Speakers

Andrew Rosychuk

Andrew Rosychuk

Andrew, a city slicker turned haskap fruit farmer, has built his dream and is developing a new industry, founder of the Haskap Alberta Association and a founding shareholder of North 49 Fruit Corp- sales/marketing of Canadian fruit.

Born and raised in Edmonton, Andrew achieved a diploma in Production Horticulture at Olds College, AB, before entering the trades, now working as a Suncor Execution Coordinator. All his profits seed into the expense of starting a haskap farm from scratch, buying 76 acres in Alcomdale, AB, planting a 26 acre orchard, and currently planning a small processing center.

Large commodity farms have opened up opportunities for specialty growers, aided by the ease of social media and the support of the Alberta Government, creating market diversify with the hopes of long-term sustainability.

Customers want connections: connection to their food, the land, and the people growing. Andrew is building this connection because he strongly believes in haskap fruit, in the power of local, and is driven to prove that the small family farm is alive and growing.

Concurrent Session 1 – Tuesday, Nov 6
Agriculture Topic: Bees, Berries & Beer – How young entrepreneurs are taking over agriculture

Bud Mercer

Bud Mercer

Bud Mercer is the retired Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Plenary Properties LTAP which is an affiliate company of Plenary Group Canada. Plenary Group, formed in 2005, is Canada’s leading Public Private Partnership (PPP) Developer employing people across Canada with offices in Toronto, Edmonton, Vancouver and most recently Ottawa.

Prior to Bud taking on his responsibilities as the CEO of Plenary Properties LTAP on the 1st of December 2010, Bud was a member of Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Bud joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1976. His career spanned 34 plus years and throughout those years he served Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the far north and points between. He has extensive policing experience at the City (municipal), Provincial, Federal and International levels. In Bud’s last 10 years with the RCMP he served at Command and Executive levels within these business lines. In these various capacities, Bud represented the RCMP while working in the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia.

In October 2007, then Assistant Commissioner Bud Mercer assumed responsibilities as the Chief Operating Officer for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games Integrated Security Unit. In this role, Assistant Commissioner Bud Mercer was responsible for all aspects of security planning for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Assistant Commissioner Mercer commanded approximately 15,000 personnel and had responsibility for a budget in excess of 550 million dollars.

Bud is married, has four children, 5 grandchildren and now lives in the Lower Mainland area in the Province of British Columbia.

Plenary Speaker 2 – Tuesday, Nov 6
Plenary Title: The Future of Special Event Security in a New World

Plenary Brief:

This presentation will take a look back at the planning process for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler. What worked and what didn’t? How has our world changed since 2010 and what have we learned? What does this mean for future major event planning?
Cherilyn Nagel

Cherilyn Nagel

Cherilyn Nagel along with her husband David and family, are farming 18,000 acres in south central Saskatchewan.

In 2004, Cherilyn was elected as President of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association and she remains a director on the current board. She considers signing the first durum contract on the open market in December of 2011, to be one of her career highlights as a farmer.

Cherilyn has gained experience in media relations and enjoys promoting positive stories of agricultural successes. In 2011, Cherilyn was featured in SaskBusiness Magazine as one of Saskatchewan’s Most Influential Women. Cherilyn was interviewed in the Sask Canola documentary License to Farm, which is meant to encourage other farmers to share their own stories with the public. Cherilyn and her family have been featured with Canadian Chef Michael Smith in a video to promote Saskatchewan Lentils, and she has been featured in an episode of Canadian Better Living on the topic of Pesticide use and promotion of Plant Biotechnology.

Cherilyn has traveled extensively around the world and had the opportunity to represent the Wheat Growers views on International Trade. In 2017 Cherilyn accepted a position as an International Director on the board for the Global Farmer Network, where she advocates for global trade and acceptance of science-based technology in agriculture. She is currently working with Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan to facilitate training sessions for farmers on the topic of sharing a positive message about the sustainable food grown across the country. The goal is to help connect enthusiastic farmers with inquisitive consumers who are looking for answers about how their food is grown.

Plenary Speaker 4 – Wednesday, Nov 7
Plenary Title: Turning Up the Volume – Rebuilding Consumer Trust in Food and Farming

Plenary Brief

Consumers are so curious about the food they eat and serve to their families. They have questions and are often getting answers from the wrong sources. Telling your story and engaging in the conversation about agriculture today can help! We all must “get louder.”
Colin Bergstrom

Colin Bergstrom

Colin grew up on grain farm near the booming metropolis of Meeting Creek, AB. After graduating from the University of Alberta with a degree in crop science in 1997, he spent the next six years in the seed and crop protection business. During that time he returned to the farm to work alongside with his parents. On a warm day in August of 2001, Colin became frustrated with the performance of his foam marker while desiccating wheat and declared that day that he would never mix another tank of foam for navigation again. Soon after, he purchased his first GPS navigation system and the rest is history.

For the past 18 years, Colin has dedicated his career to working with precision ag technology from navigation systems, to variable rate technology & agronomy, to telematics and environmental sensors. Currently, Colin is the Precision Agriculture Manager with John Deere dealership Martin Deerline based in Edmonton, AB and their eight agriculture stores. He manages a team of product support specialists including an in-house agronomist and GIS technician and loves getting his hands on the latest precision ag technology. Colin resides in St. Albert, AB with his wife and three sports active boys.

Concurrent Session 1 – Tuesday, Nov 6
Agriculture Topic: Innovative Agriculture

Colleen Dyck

Colleen Dyck

Creator of the GORP Bar, an energy bar designed to deliver “clean” high quality nutrition in the cut throat sport nutrition industry. Colleen creatively plays the role of “David” in a “Goliath” market! Her bars are now available from coast to coast in over 2000 stores. Between running their 14,000 acre grain farm, raising four children and launching The GORP bar, the Dyck’s have their hands full.

Colleen has become an expert in juggling, running, slipping and yes, failing with a flair and perseverance that won’t be squelched. Sharing her struggles, and mistakes as mother, wife, and entrepreneur, Colleen delivers an unapologetic peek at her story.

Panel Presentation 1 – Tuesday, Nov 6
Agriculture Topic: Bees, Berries, Bars & Beer – How Next Generation entrepreneurs are shaping agriculture.

Prof. David Hughes

Prof. David Hughes

Dr. David Hughes is Emeritus Professor of Food Marketing at Imperial College London, and Visiting Professor at the Royal Agricultural University, U.K. He is a much sought-after speaker at international conferences and seminars on global food industry issues, particularly consumer and retail trends.

David has lived and worked in Europe, North America, the Caribbean, Africa and South East Asia and has extensive experience as an international advisory board member with food companies and financial service organizations on three continents. With his American business partner, David established, grew and sold a branded fresh food business, which served supermarkets in the USA.

Next Generation Keynote – Saturday, Nov 3
Is Food Making the World Smaller?

Dianne Finstad

Dianne Finstad

Dianne Finstad is a familiar face and voice in Alberta’s farm community as a broadcaster and reporter who specializes in agriculture and rodeo coverage. She’s spent over 30 years sharing stories through television, radio, and print. Her television program ‘This Business of Farming’ was a staple in many rural households around the province for two decades. Based in Red Deer, Alberta she began her career in radio, where she hosted and helped develop a program which covered pro rodeo across Western Canada rodeos including such championships as the Calgary Stampede and the Canadian Finals Rodeo.

Now working as a communications specialist and is excited to do a variety of projects. Dianne continues to write stories for several farm and western publications and is also a Board Director for Lakeland College and Red Deer’s Westerner Park. Dianne grew up in southern Alberta, where her family has ranched for more than a century.

Dianne was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in June 2017.

Conference Emcee – Monday – Thursday, Nov 5 to 8

Jeffrey Fitzpatrick-Stilwell

Jeffrey Fitzpatrick-Stilwell

Jeffrey is the Senior Manager, North America Sustainability for McDonald’s. He is responsible for developing strategies to deliver on McDonald’s global sustainability commitments and goals; for leading engagement with suppliers, NGOs and other key stakeholders; and for identifying emerging issues and areas of future focus relative to sustainability.

At the North American level he is responsible for: potatoes, bakery & baked goods, produce, dairy, liquid products and oils. Specifically for Canada, he is responsible for beef, poultry, eggs, crops and fish/seafood. He also manages stakeholder relations across the entire Canadian agriculture value chain.

He is responsible for alignment with his global colleagues to develop and lead the implementation of sustainability strategies, communications and engagement across the worldwide McDonald’s system.

He sits on many industry boards, committees, councils and working groups.

Prior to joining McDonald’s in 2005 Jeffrey served as political staff to several federal and provincial cabinet ministers.

Plenary Speaker 3 – Wednesday, Nov 7
Plenary Title: McDonald’s Journey to Beef Sustainability in Canada

Plenary Brief

Sustainability is something of a watchword these days, but when it comes to beef, what does it actually mean? That’s a question McDonald’s asked themselves when they made a commitment to source all their food and packaging from sustainable sources. Finding the answer to that question became a mission for Jeffrey Fitzpatrick-Stilwell, senior manager of sustainability for McDonald’s. To do that, McDonald’s partnered with ranchers and organizations across the Canadian beef value chain in a McDonald’s Canada Verified Sustainable Beef Pilot Project. The purpose of the pilot was to create a framework for verifying that beef is produced, through all parts of the production chain from farm to fork, in a manner that is environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable. Gain insight on the lessons learned from the pilot project and where McDonald’s hopes to go from here.
Lee Townsend

Lee Townsend

Lee Townsend is a second generation beekeeper from Parkland County, Alberta. Along with his father they run 3300 colonies for honey production, with all of their exports going to the Asian marketplace. Their farm, TPLR Honey Farms Ltd. is a leader in not only Canada but the world in their commitment to having a strong and secure food safety and biosecurity program.

His family has been in the beekeeping business since 1970, and from a very young age his weekends and summers were spent working alongside his parents in the bees. That grew into a passion and upon graduating high school, Lee went to college to learn more about bee biology and bee breeding.

Lee has been very active on both provincial and federal beekeeping association boards, and continues to remain active at the federal level on food safety and biosecurity issues.

Panel Presentation 1 – Tuesday, Nov 6
Agriculture Topic: Bees, Berries, Bars & Beer – How Next Generation entrepreneurs are shaping agriculture.

Lindsey Verhaegle

Lindsey Verhaegle

Lindsey grew up on a cattle ranch in Southern Alberta and has spent the last decade teaching children the importance of sustainable agriculture. Since 2009, Lindsey has worked for Nutrien Ltd (formally Agrium Inc) an international plant nutrient and agriculture retail company.

One of the best parts of her job is collaborating with partners like the Calgary Stampede on youth education programs, such as Journey 2050 and Farmers 2050. These free, curriculum-based programs challenge students to answer the questions, “How will we sustainably feed nearly 10 billion people by the year 2050?” Featuring farm families and cutting-edge farm simulations, Journey 2050 and Farmers 2050 teach agriculture in a way that’s never been done before.

Concurrent Session 3 – Wednesday, Nov 7
Show Topic: A New Age of Learning

Matt Hamill

Matt Hamill

Matt Hamill is a founder of Red Shed Malting, a small malt house in Central Alberta co-owned with his family. Here, they process barley from his parents’ farm into an ingredient for beer, supplying the rapidly growing Canadian craft beer industry. In 2017, Matt was awarded a Canadian Nuffield Agriculture Farming Scholarship to study the barley value chain. The scholarship enabled him to travel to Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada touring breeding programs, interviewing farmers, visiting maltsters and meeting with brewers. In addition to malting, Matt continues to work in the agriculture banking industry.

Concurrent Session 1 – Tuesday, Nov 6
Agriculture Topic: Bees, Berries & Beer – How young entrepreneurs are taking over agriculture

Nigel Cushion

Nigel Cushion

Business Leader

Nigel Cushion is a business leader from Norfolk, England. He has a lifelong interest in food, the outdoors and leadership. He is the former chairman of an award winning fast-growth food manufacturing business and of a farm shop. He is a former runner-up in the UK in the Non Exec Director of the year awards. Nigel has over 30 years’ experience leading and operating on boards, and has held 9 NED roles in the last decade, with 6 as chairman.

Today he runs a business, Nelsonspirit, mentoring leaders and emerging leaders. He also works as an international speaker and consultant. He is a Vice President and Council member of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, in the UK, as well as being a Leadership Fellow at Windsor Castle, London.

CEO Session – Sunday, Nov 4

Peterson Farm Bros

Peterson Farm Bros

The Peterson Farm Brothers are three brothers from central Kansas who create social media content to promote agriculture. Their YouTube videos have received over 50 million total views and they have a large online following. The brothers grew up and still work on a family farm near Assaria, KS with their parents and sister. All three brothers attended Kansas State University; Greg graduated in 2013, majoring in Agricultural Communications and Journalism; Nathan graduated in 2016, majoring in Agriculture Technology Management; Kendal graduated in 2018, majoring in Agribusiness. Greg married his wife BrookeAnna in March of 2018. Kendal married his wife Caelan in May of 2018.

Due to their online success, the brothers have had many opportunities to promote agriculture around the world. Their goal is still to operate the family farm together, but hope to make a positive impact with their social media content.

Closing Keynote – Thursday, Nov 8

Dr. Reinhard Grandke

Dr. Reinhard Grandke

Chief Executive Officer of DLG (Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft – German Agricul-tural Society)

Dr. Reinhard Grandke, born 1963 in Offenbach am Main, completed an agricultural appreticeship after obtaining his upper secondary school leaving certificate and university entrance qualification. From 1984 to 1989, he then studied Agricultural Sciences, specialising in Animal Production, at the University of Giessen. In 1992, Mr Grandke obtained his doctorate and in 2002, he qualified as a university lecturer in the subjects of Animal Breeding and Organisational Management. He was appointed lecturer in 2003. In autumn 2011, he was appointed Honorary Professor in the Department of Agricultural Sciences, Household Science and Environmental Management at the University of Giessen.

From 1991 to 1994, Mr Grandke served as Managing Director of the insemination station Zentralbesamungsstation Giessen e.G. From 1994 to 1998, he was management consultant specialising in Strategy and Project Management at Hirzel, Leder & Partner. Mr Grandke joined DLG in 1998. Up to 2003, he served as Managing Director of the Department of Agri-culture and Rural Development, and since 2004 he has been DLG’s Chief Executive Officer.

Mr Grandke is a member of various committees and institutions, such as the Management Board of the Rehwinkelstiftung (foundation), the Board of Trustees of the Lohmannstiftung (foundation), the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry, and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institute (VTI).

CEO Keynote Speaker – Sunday, November 4

Robert Saik, PAg, CAC

Robert Saik, PAg, CAC

Robert Saik, Founder of The Agri-Trend Group of Companies (now a division of Trimble Inc.) is a Professional Agrologist and a Certified Agricultural Consultant. Robert’s technical strengths are in soil chemistry, plant physiology and crop nutrition. He has published over 50 articles on crop agronomics and is a thought leader on the integration of technology in crop production.

Recently Robert, as part of an international delegation, was invited to present his ideas to Bill Gates on how agriculture technology could play a role in lifting small landholders out of poverty and into prosperity. Subsequent to this think tank he participated in a planning session on integration of technology on Indian farms.

As the founder of Agri-Trend, Robert built many educational processes to provide training for agricultural professionals. Thousands have attended his training sessions. His systems have been implemented on millions of acres by hundreds of agronomists in countries including Ukraine, Australia, Argentina, United Arab Emirates, the UK, the EU, Mexico and throughout North America.

Robert is also the author of an Amazon 2014 Best of Books, “The Agriculture Manifesto”. He is a passionate keynote speaker addressing audiences on the importance of modern agriculture. His TEDx Talk entitled “Will Agriculture be ALLOWED to feed 9 Billion People” is a popular online reference and has been viewed over 138,000 times.

Opening Keynote – Monday, Nov 5
Keynote Title: The Agriculture Manifesto – 10 Key Drivers that will Shape Agriculture in the Next Decade

Sonny Gray, CEO of North Star Agriculture

Sonny Gray, CEO of North Star Agriculture

Business Strategist & Developer, Entrepreneur & Farmer

Sonny has a keen eye for identifying overlooked opportunities that exist in the North and turning them into successful business ventures. Originally raised on a farm in Quebec, Sonny has set his sights on building local agriculture infrastructure North of 60. As an active member of the Yukon Agricultural Association, Sonny has been a part of the Agriculture Industry Advisory Committee, a stakeholder’s group that helps guide the territorial governments agriculture policy, among other things.

Sonny has recently been elected President for the Yukon Agricultural Association where his mandate is to represent Yukon Agriculture within various levels of Government while supporting Yukon farmers. Sonny has 14 years of entrepreneurship within the Yukon with several successful service-based businesses to his credit within Whitehorse, including Sirius Security, Yukon Clean, Gray Management Services & North Star Agriculture. Sonny also owns and operates Flat Creek Farms a 78 acre piece of paradise which feeds his family of five boys and supplies food to the North in the form of fresh eggs, chicken, pork, lamb, quail, etcetera.

Concurrent Session 1 – Tuesday, Nov 6
Keynote Title: Innovative Agriculture