The 2022 94th Iowa State University Soil Management and Land Valuation conference will be held hybrid (in person at Benton Auditorium in Scheman Building and virtually) on Wednesday May 18th, 2022. This will be a one-time conference and the following speakers are guest instructors. A short bio is provided for each of the instructor to justify their qualification:


Wendong Zhang: an assistant professor of Economics at Iowa State University with a Ph.D. in agricultural, environmental and development economics from the Ohio State University. Dr. Zhang is the leading researcher of the annual Iowa Land Value Survey, the Iowa Farmland Ownership and Tenure Survey, and the ISU Soil Management and Land Valuation conference.



Stephen Nicholson
Stephen Nicholson is the Global Sector Strategist–Grains and Oilseeds, Rabo AgriFinance in the RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness group. Nicholson has more than thirty-five years of experience in cash grain markets, hedging, commodity/ingredient procurement, commodity risk management and commodity analysis. A native of Iowa, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Farm Operations and Agricultural Education and a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics, both from Iowa State University. Nicholson joined Rabo AgriFinance in 2014 and was the Senior Grains and Oilseeds analyst for North America until being appointed Global Sector Strategist in 2022.
Prior to joining Rabo AgriFinance, Nicholson was Category Manager and Chief Economist with International Food Products, a Senior Economist with Doane Agricultural Services in St. Louis as the oilseed analyst. He also worked at The Earthgrains Company and the Global Procurement and Trading Company at The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta. While at Coca-Cola.

Michael Langemeier
Michael is a Professor and the Director of Cropping Systems for the Center for Commercial Agriculture in the Department of Agricultural Economics Department at Purdue University, where he co-lead the monthly Purdue/CME Ag Economy Barometer. Michael’s extension and research interests include agricultural finance and cost of production. He participates in an international cost of production benchmarking network that compares corn, soybean, and wheat breakeven prices across countries. Michael has written numerous articles pertaining to financial analysis, crop budgets, leasing principles, cash rents, land values, and transition planning. In addition to his extension and research work, Michael has taught courses in agricultural finance, economic theory, farm management, risk management, and tax planning.


Scott Steffes
Scott Steffes is President of Steffes Group and holds many titles, degrees and awards. He is a past recipient of the International Auctioneer Championship (IAC), North Dakota Auctioneer Championship, and Minnesota Auctioneer Championship. He is a member of the NAA and has been a presenter for seminars at both the NAA and AMI (Auction Marketing Institute). He also maintains his real estate broker license in several states. Scott has been with Steffes since 1980 and enjoys road biking, running, flying and hanging out in Minnesota lake country.


Kirk Manker
Kirk Manker is the Vice President and Chief Appraiser at Farm Credit Services of America. He has 34 years of Farm Credit System experience with twenty years as Chief Appraiser, eleven years as a Senior Appraiser specializing in the valuation and due diligence of real estate and chattel assets, and two years as a Loan Officer. He is a State General Certified Appraiser in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Kansas, and has worked as loan officers and appraisers in both Sioux Falls, SD and Omaha, NE. He graduated from South Dakota State University with a Bachelor’s degree in agricultural business and commercial economics.


Eric Snodgrass
Eric Snodgrass is the Principal Atmospheric Scientist for Nutrien Ag Solutions, where he develops predictive, analytical software solutions to manage weather risk for global production agriculture. He provides frequent weather updates that focus on how high-impact weather events influence global agriculture productivity. He has presented at over 50 conferences annually where he provides logistical guidance and solutions to weather-sensitive financial institutions, farmers, commodity traders, and other stakeholders. Before transitioning to Nutrien Ag Solutions, Eric was the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 2006-2018. Each year, he guided over 1800 students through the wild side of weather in ATMS 120: Severe and Hazardous Weather.


Liz Garst
Liz Garst manages, for her family, two community banks and, for a very short time longer, a large corn, soybean and grass farm near Coon Rapids Iowa. Her grandfather Roswell Garst was a famous agricultural innovator who hosted Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1959. The family has long used soil conservation practices on its farms, and in recent years has experimented with cover crops, high intensity grazing systems and other new practices. In 2004 the Garst Family announced formation of Whiterock Conservancy, a non-profit land trust to which the family is donating more than 5,000 acres to continue the tradition of trying to find balance between agriculture, the environment and public recreation. (See www.whiterockconservancy.org)
Liz has a BA from Stanford, a MS in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State and a MBA from Harvard. She has worked in the Peace Corps, for the World Bank, as Business Manager of the Garst Seed Company and as a bank president. She currently serves on the boards of Whiterock Conservancy, Iowa Advisory Council of the Environmental Law and Policy Center and Riley Resource Group. She has a long career in civic engagement on behalf of agriculture, the environment, rural development and civil liberties.

Joe McGovern
Joe McGovern is beginning his 10th year as President of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF). He is proud to work with the dynamic board, staff and volunteers of this statewide, nonprofit conservation organization that works passionately to protect and restore Iowa’s land, water, and wildlife. Since its formation in 1979, INHF has helped protect over 187,000 acres, including over 220 conservation easements on 30,000 acres. Previous to this leadership, Joe was devoted to natural land management and restoration – serving 5 years with Story County Conservation then 14 years as Land Stewardship Director for INHF. He’s a proud graduate of Iowa State University in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology.


Jennifer Zwagerman
A 2004 graduate of Drake Law School, Jennifer received her LL.M. in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas and also served for two years as a law clerk to Judge David Hansen, Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. After completing her clerkship, she joined the Des Moines office of Faegre & Benson (n/k/a Faegre Drinker) where she was an attorney in the general litigation group with a national practice in food and agricultural law. Jennie spent the 2010-2011 school year at Drake as the Faegre & Benson Visiting Scholar before leaving practice and joining Drake full-time in 2011 as Director of Career Development. She was named Director of the Drake Agricultural Law Center and an Assistant Professor of Law in July 2019. The Center serves as a resource for numerous issues tied to the production of food, access to food, and numerous other related topics, including Jennie’s particular interest in rural development and rural issues. She teaches food and agricultural law classes, property law, and is active in national, state, and local professional organizations. Jennie’s interests and research are varied, but she has a particular focus on rural development, rural justice, access to food, and ensuring that our food production evolves to reflect sustainability, nutrition, and education goals while also recognizing and supporting the hard work and dedication of those who produce it.


Chad Hart
Chad Hart is a Professor of Economics and Crop Market Specialist at Iowa State University. Chad was born and raised in southwest Missouri and his parents raised a few cattle and operated a small meat locker. Chad received a B.S. in economics with minors in mathematics, history, and astronomy from Southwest Missouri State University in 1991. He moved to Iowa in the summer of 1991 to pursue graduate education, and received a Ph.D. in economics and statistics in 1999 from Iowa State University. Upon graduation, Chad worked as a researcher at CARD at Iowa State. Then he joined the faculty at ISU in 2008. His main research areas are in agricultural marketing and risk management.


Andy Burlingham
Andy Burlingham is the Director of Generic Crop Protection for Nutrien Ag Solutions. His roles include managing all of Nutrien’s business with generic suppliers of crop protection chemistries, purchasing of technical materials from China and India for the formulation of Loveland Products Inc brands and he also leads the Global Crop Protection Supply Chain Group for Nutrien Ag Solutions. Through these roles Andy is in day to day contact with generic suppliers in the US as well and manufactures in China and trans-pacific shipping companies. Through these contacts and experience, Andy has a unique perspective and overview of the supply chain issues that we are facing for Crop Protection products today, and going into 2023. Andy works out of the Nutrien Campus in Loveland, Colorado.