Kiley Allan is an undergraduate student in Agriculture and Life Sciences Education – Communication and Animal Science. She grew up on a small farrow-to-finish and cow/calf operation in Le Mars, IA. In high school, she stayed active in 4-H, FFA, band, orchestra, choir, large group and individual speech, and Thespians. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Women in Ag Program hired Kiley as a student intern, and she is also a member of the 2022 Women in Ag Leadership Conference Advisory Committee. Kiley enjoys her time on campus, as she participates in Block and Bridle, Collegiate Cattlemen, and Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. During her free time, she enjoys listening to music with her friends, showing pigs and cattle with her family, and serving as a volunteer for the Iowa FFA Association.
Julia Brenizer is a Producer Services Coordinator with the Iowa Soybean Association. She grew up on a 5th generation row crop and hog farm in Northern Illinois. Her passion for agriculture led her to study Agronomy at Iowa State University and she loved Iowa enough to stick around. Julia now lives in Allison, Iowa with her husband who also works in the agriculture industry. She is still involved with her family’s farming operation in Illinois, helping make management decisions, marketing grain, and spending time in the grain cart in the fall. Julia enjoys using her ag background to get involved in the community by co- leading a local 4H club and being on the 2023 Women in Ag Leadership Conference Advisory Committee. Julia fills her free time with house projects, walking her dog, enjoying the outdoors, and listening to live music with friends.
Sharon Chism is a 1991 Iowa State graduate in Ag Business, and has worked with soil throughout her career. She is a grain farmer and ag consultant working with absentee land owners and farmers. Sharon specializes in repairing/improving fragile areas of fields to make the soil more profitable and the land easier to farm through field efficiency and drainage.
Sharon volunteered to help plan the conference to sustain the learning and networking opportunities this conference provides to farmers and agribusiness women across the great state of Iowa.
Krista Downing is the co-owner of Triple Downing Cattle LLC out of Linden, Iowa and works as an MPCI Underwriter with Rain and Hail Insurance. In her cattle company role, she assists with daily decisions and operations of the company. As an underwriter, she spends her time examining crop insurance documents for producers across the entire United States. Krista earned her Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education: Communications from Iowa State University in 2017 and is a passionate advocate for the agriculture industry. Krista fills her free time with dabbling in wine making with her significant other Matt, baking with the many fruits and vegetables they grow at home, and spending time out on the farm with her family.
Marilee Jones was raised with pigs and dairy cows. She began farming with her husband in 1994 and recently purchased the family farm she grew up on. Her family raises cattle and grain and operates a custom spraying and farming business. She is committed to transitioning a strong farming legacy to her five children. With so many changes in the industry, Marilee is always willing to learn and adapt to new methods. Marilee earned her real estate license and hopes to be a resource for women landowners. She is always encouraging women and girls to pursue opportunities in agriculture.
Debbie Kassel was raised on a farm in Illinois and worked in the agricultural industry for American Cyanamid, DuPont, and Pioneer for 10 years. She then became an active business partner farming with her husband in NW Iowa and raising their four children. Debbie’s roles include operating farm machinery, managing bookwork, landlord relationships, and volunteering in the community. Debbie currently serves on the county 4-H Youth Committee and is a church trustee. Their youngest two children are students at Iowa State and while empty nesters, she spends her free time walking with girlfriends, reading, baking, and traveling to warm places with her husband.
Dr. Sara Lira
Sara Lira is a Senior Research Scientist with Corteva Agriscience. Sara has a B.S. in Ecology, an M.S. in Genetics and a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding, all from Iowa State University. She was a corn breeder for ten years before taking on her current role leading sustainable cropping systems research at Corteva. Her research focuses primarily on perennial and annual cover crop systems and double crop systems in the US cornbelt. In her free time, she enjoys mentoring graduate students and interns in agricultural research, breeding and raising Simmental cattle with her husband, gardening, hiking and training her English Shepherd.
Chelsea Llewellyn has been with the Marshall County Extension and Outreach Office for 7 years. She offers Agriculture Educational for both adults and youth. She has a passion for bringing women in Ag programs to the area for women to become more successful in their Ag and Farm careers. Chelsea grew up in town but now has a strong passion for agriculture. She plays a large role on her Tama County Farm. Her husband and herself are cattle and hay producers and have a row crop operation. She manages bookwork and cattle records. During the busy calving season you can catch Chelsea juggling mom life, her full time job and work on the farm.
Melissa O’Rourke is a retired Attorney and Farm and Agribusiness Management Specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Melissa practiced extensively in the fields of business and estate planning, human resources, immigration, and agricultural commercial litigation. She is a sought-after presenter throughout the region on agricultural legal issues. Melissa’s work with Iowa State University combined her background in education, agriculture, and law as she informs and advises members of the farm and agribusiness community on an expansive array of business planning and legal topics
Chinwendu Ozoh is a PhD student in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department. She is passionate about women development and all conversations around food, from farm to fork.
Kylie Rosonke is an undergraduate student in Agricultural Studies Production and Management. She grew up in town but very soon realized her passion and drive for the agricultural industry. In high school, she was involved in FFA and showed dairy cattle the summer before sophomore year. She keeps herself very busy during the collegiate school year. Kylie is involved in Block and Bridle, works two part time jobs and attends Iowa State University. During her free time, she enjoys finding/trying new recipes, spending time with her friends, being outdoors, and listening to the latest country music hits.
Lisa Scarbrough is a Communications Specialist with Iowa State University Department of Economics and Extension and Outreach. Lisa co-leads a Women in Agriculture program. She produces videos, designs marketing materials, coordinates promotion, manages websites, creates program impact reports and publishes an online newsletter. Lisa works with Extension professionals across the state to promote educational courses, workshops and conferences for women. She leads the Women Impacting Agriculture recognition program. Lisa earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies with a minor in Journalism from the University of Iowa.
Madeline Schultz is the Women in Agriculture Program Manager with Iowa State University Department of Economics and Extension and Outreach. She designs educational programs, increases connections among women, builds the professional capacity of educators, and stewards program funding in order to improve the lives of women and their families and enhance agricultural sustainability. Madeline coordinates farm management courses for women as well as an annual leadership conference. She serves on the national board of directors for Annie’s Project – Education for Farm Women. Madeline received the 2019 USDA Research, Education, and Economics Undersecretary’s Award in recognition of her team’s innovative courses, conferences, videos and tours impacting the lives of women in agriculture who are key stakeholders in the production of safe food. Madeline earned a Master of Science degree in business administration from Iowa State University.
Luci Sheriff is a true city girl turned farm girl. She found her place in her corn and soybean operation, right alongside her husband, Levi. You will find her in the grain cart shuttling grain out of the field. Due to the seasonal nature of farming, the typical off-farm job was difficult to navigate. Substitute teaching is a perfect fit. As a substitute teacher, she’s able to share her passion for agriculture with students. As her passion for agriculture grew, she found the sweet spot connecting with FFA members. Serving on the Cerro Gordo Co Farm Bureau board, she has been provided many opportunities to connect with young people. Luci loves showing students that you don’t have to grow up on a farm to find your place in farming. We all start somewhere.
Rylee is an undergraduate student majoring in Agricultural Studies-Multidisciplinary Option. Her emphasis areas are in Animal Science, Agriculture Business, and Communications. She is also minoring in Animal Science and General Business. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Women in Ag Program hired Rylee as a student assistant, and she is also a member of the 2022 Women in Ag Leadership Conference Advisory Committee. Rylee grew up in Guthrie Center, where she was active in 4-H and FFA. Outside of school, she also maintains a cow/calf operation with her younger brother. On campus, Rylee is involved with the Farm Operations Club and Collegiate Cattlemen. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her friends and family, reading, and working on the farm.
Janette Smith is the GROW Grain Marketing Advisor Lead for Landus. She has experience originating grain, creating marketing plans with farmers, and leading within the agricultural industry. Her previous roles with West Central Cooperative included regional manager, senior marketing specialist, grain operations manager, agronomy sales/marketing manager, and location manager. Janette graduated from Des Moines Area Community College with an AAS in Agribusiness. To further her skills, she earned her Board of Trade certification in 1998, certificate from Purdue University in Strategic Agri Marketing in 2003, and completed the University of Missouri – Columbia, Institute of Cooperative Leadership program in 2014.
Alexis Stevens serves Iowa State University Extension and Outreach as a Farm Management Specialist in West Central Iowa. In this role, Alexis provides research-based information on farm business management, grain marketing, land leasing, government programs, cybersecurity, and Women in Ag programs. She has a passion for helping people succeed in business as well as sharing agriculture’s story with the world. She is a certified Farm Succession Coordinator and member of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. She is an Army veteran and a graduate of the University of Maryland with a B.S. in Psychology and a Master of Business Administration.
Ann Wolf serves as Co-Program Director for MidwestHealthyAg.org, a division of Regeneration International which is a research team studying socio-anthropological data gathering, analysis and impacts in health and climate-change for rural based, under-served communities in the Midwest.
Ann is the owner of a 300-acre family farm in Jackson County, Iowa in the driftless region. Active farm programs and partnerships in soil and water conservation include USDA, NRCS, FSA, IA DNR, IDALS, IA Natural Heritage Foundation, Pheasants Forever, and others.
Ann earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Iowa and her Master of Arts, Philanthropy & Nonprofit Development from the University of Northern Iowa. She is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP).
As a lifelong learner, Ann has continued training, education, and certification from Iowa State University’s Non-Profit Leadership Institute, the School of Health Sciences, the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation, and the United Way of Central Iowa’s Nonprofit Management Institute. In addition, Ann continues furthering her knowledge in agriculture conservation and management certification programs.