Speakers

Keynote Speaker
Jolene Brown
Jolene Brown is a walking-talking spokesperson and champion for the people of agriculture. She’s a farmer in Eastern Iowa, contributor to Successful Farming magazine’s popular family business column, author of two great books and an inductee in to the prestigious CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame. Her worldwide audiences appreciate her fun-filled spirit and valuable information. She’s on a mission to share leading-edge best practices, appreciation, laughter and celebration to increase productivity, profitability and peace of mind. www.JoleneBrown.com

 

 


Welcome Address

Carmen Bain
Carmen Bain is Associate Dean for Academic Innovation in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at ISU, a position she has held since April, 2020. In 2007, Carmen joined ISU as a professor in the Department of Sociology. From 2007-2020, Carmen was the program coordinator and advisor for the agriculture and society undergraduate major. She also taught undergraduate and graduate classes on the sociology of agriculture, the environment, and rural communities.

Dean Bain is passionate about issues related to women in agriculture. In 2018, she created the first undergraduate course focused on women in the US agriculture and food system. She has also conducted research in Uganda focused on women’s empowerment in the dairy sector.

Originally from New Zealand, Carmen has conducted research on agricultural issues in Chile, Ghana, the European Union.

 

 


Panel
Panel Moderator
Ann Johanns
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
Ann Johanns is an Extension Program Specialist for ISU Extension and Outreach. She received her B.S. in Agricultural Business and M.S. in Agricultural Education from Iowa State University. Ann coordinates the library of materials available on the Ag Decision Maker website, conducts research on emerging agricultural issues, and supports efforts across the state for the farm management team as team co-leader. Ann grew up helping any way she could on her parent’s farm in Southwest Iowa. Today, Ann and her husband farm in Mitchell County with their three active sons.

 

 


Panel Entrepreneurs
Lynn Bolin
New Day Dairy Guest Barn
Lynn Bolin is a big city girl gone country. She grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis then met her dairy farmer husband at Iowa State where she studied Business Management. Today she & her husband own New Day Dairy, a 5th generation dairy farm near Clarksville, which features a one-of-a-kind vacation rental – the GuestBarn. Opening in January 2020 guests from across the country have travelled to rural Iowa to #sleepwiththecows & cow gaze on a working dairy farm.

 

 

 


Kim Andersen
Blueberry Bottom Farm
My name is Kim Andersen and I live on my grandparents farm in southeast Iowa. I moved to the farm in 2006 and along with my husband Steve; started farming in 2014 and at the same time began the transition to organic. The decision to go organic was based on several factors including my two battles with cancer, more interest in growing food than feed (we do not have animals), and the financial bottom line. YES, it is more work! I am a teacher and hold a bachelors and masters degree. I currently teach online for Southern New Hampshire University as an adjunct. I have several enterprises that I have built in the past 5-6 years including Andersen Seed and Supply and Blueberry Bottom Farm.

 

 


Katie Holtz
PigEasy
Katie Holtz is the Vice President of PigEasy, LLC. In 2013, Katie helped her father, Dave, start-up PigEasy to market his on-farm innovations to the swine industry. She is responsible for the company’s sales, marketing, and business operations. Katie uses her childhood experience of working in her family’s sow farm to relate to her customers every day. Taking root seven miles north of the family farm near Templeton, Katie and her husband stay busy raising their three young sons and being involved in their community.

 

 


Alexa Schirm
Living Well
For most of my life, health existed as something *just* out of reach. I spent my younger years witnessing women I admired follow diet fads, endured college nutrition lectures where calorie counting was expected to fix inner issues, and touted myself as a nutrition expert while suffering through my own personal health crisis. Leading me to the realization that we’re approaching health in the wrong way. Health is never about what you can do to your body but how you can work with your body to mobilize energy. A realization I had to fight for after losing my health. Today, in an industry where health has been made unachievable and even unapproachable, I want to show you how to make health simple, proving all of us have the power to live well. Health is inside of you. Let me show you how to live that out.
The Living Well is a space where you can learn about yourself and how to fill yourself up. Believing that health is not about striving for perfection, it’s an understanding that being imperfect is the same as being human.


Holly Betten
Landus
Holly Betten is an Iowa native who grew up on a farm. She attended Iowa State University for Agricultural Business. Her career in Human Resources began 15 years ago after an internship helped her find her path in agriculture. She has an extensive background in recruitment, employee relations, and learning and development. Holly and her husband, Brandon, raise their 2 girls on a farm in west central Iowa.

 

 

 


Kami McDonough
Landus
Kami McDonough currently is the HR Business Partner for Landus’ eastern territory and leads recruitment for Landus.
She has worked in the cooperative system since 2002 where she started out at her hometown cooperative as the Scale Operator. Within a few months, she became a Grain Merchandising Assistant. She found enjoyment in helping the farmer owners understand the markets. In 2007, she became the Administrative Assistant for the executive team and worked alongside HR. Kami joined HR in 2009 as the Payroll Specialist. Later Kami became a Talent Acquisition Specialist and in 2020 landed her ideal HR role as a HR Business Partner.
Kami lives in Maxwell, IA with her husband, Brian, and daughter, Ellie. She enjoys watching and supporting her daughter play basketball and softball and hanging out with her friends on the weekends.


Caitlyn Lamm
Farm Bureau
Caitlyn Lamm is Iowa Farm Bureau’s Public Relations Specialist. She works closely with Iowa farmers to uncover their unique stories and helps find impactful ways to share them with consumers and the media. Caitlyn also helps Iowa farmers untap their own potential to become better storytellers and engage in meaningful conservations on farming topics. She’s a proud Iowa State University graduate, mom of two sweet kiddos, wife to a Boone County farmer, avid reader of psychological thrillers and amateur ukulele player.

 

 


Zach Bader
Farm Bureau
Zach Bader serves as Iowa Farm Bureau’s Digital Marketing Manager. In this role, he works to engage impactful and relevant online communities (including influencers within the food system, consumers and farmers). He develops and markets online content and uses social media to engage in discussion with targeted audiences. Zach grew up on a crop and livestock farmer near Jesup, Iowa. He graduated from Loras College with degrees in English and Economics and has a master’s degree in Public Administration from Drake University. He lives in Urbandale with his wife and three young kids.

 

 


Cynthia Bartel
Iowa State University Biomass Cropping Systems Lab
Cynthia Bartel is Research Scientist and Manager of the Forage Quality Lab in the Iowa State University Biomass Cropping Systems Lab. After finishing her undergraduate education in agronomy, she obtained an agricultural legislative fellowship in the United States Senate, and also worked at the World Bank as an Agricultural and Rural Development Consultant on the first Agriculture Investment Sourcebook. She then served for seven years as the agriculture, nutrition and trade policy advisor to United States Senator Tim Johnson in Washington, DC. A year-long Robert Bosch Foundation fellowship in Germany included placements in both the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection in the German Parliament and within the global headquarters of Bayer CropScience. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Crop Production & Physiology and doctoral minor in Statistics from Iowa State University and Bachelor of Science in Agronomy from University of Wisconsin-Madison, after which she was selected as a 2018 Cornell Atkinson Center Fellow.


Suzanne Fey
Iowa Soybean Association
Out of college, Fey started a multi-faceted career as a Management Consultant in the Financial Services Industry that lasted 15 years. After giving up the road-warrior lifestyle, she was contacted by a former client, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, to see if she was interested in returning to work in their Des Moines Office as an Analyst, a position where relational database skills helped her to develop customized applications for the Business Development team. When planes could not fly for 3 days after the attacks of 9/11 and paper checks (yes, paper checks!) had to be moved by ground transportation, it lit a fire under the banking industry to go electronic. In 2010, rather than move her family to Fed of Atlanta, Fey started looking locally for a new opportunity to use her data skills and found one with the Iowa Soybean Association where she has worked for 11 years. “It was the lure of geospatial relational databases that drew me in, and the fall field work and other application development opportunities that has kept me here.”

 


Dr. Sara Lira
Corteva Agriscience
Dr. Lira is a research scientist at Corteva Agriscience in Johnston, IA. She received a B.S. in ecology, an M.S. in Genetics, and a Ph.D in Plant Breeding from Iowa State University. Dr. Lira spent ten years as a corn breeder at Corteva but has recently turned her focus to breeding for emerging climate-positive cropping systems. Her work has lately emphasized the development of cropping systems, including annual and perennial cover crops and double crops for the Midwest.

 

 


Dr. Amani Elobeid
Department of Economics at Iowa State University
Dr. Amani Elobeid is a Teaching Professor and the Ron and Lynn Deiter Endowed Chair for Sustaining Excellence in Agricultural Business in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University. She teaches undergraduate courses that meet Agricultural Business degree requirements, is responsible for recruiting, advising, and retaining Agricultural Business majors as well as cultivating relationships with the Agricultural Business industry. She is also an advisor of the nationally recognized Agricultural Business Club. In addition to her teaching and advising, Dr. Elobeid maintains an active research program centering on agricultural and biofuel markets and international trade. Dr. Elobeid received her BS in economics from the University of Khartoum, Sudan. She first came to Iowa State University as a Fulbright Scholar where she received her MS and PhD degrees in economics.