The 2024 96th Iowa State University Soil Management and Land Valuation conference will be held  (in person at Benton Auditorium in Scheman Building ) on Wednesday May 15th, 2024. 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:

Jason Henderson

Jason Henderson is the Vice President for Extension and Outreach and professor in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University. In his role as Vice President, Jason leads 900 extension faculty and staff throughout the state of Iowa to engage all Iowans in research, education, and extension experiences to address real-life challenges and prepare for a thriving future. He holds master’s and doctorate degrees in agricultural economics from Purdue University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Central College in Pella, Iowa. Jason has published research articles in academic and Federal Reserve publications on such topics as land values, entrepreneurship, electronic commerce in agriculture, demographics, and many more.

Ruth McCabe

Ruth McCabe leads the Conservation Team at Heartland Co-op. She is a passionate advocate for sustainable farming practices in the Midwest and has devoted her career to working with farmers who want to adopt conservation into their management plans. Ruth is a Certified Professional Agronomist, an Iowa CCA, and has her M.S. in Crop Production and Physiology from Iowa State University. Prior to her current role, Ruth worked as a technical agronomist, organic agronomist, and research agronomist around the Midwest for over 15 years. Ruth is also a 2022 Nuffield International Farming Scholar and has spent the last two years traveling around the world to study how farmers are adopting conservation in other countries.

Hongli Feng

Dr. Hongli Feng is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University (ISU). Feng conducts research on economic issues pertinent to the agricultural sector, the environment, and the interface of the two. Feng studies the economics of decision-making by landowners, policymakers, and other stakeholders, and the economic and ecological consequences of these decisions, such as greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient loadings in water. Feng routinely collaborates with other economists, colleagues from other disciplines, extension educators, and stakeholder groups. Feng has taught courses in environmental and natural resource economics for most of her academic career. She rejoined ISU in January 2021 after spending six years as a faculty at Michigan State University. Prior to that, Feng was a researcher and teacher at ISU. She holds a PhD in Economics from ISU and a BS in Economics and Management from China Agricultural University.

Alejandro Plastina

Dr. Alejandro Plastina is an Associate Professor/Extension Economist in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University (ISU). His area of specialization is agricultural production and technology, with an emphasis on farm business and financial management. His research focuses on the socioeconomic drivers of conservation practices, voluntary pest resistance management, carbon programs, and agricultural productivity. He is an Academic Memeber of the ASFMRA and has served in the Editorial Board of the Journal of ASFMRA.

Neil Hamilton

Prof. Neil D. Hamilton is emeritus Professor of Law and Director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa. He retired in 2019 after 36 years leading the Center. He lives with his wife Khanh on a 10-acre market farm, Sunstead, near Waukee, and grew up on a 200-acre farm in Adams County, where his family began farming in 1872. He has a B.S. from Iowa State University in 1976 in Forestry and Economics and a J.D. from the University of Iowa in 1979 (Order of the Coif). He has taught agricultural law for 43 years and is past-president of the American Agricultural Law Association (AALA) and recipient of its Distinguished Service Award in 2006. He has written numerous books and articles for farmers and lawyers, including the nationally award-winning book What Farmers Need to Know About Environmental Law (1990) and the 2023 booklet Law For Iowa Landowners and Advisors.

Prior to joining the Drake faculty in 1983 to found the Agricultural Law Center, he taught at the University of Arkansas School of Law and was an Assistant Attorney General in the Farm Division of the Iowa Department of Justice. He is currently on the board of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, where he chairs the Policy Committee, and chairs the board of the Seed Savers Exchange.

In 2018, the Center produced its 30-part video series Our Water Our Land on Iowa’s natural resource challenges. His current writing focuses on Iowa’s soil and water and the many legal and policy issues impacted by how we steward our land and water resources. His book, The Land Remains, was published by Ice Cube Press in April 2022, and the companion book, The River Knows, in July 2023. In November, the Center hosted the 2023 Iowa Nature Summit, sponsored by over 70 Iowa organizations, attracting over 340 citizens for a two-day discussion of nature’s place in Iowa.

Eric Snodgrass

Eric Snodgrass is a Sr. Science Fellow and 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. His current research uses machine learning to better understand field-level weather impacts on yields in the US and to increase confidence in long-range weather prediction. He presents his research as a featured speaker at over 120 conferences annually where he provides logistical guidance and solutions to weather sensitive financial institutions, farmers, commodity traders, and other stakeholders. He was recently awarded the Educator Award in 2023 for Distinguished Service to America’s High Technology Agriculture by the Mid America Croplife Association.

Snodgrass is a co-founder of Global Weather and Climate Logistic, LLC and Agrible, Inc which were both acquired by Nutrien Ag Solutions in 2018. From 2006-2019, Eric was the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he taught over 20,000 students across a wide range of coursework in Atmospheric Science. He won many prestigious teaching awards at the University of Illinois, including the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Teaching Excellence Award, the Campus Teaching Excellence Award, and the Campus Teaching Excellent Award in Online and Distance Education.

Erin Hodgson

Erin Hodgson is originally from North Dakota and received her B.S. (Biology) and M.S. (Entomology) from North Dakota State University in Fargo. She got her Ph.D. (Entomology) in 2005 from the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. Erin worked for three years at Utah State University before starting at Iowa State University in 2009. Currently, she is an extension entomologist and professor at ISU, with a specialty in field crop insects. Erin has a general background in integrated pest management, where she develops tactics to improve corn and soybean production in the Midwest. Her extension and research programs are focused on improving profitability, sustainability and environmental stewardship of agriculture. Erin enjoys communicating with social media (e.g., Twitter, videos, and podcasting) to reach stakeholders and share research-based management recommendations.

Kristine Tidgren

Ms. Kristine Tidgren is the director for ISU’s Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation (CALT) and is an adjunct associate professor in the Agricultural Education & Studies Department at ISU. Kristine’s work focuses on studying and interpreting laws impacting the agricultural industry. Since joining CALT in 2013, Kristine has written hundreds of articles and blogposts to keep tax professionals, practicing attorneys, producers, and agribusiness professionals informed about legal developments impacting their business. Kristine teaches AgEds 451, an agricultural law class and regularly collaborates with other agricultural law and tax professionals throughout the country.

Brian Grete

Brian was raised on a small family grain and livestock farm near Muscatine in southeast Iowa. Through growing up on a farm and his career experience, Brian has been associated with and worked in the agricultural sector his entire life. Brian joined Pro Farmer in January 1996 after graduating from the University of Northern Iowa. He has held multiple titles with the company, with an emphasis on risk management and commodity analysis. Brian served as Sr. Market Analyst at Pro Farmer from December 2003 through February 2014 and was named Managing Editor in November 2011. In February 2014, Brian was promoted to Editor of Pro Farmer newsletter.

Brian is a featured presenter on commodity market outlook, ag policy and global ag economics to farmer and agribusiness conferences, as well as a featured guest on AgriTalk, AgDay, U.S. Farm Report, along with multiple analyst spots on rural ag radio stations.

Brian, his wife Kathy, and sons Drew and Josh live in Cedar Falls, Iowa.