Dr. Bill Christianson
Bill is Chief Operating Officer for PIC, the world’s leading pig genetics business. PIC has operations in more than 40 countries and forms part of Genus Plc, the global animal biotechnology company, which focuses on Pioneering animal genetic improvement to help nourish the world. PIC uses cutting-edge science and ground-breaking technology to develop genetically superior boars and sows supported by innovative technical support (including nutrition, reproduction, production, and health management expertise) - help customers produce safe, high-quality, and affordable meat more effectively and efficiently. Bill has led PIC since 2012, following a varied career within the company. He originally joined in 1993, as Manager of Veterinary R&D, before undertaking operational roles in Europe, South America, and the US. He was appointed as General Manager of PIC North America in 2007, becoming Chief Operating Officer of Genus Americas in 2010 before moving to his current role. Bill holds doctorates (DVM and Ph.D.) in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Larry Coleman
Dr. Larry Coleman is a veterinarian who was born and raised on a small farm in Central Nebraska. He attended and graduated from Missouri Veterinary College in 1980. After completing his degree, Dr. Coleman owned a private practice starting in 1857 and was personally involved in beef and swine production. Throughout his career experience, Dr. Coleman has learned to obtain a personal interest in having the ability to help his employees and others to be able to be emotionally engaged when they are taking care of animals of any species.
Dr. John Deen
Dr. Deen is a Distinguished Global Professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota. His work in research, teaching and extension has been in epidemiology and economics, focusing on measurement and optimization across competing needs in animal agriculture and human health. Dr. Deen earned his DVM and PhD from the University of Guelph and gained board certification in the American College of Veterinary Practitioners and the American College of Animal Welfare.
Valerie grew up on a farrow to finish seedstock farm near Santa Claus, Indiana and attended Purdue University, where she majored in Animal Science. Upon graduation, she returned to the family farm, where she was part of the operation until 2016. Valerie served as a Production Analyst with Swine Management Services for three years before joining Summit SmartFarms. Valerie has traveled throughout the country and in Asia, working with producers in many capacities from production training, employee management, and data analysis.
Cassie is a scientist and a registered patent attorney with over a decade of experience in intellectual property, regulatory, licensing & corporate law, and IP due diligence. Cassie has global experience protecting IP and driving regulatory approvals in the areas of biotechnology and bioengineering from plants to animals across agricultural and pharmaceutical applications. Prior to joining MVS, Cassie was Chief IP & Regulatory Officer for Genus, PLC. Cassie joined Genus in September 2014 from Pioneer DuPont, where she served for 14 years in research, legal, and management roles. From discovery through post-product launch, including intellectual property, crisis management, compliance, stewardship, regulatory data package generation, lobbying, and obtaining regulatory permits and approvals with USDA, FDA, EPA, Cassie’s experience is well equipped to answer your business questions and help fulfill your strategic business goals. Cassie’s unique background allows her to coordinate patent prosecution, patent marking, enforcement, licensing, freedom to operate, and IP litigation programs while keeping potential regulatory implications in mind. Cassie completed Harvard Business School’s General Management Program, adding academic training to the global business perspective she brings, having served as in-house counsel for U.S. and U.K. publicly traded companies. She holds a B.S. in Molecular Genetics with honors from The Ohio State University, an M.S. in Crop Science with an emphasis on Biomathematics from North Carolina State University and obtained her law degree with honors from Drake University.
Dr. Brett Kaysen
Brett L. Kaysen, Ph.D., is the vice president of sustainability for the National Pork Board. He leads the organization-wide effort to establish pork as the responsible protein of choice. He works to strengthen food chain and consumer understanding of pork production practices by developing research-based communication strategies that engage and influence key decision makers. Prior to this role Brett was the Western Regional Business Director for the U.S. Pork Business at Zoetis, Dr. Kaysen led a team of 11 sales professionals who served pork producers and swine veterinarians with their animal health needs. Before joining Zoetis, Dr. Kaysen was a key member of the Animal Sciences department at Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins. Dr. Kaysen earned his degrees from Colorado State University. He holds a B.A. in Animal Science, an M.A. in Agricultural Extension Education, and a Ph.D. in Animal Sciences, Management Systems.
Ron Ketchem graduated from the University of Missouri in 1973 with a BS in Animal Science and master’s studies in Reproductive Physiology and Animal Breeding. Ron worked for a genetics company for 12 years out of college developing an AI breeding program, production, and marketing. Then he moved to Indiana as Swine Consultant for a major feed company providing technical support and training. Next, he moved to Nebraska and in August of 2002, purchased Swine Management Services, which was ran until September 30, 2019, and was sold to MetaFarms located in Minnesota. SMS was known for SMS farm benchmarking, which has a database of 1.7 million sows with data from the USA, Canada, and Australia. SMS was also involved in consulting and in-depth farm analysis for about 400,000+ sows. Ron has authored over 180 articles and given presentations throughout North America, China, and Australia. He is married to his wife Pam for 38 years and have three grown sons and a daughter-in-law. He is moving toward partial retirement this year.
Dr. Deb Murray
Dr. Deborah Murray is the Veterinary Services manager for New Fashion Pork, in Jackson MN. New Fashion Pork is an integrated system with 59,000 sows and markets approximately 1.4 million pigs per year. In 2006 Deborah graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, where she also received her Certificate in Swine Medicine. She is the 2012 recipient of the AASV Young Swine Veterinarian of the Year. Deborah also completed the Executive Veterinary Program in 2016. Deborah has been with New Fashion Pork since 2007 and, prior to that, practiced as a mixed animal veterinarian with Marcus Remsen Veterinary Clinic in Marcus, IA. Deborah is surrounded by a great team at New Fashion Pork which have enabled her to continually strive for improvement. Mentoring students has always been very important to Deborah, who, along with New Fashion Pork, have hosted many Veterinary Student Interns as well as Veterinary preceptorship students. Growing up on a farm in southern MN enabled Deborah to work with pigs, sheep, and cattle and also furthered her interest in veterinary medicine at a young age. Deborah and her husband, Will, of 15 years, live in Jackson, MN, with their son Weston and foster daughter Kayla.
Dr. Jim Pillen
Dr. Jim Pillen is the founder and chairman of Pillen Family Farms since 1993 and DNA Genetics acquisition in 2003. The Pillen business model is built from a long-term, multi-generation view, owning most all production facilities, feed mills, transportation, as well as being partners in Wholestone Farms, a pork processing plant in Fremont, Nebraska (formerly a Hormel plant). Pillen is a family-owned, fully integrated model, from genetic improvement through production and the processing plant. Pillen has a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, followed by a Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine degree from Kansas State. Two of his four children, Sarah Pillen and Brock Pillen, are co-CEOs of Pillen-DNA. He and his wife, Suzanne, have seven grandchildren.
Dr. Gustavo Pizarro
Dr. Gustavo Pizarro graduated from Universidad Mayor in Santiago Chile in 1995 with his degree in Veterinary Medicine, and later in 2010 continued his education by completing his bachelor’s degree in agriculture business administration at the Universidad Catolica of Chile. He joined PIC right after school in 1996, focusing on swine production processes, reproduction programs, and international business. In 2004, Dr. Pizarro worked as a PIC USA production specialist for three years in Pipestone. He returned to Chile for six years working for PIC Andina Technical Services and then as the South American Region’s business manager. Dr. Pizarro joined Pipestone Veterinary Services and Pipestone System in 2012 and moved to the U.S. with his family. He currently serves as Technical Service Director of Pipestone System and as President of Pipestone Latin America. Gus enjoys cooking and spending time with his wife Loreto and kids Amanda, Raimundo, and Emma Luisa.
Dr. Sarah Probst-Miller
Dr. Sarah Probst-Miller is passionate about creating and distributing learning experiences. Her team seeks to not just create information in heads. Rather, the goal is to create living repeatable competencies in hands. Probst Miller has served as an on-farm veterinary consultant for over 20 years and currently serves as President and Creative Director of AgCreate Solutions, Inc and director of Pork Avenue Training Portal. Probst-Miller grew up on a swine and grain farm in Central IL and loves playing the piano, writing, and experiencing life alongside her husband and kids.
Dr. Chris Rademacher
Dr. Chris Rademacher is a Clinical Professor and ISU Swine Extension Veterinarian in the Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine (VDPAM) department at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Rademacher is also Associate Director of the Iowa Pork Industry Center at Iowa State University. Dr. Rademacher received his Bachelor of Science and Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota in 1998. Following graduation, he joined New Fashion Pork as Director of Health Services. In 2009 he joined Murphy-Brown Western Operations (Smithfield Foods) as the Director of Production Improvement. In December 2014, he accepted the position of Swine Extension Veterinarian at Iowa State University. He has led programming efforts in Common Swine Industry Audit, VFD antibiotic regulations, and most recently Foreign Animal Disease Producer Preparation for the Iowa Pork Industry Center, as well as research on strategic antibiotic use, PEDV, PRRS, and Senecavirus A.
Dr. Justin Ransom
Dr. Justin Ransom is the Senior Director of Sustainable Food Policy at Tyson Foods. He works with subject matter experts, business leaders and external partners to develop and implement sustainability strategies that will have a positive impact on the company, the supply chain and the communities in which Tyson operates. Justin’s academic background in Animal Science and Communications, coupled with his broad experience in government, food production and foodservice has proved valuable in helping food companies make strategic decisions that align with customer expectations while growing value chain profitability. Justin has a B.S. in Agriculture Communications and Marketing from Texas Tech University, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Animal Science from Michigan State University and Colorado State University. In his free time, Justin enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter and working on the farm.
Dr. Jason Ross
Jason Ross is a professor in physiology and an associate professor of animal science at Iowa State University. Ross received his bachelor’s degree in animal science at Iowa State in 2000. He returned in 2008 to join the animal science faculty and continue his research after completing his graduate degrees at Oklahoma State University and a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Missouri with Randy Prather, a world-renowned leader in the development of genetically modified pigs. In 2012, Ross was the recipient of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Early Achievement in Research Award. In 2014, he received the American Society of Animal Science Early Career Achievement Award and was presented the Lloyd Anderson Endowed Professorship in Physiology, recognizing his contributions to the field of animal physiology. In 2015, Jason was appointed as the director of the Iowa Pork Industry Center, where he now keeps his passion for the industry driven by working in higher education and in cooperation with industry partners.
Dr. Lee Schulz
Lee Schulz is an associate professor in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University. He has served as the extension livestock economist since coming to Iowa State University in 2012. Lee grew up on a diversified crop and livestock farm in Wisconsin. He obtained a B.S. in Agricultural Business from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, an M.S. in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Kansas State University. His integrated extension, research, and teaching program provides leadership in the study of, and educational programming for, critical problems facing the livestock and meat industry, including marketing and risk management, agricultural and trade policies, animal health, and production and management issues. Lee regularly collaborates with Farm Management Extension, the Iowa Pork Industry Center, the Iowa Beef Center, the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, and industry stakeholders and producers. He has published in professional journals, extension publications, and the farm press and has spoken at numerous professional and agricultural conferences.
Dr. Kara Stewart
Kara received her bachelor’s degree from Purdue in 2001 and her Master’s and Ph.D. from NC State in 2004 and 2008, respectively. Kara taught in the Animal Science department at NC State for two years before returning to Indiana to work for Cook Inc., a human medical device company. In July of 2013, Kara happily accepted a faculty position in reproductive physiology in the Animal Science department at Purdue University with an appointment in Extension and teaching. Her Extension program works across several species, predominantly swine, to improve reproductive success for the livestock industry. Her research has focused on strategies to mitigate heat stress effects in swine, adoption of reproductive technologies, and neonatal environment on gilt reproductive development. She also teaches a reproductive management and a reproductive physiology course for undergraduates.
Dr. Karine Talbot
Dr. Karine Talbot graduated from the University of Montreal in Veterinary Medicine in 2008. She then joined HyLife as the on-staff veterinarian and is now Director of Animal Health. Her work is primarily focused on health, production, welfare, and biosecurity of all the different divisions of the company; genetic sale, commercial production, slaughter plant, truck wash, research, and development, etc. She oversees the veterinary needs of HyLife herds in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and North Dakota. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Association of Swine Veterinarian (CASV-ACVP) since 2011.
Dr. Mike Tokach
Named among the 50 people who has made the greatest impact in the U.S. swine industry in the last 50 years, Mike Tokach, professor of animal sciences and industry, is a swine nutrition researcher and extension specialist at Kansas State University. Tokach joined K-State in 1991. In 2013, he earned the title of university distinguished professor. Tokach is the author of more than 380 articles in scientific journals, ten book chapters, and more than 1,000 extension and non-refereed articles. Tokach has received more than $20 million in research grants and gifts. He also has been awarded seven patents for his research and has given more than 300 invited lectures at national and international conferences. Tokach has also advised and mentored over 100 advanced-degree students and visiting professors since joining the university. Mike’s wife, Lisa, also specializes in Swine as a veterinarian. Together, they have three children, Sage, Rogan, and Fiona.
Dr. Noel Williams
Dr. Noel Williams graduated from the Angelo State University in 1989 with a BS in Animal Science and then obtained an MS degree in Animal Nutrition from Purdue University. He then went on to obtain his Ph.D. in Animal Nutrition from Iowa State University. Noel’s career began at Land O’Lakes as Swine Nutrition Manager. Noel was also Technical Service Director for the Swine Production Division at Land O’ Lakes, with responsibility over 80,000 sows. Noel later obtained a position with PIC as a Technical Service Director to soon assume the role of Director of Technical Services and Marketing for PIC and then become General Manager. After this, Noel joined Iowa Select Farms as Chief Operating Officer and is now is responsible for 240,000 sows and over 800 facilities in Iowa. Noel resides in Iowa with his wife Jacque and his seven children