize the data from Trace Technology to make actionable insights from the DNA of microbes and pathogens in the soil.

Stephanie Zelinko

Stephanie Zelinko’s passion for agriculture started early. Growing up on a cash-crop farm in mid-Michigan, farming has always been part of her life. She attended Michigan State University and received her bachelor’s degree in Crop and Soil Sciences. Upon graduation, she began working as a researcher for AgroLiquid – a role she has expanded and enhanced over more than 20 years. To broaden her skill set, Zelinko went on to attain a Masters of Science in Research Administration from Central Michigan University in 2017. Zelinko currently works as a sales agronomist, a position through which she bridges AgroLiquid’s sales, agronomy, and research teams. She is dedicated to evaluating soil and cropping systems to develop sound recommendations and provide agronomic solutions for growers. Zelinko understands the importance good agronomics play in successful farming. She also applies that vast knowledge at home where she and her husband farm.

Stephanie Zelinko

Join us at 2024 Ag PhD Field Day!