Keynote Speakers

Sarah Frey

Sarah Frey

The youngest of 21 children, Sarah Frey grew up on a struggling farm in Southern Illinois. At 15, she started her own fresh produce delivery business out of an old pickup truck. Two years later she took over the family farm and started doing business with the largest grocery retailers in the country. Frey’s story is one of never giving up, negotiating with some of the biggest businesses in the nation, and building a company that serves consumers with fresh, healthy products. Frey Farms is the nation’s leading producer of pumpkins, earning Frey the nickname “America’s Pumpkin Queen.”

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Photo: Rob Larew.

Rob Larew, President, National Farmers Union

Rob was elected National Farmers Union’s 15th president during the organization’s 118th-anniversary convention in 2020. He previously served as NFU’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Communications, and prior to his employment with NFU, served over 22 years in Congress and USDA. Larew was raised on a dairy farm in Greenville, West Virginia. He graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with a Bachelor of Science in Dairy Science and completed graduate work in Agronomy at Pennsylvania State University.

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Breakout Speakers

Photo: Bernis and Jim.

Bernis and Jim Ingvaldson

Bernis and Jim are owners of The Honeyberry Farm, a U-pick operation near Bagley, Minnesota. They also operate HoneyberryUSA, an online mail-order nursery specializing in cold-hardy small fruits, in operation since 2010.

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Judson Reid

Judson Reid

Judson is an Extension Vegetable Specialist for Cornell Cooperative Extension. Understanding different cultures and their impact on agricultural practices has long been an interest of Judson Reid, leading to his International Agriculture major at Cornell University during his undergrad studies. Judson worked for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Yates County for several years before completing his master's degree in plant protection in the field of Plant Pathology and joining the Cornell Vegetable Program team of specialists in 2005. Today, Judson focuses on cultural practices, small farm operations, and season extension techniques.

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Photo: Patrick Byers.

Patrick Byers

Patrick is a horticulture specialist and associate extension professional for the University of Missouri specializing in outreach education for commercial fruit and vegetable farmers.

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Young Producer Panel

Lainey Johnson

Lainey Johnson

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Eric Lund

Eric Lund

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Photo: Brian O'Malley.

Brian O'Malley

Brian is the Associate Dean of Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Horticulture; Executive Director of the Institute for the Culinary Arts, B.A., New England Culinary Institute, M.S., Bellevue University.

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Rex Nelson

Rex Nelson

Originally from Curtis Nebraska, Rex has a background in production agriculture and agribusiness, community involvement, teaching, and rural economic development, and has the first-hand experience in business management, entrepreneurship, leadership, and rural community development.

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Photo: Trey Malone.

Trey Malone

Trey Malone is an Assistant Professor and Extension Economist in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University. A native of Kansas, Dr. Malone earned his undergraduate degree from Rockhurst University. He commenced his graduate education at Oklahoma State University under the advisement of Jayson L. Lusk, where his Ph.D. dissertation used the American beer market to explore the underlying principles of behavioral and experimental economics. Dr. Malone’s extension program applies lessons from behavioral economics to increase agricultural productivity and efficiency. If Dr. Malone isn’t in his office, he is likely exploring Michigan while he meets with stakeholders across the state. You can connect with him via Twitter at @drtreymalone.”

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Photo: Jessica Groskopf

Jessica Groskopf

Jessica Groskopf is the Regional Extension Economist at the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center and the Director of the Nebraska Women in Agriculture Program. She joined Nebraska Extension in 2012. A native of Colorado, she received her B.S. in Agricultural Business from Colorado State University and M.S. in Agricultural Economics from Kansas State University. Jessica, and her husband Andy, farm corn and dry edible beans north of Scottsbluff, Nebraska. She loves to work with fellow farmers and farm families to address the challenges of growing food.

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Megan McGuffey

Megan McGuffey & Shahab Bashar

Dr. Megan McGuffey is the Executive Director of Community Crops in Lincoln, Nebraska, and is engaged in local food work across the state of Nebraska. She has served on the Nebraska Legislature’s Community Garden Task Force, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Food Policy Council, and the Local Foods Coordinating Council and Share Our Table in the Omaha-Council Bluffs region. Megan earned her Master of Public Administration in 2013 and her Ph.D. in 2020 from the UNO School of Public Administration. Her research focuses on food and farm policy broadly and her dissertation looked at the role of food policy networks in the local government policy process. She has co-authored food assessments for regional and statewide food policy organizations.

Shahab Bashar

Shahab is the Yazidi Cultural Liaison for Community Crops and has worked as an interpreter and translator for many years supporting the Yazidi community. He is fluent in English, Arabic, and Kurdish.

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Photo: Aaron Staples.

Aaron Staples

Aaron is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics (AFRE) at Michigan State University (MSU). Originally from Central Massachusetts, Aaron received his BA in Economics from Westfield State University in 2018. He then attended Purdue University, where he graduated with his MS in Agricultural Economics in 2019. There, he developed an interest in the craft beer industry and wrote his thesis on consumer preference for sustainability attributes in beer. Now at MSU, Aaron continues to use America's beer industry to explore economic complexities across agricultural value chains. While placing significant emphasis on beer and hops, his research interests include food policy, consumer behavior, and regulations more broadly. Aaron has published in several peer-reviewed journals, such as Agribusiness: An International Journal and Regulation & Governance, and has been heavily involved in extension and outreach projects, including presentations at the Great Lakes Hop & Barley Conference and Hop Growers of America Annual Meeting. In his free time, Aaron enjoys homebrewing and watching baseball.

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Photo: Sarah Browning

Sarah Browning

As a Nebraska Extension Educator, Sarah works with commercial fruit and vegetable growers assisting them with production and pest diagnostic questions. In 2011, Sarah began teaching Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) to Nebraska growers, which included assessing farm food safety risk areas and developing a food safety plan. In 2017, she became certified as lead trainer for the Food Safety Modernization Act’s grower food safety training, which was created by the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA). The first PSA training for Nebraska growers was offered in 2017. Sarah also served as the Nebraska state representative to the North Central Region Center for FSMA Training, Extension and Technical Assistance, ncrfsma.org, from 2016-2021. She is located at the Lancaster Extension office in Lincoln, NE.

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Stacy Adams

Stacy Adams & Mark Iradukunda

Coming Soon.

Mark Iradukunda

Mark Iradukunda is an international student from Rwanda. He is a senior honors student pursuing an Integrated Science Major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Mark’s passion is focused on urban farming and how to help farmers produce their own food sustainably and profitably. This summer, Mark is working as a Horticultural Extension Intern at Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center. He has been working on Hydroponics projects where he manages the systems and leads tours. After graduation, Mark plans to go to graduate school in Controlled Environment Agriculture.

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Photo: Jim Ballard

Jim Ballard

Jim Ballard, co-founder, and co-owner of James Arthur Vineyards had a hunch. The many customers of James Arthur Vineyards are glad he followed it. Jim thought his father-in-law’s farmland, situated north of Lincoln, Nebraska, was fertile ground for growing grapes. With his father-in-law’s blessing, Jim planted several grapevines with the hope that his hobby would someday produce fine homemade wine and something to share with family and friends. It did, and Jim’s hobby took a new twist. James Arthur Vineyards opened five years later. A former broadcast journalist and Master’s graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln In Journalism; Jim is JAV’s head winemaker and still helps with the winery’s daily operations and special events. His goal is to produce award-winning Nebraska wine while providing guests to James Arthur Vineyards with an experience that is educational, exciting, and interesting.

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Photo: Dave Gleason

Dave Gleason

Dave is the co-founder and co-owner of Oak Creek Hops in Kearney, Nebraska along with his wife, Lisa, and is the president of the Nebraska Hop Growers Association.

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