Ag Biotech Summit 2018

Getting to the Root of Soil Health

This year's Ag Biotech Summit, through collaboration with the Soil Health Institute, will highlight the impacts of soil health on plant, animal and human health, challenges faced and the responsibility needed to provide a sustainable future through soil. Emerging trends and technologies that are fostering and promoting soil health will be showcased throughout day two, ending with a not-to-be-missed closing keynote. Stay tuned for more details as they are confirmed.

What's new for 2018?

  • New Dates - February 20-21

  • New Topic - Soil Health Impacts and Emerging Technologies

  • Offsite Reception - Horace Williams House

  • Online App - Connect with other attendees and save trees.

Special thanks to our lead sponsor!

Soil Health Institute logo





Online registration is now closed. 

Onsite registration will be available with credit card only for $100 per day. 


Soil Health: Connecting Plant, Animal and Human Health

Tuesday, February 20

Day one will focus on the challenges, needs and responsibility needed to provide a sustainable future through soil health.

Soil Health: The Opportunity

Wednesday, February 21

Day two will explore opportunities to educate, innovate and create emerging technologies and trends in support of sustainable soil health.


Ann Bartuska, Ph.D.

Vice President, Land, Water and Nature - Resources for the Future

Dr. Bartuska, previously a senior official for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), joined Resources for the Future (RFF) in 2017 for the newly formed Land, Water and Nature Program. She last served as deputy under secretary for Research, Education, and Economics as well as chief scientist at the USDA. In her new role she will ensure that RFF delivers research and solutions for cost-effectively managing key land, water and marine resources that support a thriving economy and society, while ensuring healthy and productive natural systems and building resilience in a changing climate.
Prior to her position at the USDA, Dr. Bartuska served in a host of leadership positions, including as deputy chief for Research and Development of the US Forest Service. She has also served in several appointments including the advisory board of the National Science Foundation, executive director of The Nature Conservancy’s Invasive Species Initiative, and president of the Ecological Society of America – a few of her many titles.
Eric Brevik, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Natural Sciences; professor, Department of Agriculture and Technical Studies​, Dickinson State University

Dr. Brevik is a professor of Geology and Soils and chair of the Department of Natural Sciences at Dickinson State Univ. Prior to his time at Dickinson State he was on the Environmental Geoscience faculty at Valdosta State Univ. from 2001-2007. He received B.S. and M.A. degrees in Geology from the University of North Dakota in 1992 and 1994, respectively, and his Ph.D. degree in Soil Science from Iowa State University in 2001.

Dr. Brevik’s research program focuses on soil morphology and genesis, including research in pedogenesis, soil survey, the use of electromagnetic induction in soils applications, and carbon sequestration. He has also conducted research in soil science history, soils and human health, and soils education. He has authored or co-authored 130 journal articles and book chapters, 17 educational videos, two laboratory manuals, and edited three books. He serves on the editorial board of 'Agriculture' and is a member of the Soil Science Society of America, the European Geosciences Union, the International Union of Soil Science North Dakota Academy of Science, North Dakota Geological Society, and the Professional Soil Classifiers Association of North Dakota. He serves on the Soil Science Society of America Board of Directors and is the Society Historian.

Bill Buckner

President and Chief Executive Officer, Noble Research Institute; Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation

After obtaining his BS degree in Agricultural Economics from the Univ. of Missouri-Columbia in 1980, Bill Buckner gained experience in the agricultural industry in areas of agriculture retail, agriculture lending and animal health.

In 1993, Buckner joined Bayer AG as a marketing executive in their Animal Health business unit located in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. He moved to Monheim, Germany in 1996 where he worked for the Animal Health Business Group as a business development manager. He became VP/general manager of Bayer's Canadian Agricultural business in Toronto in 1998. Buckner was appointed President/CEO of Bayer CropScience, Inc., in Calgary, Alberta in 2002. He relocated to Research Triangle Park, N.C. as Sr. VP of Commercial Operations for Bayer CropScience LP in 2004 and was appointed Country Head for the U.S. Crop Protection business in 2005. He was elected President/CEO of Bayer CropScience, LP in April 2006 and retired in December 2011.

Bill Buckner joined Noble in January 2012 where he currently serves on the boards of the Soil Health Institute (board chair), Wilbur-Ellis Company, Mercy Hospital Ardmore and the Farm Foundation. Buckner also serves as an industry advisor to the board of Trace Genomics, Inc. He had previously served on the boards of the National Wild Turkey Federation, The Liberty Foundation, CropLife Canada and CropLife America where he served a term as Board Chair.

Danesha Seth Carley, Ph.D.

Co-Director, Southern IPM Center, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, NC State University

Dr. Danesha Seth Carley grew up on a small organic farm in West Virginia. As a child growing up in a home with no television, she spent much of her time outdoors. After spending 4 years in the midwest pursuing a BA in biology (studying plant ecology), she left the corn and soybean fields to return to the verdant and beloved hills of the south. Her MS in Entomology and Plant Pathology comes from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and her Ph.D. in both Plant Pathology and Crop Science was from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C.

Dr. Carley is now an associate professor in the department of Horticultural Science at N.C. State, and the director for the Southern IPM Center. As an Urban Ecosystem Ecologist, her area of expertise is sustainable managed urban landscapes. Recent research programs include pollen quality in commonly planted squash and wild-flowers, pollinator ecology along roadsides in N.C., and native plant conservation and pollinator habitat establishment at historic Pinehurst No. 2 Golf Course.

While she primarily spends her time doing research, Dr. Carley frequently lectures at Bee Keeper Association meetings, Master Gardener meetings, and other events where community members are interested in learning more about pollinator habitat conservation and protection.

Glen Donald

Vice President, Business Development, Plant Health Care

Mr. Donald has over 30 years of management experience in crop protection, biotech traits and genetics at predecessor companies that are now part of Bayer Crop Science. He has led two technology strategy-ups from early commercialization to profitability and joined Plant Health Care, Inc. in 2013 as Vice President of Business Development.

Mike Eade

Commercial Director, North America, Plant Impact

Technology: details coming soon

Mike Eade joined Plant Impact in 2016 and is responsible for the success of Plant Impact’s U.S. sales and marketing programs as well as for its relationships with strategic and channel partners in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In addition, building on the Group’s solid basis of technology performance for horticultural crops in EMEA, Mike and the Group’s US team will be evaluating the growth opportunity for Plant Impact’s products in specialty crops, including tree fruit, tree nuts and specialty turf. Prior to Plant Impact, Mike was part of DuPont Pioneer, a division of DuPont and a global leader in seed technology and seed production. At Pioneer he was the commercial unit lead in Sales and Marketing for the Delta Commercial Unit, an area with significant soybean, cotton and corn production. In addition, Mike holds more than 30 years of sales and marketing leadership experience in animal health, agrochemicals, and crop insurance at industry leaders such as Merial, American Cyanamid and RCIS. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

Doug Edgeton

President and Chief Executive Officer, NCBiotech

Doug Edgeton became NCBiotech’s president and CEO in September 2014. He brings extensive executive-level experience in health care from major academic medical centers, research park development and business administration, including an emphasis on community service.

Throughout his career, Edgeton has managed both human resources (talent) and facilities, helping them work in concert to create the right ecosystem for organizational growth. This approach led to more efficient organizations, faster technology transfer and better patient care. Edgeton continues this approach at the Biotech Center, targeting state investment and staff expertise to help North Carolina’s life science companies grow, create jobs, and bring life-changing technologies to market.

Alan Franzluebbers, Ph.D.

Research Ecologist, U.S. Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service; USDA Professor of Soil Ecology and Management, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, N.C. State University

Dr. Franzluebbers' research is being conducted on soil ecology and management for development of more sustainable agricultural systems. Biological soil quality methods and soil organic carbon sequestration are tools often used to interpret the effects of management on soil resources. Recent areas of research are in multi-species cover cropping, agroforestry, integrated crop-livestock systems, nitrogen management, and conservation-tillage cropping. Alan is the ARS-lead of the USDA Southeast Region Climate Hub. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Soil Science Society of America and has been awarded Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America, the American Society of Agronomy, and the Soil and Water Conservation Society. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Nebraska and Ph.D. from Texas A&M University. 

Naomi Fukagawa, MD, Ph.D.

Director, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center

Prior to joining the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center as director, Dr. Fukagawa served as professor of medicine and acting director of the gerontology unit at the University of Vermont, Burlington, VT. Dr. Fukagawa is a board-certified pediatrician and an expert in nutritional biochemistry and metabolism, including protein and energy metabolism; oxidants and antioxidants; and the role of diet in aging and chronic diseases, such as diabetes mellitus. She is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, served as president of the American Society for Clinical Nutrition (American Society for Nutrition), and is presently an associate editor for the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and editor-in-chief of Nutrition Reviews.

Dr. Fukagawa was also the vice-chair of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee of the USDA and HHS. She received her MD degree from Northwestern University and her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Her clinical training included residency at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, Chief Residency at the University of Vermont, and nutrition/ gerontology fellowships at the Children’s Hospital and Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Fukagawa has maintained an active research laboratory where her work ranges from cells and animals to in vivo studies in human volunteers. Dr. Fukagawa’s present work focuses on the impact of environmental stressors (metabolic or physical) on human health, specifically the health effects of exposure to petrodiesel and biodiesel exhaust.

Nicholas J. Goeser, Ph.D.

Director, The Soil Health Partnership; Director, Soil Health and Sustainability,
National Corn Growers Association

Nicholas Goeser directs the Soil Health Partnership and Soil Health and Sustainability for the National Corn Growers Association. In this role, Nick focuses on the construction of a demonstration farm network across Illinois, Iowa and Indiana. The goal is to connect soil health with on-farm management, crop productivity, profitability and environmental responses through data collection, analysis and communications.

Nick’s prior research background includes over a decade of research in the areas of crop production, nutrient cycling and management, and environmental quality. Prior to his work for the Soil Health Partnership and the NCGA, Nick worked in a Technology Development role within the corn/soybean seed industry and in an Agronomic Manager position for a commercial potato farm in southern Wisconsin.

Nick completed a BS and MS in agronomy and Ph.D. in horticulture from the University of Wisconsin. His doctoral research focused on the evaluation of crop productivity, crop fertility management, nutrient use efficiency, and nutrient cycling from organic residues within a processing vegetable rotation. Nick grew up in Eastern Wisconsin with a dairy farming background.

Sanjun Gu, Ph.D.

Extension Specialist in Horticulture, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, N.C. A&T State University

Dr. Gu received his Ph.D. in horticulture and forestry from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a MS in horticulture from China Agricultural University and a B.S. in horticulture from Shandong Agricultural University. His areas of expertise and interest include general horticulture, organic and conventional vegetable production, vegetable grafting, small fruit production, season extension with high tunnels, plant tissue culture and plant breeding. He supervises graduate student work at A&T and will be teaching courses in the Urban and Community Agriculture Program. Dr. Gu’s research goal is to increase on-farm efficiency and profitability while maintaining environmental sustainability for the target audience- small, limited-resource farmers in N.C. With his audience in mind, his current focus is on vegetable grafting and season extension techniques - both organic and conventional - for vegetable and small fruit production. He also conducts applied research on cultivar evaluations such as for heirloom tomato, bell pepper and salad greens. He is a member of the American Society for Horticultural Sciences and the International Society for Horticultural Sciences, and he serves as the professional development coordinator for N.C. A&T Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE).

Kater Hake, Ph.D.

Vice President, Agricultural and Environmental Science, Cotton Incorporated

Kater Hake is responsible for the cotton production research program at Cotton Incorporated, where he leads a team of eight project managers who develop and support innovative problem-solving research with a network of 300 public sector scientists to increase the profitability and sustainability of cotton farming in the U.S.

Dr. Hake joined Cotton Incorporated after a long career in cotton research and management. Most recently he was the Vice President of Technology Development at Delta & Pine Land Company. He has also held positions at Texas A&M University, The National Cotton Council, and the University of California. He holds 3 degrees from the University of California at Davis and at Riverside.

Jerry Hatfield, Ph.D.

Director, United States Department of Agriculture - National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment

Jerry Hatfield graduated from Kansas State University in 1971 with a B.S., University of Kentucky in 1972 with a M.S., and in 1975 with a Ph.D. from Iowa State University in Agricultural Climatology. His personal research focuses on quantifying the interactions among the components of the soil-plant-atmosphere system to quantify resilience of cropping systems to climate change and development of techniques to enhance decision-making for agriculture.

Hatfield leads the agriculture sector for the National Climate Assessment, a member of the IPCC process that received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, and lead on the agriculture indicators of climate change for the USGCRP. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America and a past president of the American Society of Agronomy and member of the American Meteorological Society, American Geophysical Union and Soil and Water Conservation Society.

The recipient of numerous awards, Hatfield was elected to the ARS Hall of Fame in 2014 for his research on improving agriculture and environmental quality and the Hugh Hammond Bennett award for his national and international work on conservation and a Presidential Rank Award in 2017 for meritorious service to agriculture on environmental quality. He is the author or co-author of 443 refereed publications and the editor of 18 monographs.

Russell "Russ" Hedrick

Owner, JRH Grain Farms LLC; Member, Catawba County Extension Advisory Board

Russ Hedrick is a first generation farmer in the foothills of Hickory, North Carolina, where he farms JRH Grain Farms, LLC with his wife, Tara, and daughter, Emmalynn. He serves as a member of the Catawba County Extension Advisory Board and travels with the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service as an Earth Team volunteer, speaking about conservation and how to implement those practices on a farming level.

JRH Grain Farms operates on 800 acres, growing non-GM corn, non-GM soybeans, white wheat, black oats, triticale, and barley, and raising pasture cattle, pasture Katahdin sheep, and pasture Berkshire pigs. They operate Southern Seeds and Feeds and partner with Seventeen Twelve Distillery.

JRH implemented cover crops the first year to reduce erosion concerns and winter weeds, finding many benefits like nutrient cycling, reducing fertilizer herbicides and weed suppression during the cash crop season as well as an increase in the brix levels in the plants thus reducing the need for insecticides. An economic benefit of the operation was to introduce animals with the cash crops, not only extending the time that the ground is earning the farm money, but also increasing the biology of the land from mob grazing.

Wayne Honeycutt, Ph.D.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Soil Health Institute

Dr. Wayne Honeycutt leads the Institute’s programs to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soils. He previously served for 5 years as the Deputy Chief for Science and Technology with USDA-NRCS in Washington, DC, where he led programs in technology acquisition, development and transfer to ensure NRCS conservation practices reflect the latest scientific advances for conserving our nation’s soil, water, air, plant, animal and energy resources. He served as a Research Soil Scientist for 14 years and a Research Leader for 10 years with the USDA-ARS New England Plant, Soil, and Water Laboratory, where he led and conducted interdisciplinary research on carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycling and sustainable cropping systems development. In those roles, he led national research teams for predicting nutrient availability, developed procedures adopted by ARS for enhancing national research coordination, and received regional and national awards for technology transfer.

He is a graduate of the “Mastering the Art of Public Leadership” executive development program at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC and USDA’s “Performance Excellence and Knowledge” executive development program. He has served on assignments to the U.S. Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, USDA-ARS National Program Staff, and USDA-ARS Area Office Staff.

Wayne’s commitment to agriculture is rooted in his experiences with raising tobacco, corn, and other crops on his family’s 120-acre farm in Metcalfe County, Kentucky. He holds a bachelor's degree in Forestry and Master's degree in Soil Science from the University of Kentucky, and a Ph.D. in Soil Genesis from Colorado State University.

Scott Johnson

Vice President, Agriculture, NCBiotech

Johnson joined the Biotechnology Center in November 2014.  He leads the Center’s initiatives focused on agriculture, which have created an internationally recognized portal for high-tech agricultural R&D and commerce in North Carolina. In addition, his team works to foster the state's dynamic ag biotech business community of more than 100 companies – including three of the top five global firms.

Before joining NCBiotech Johnson spent six years as president of Sustainable Oils, a privately held biofuel and biochemical feedstock provider developing novel crops and solutions for the renewable replacement of petroleum products. Under his leadership the company delivered more than 1 million gallons of camelina-based jet fuel to the U.S. military in a strategic effort to source alternative fuel sources. Since 2006 and concurrent to his role with Sustainable Oils, Johnson founded and operated Augment Services LLC, an agricultural management and marketing consultancy.

Johnson’s career has kept him at the forefront of agricultural innovation. He worked  for more than two decades with global research-based agriculture companies in various executive roles including business development, marketing and general management. He was also a principal in forming a wholesale/retail food business in California as well as joining his brothers as a partner in the family farm - the fifth generation of family operators.

Manuel Kleiner, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Microbiomes and Complex Microbial Communities Cluster, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, NC State University

Manuel Kleiner joined NC State in August 2017 as a Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program cluster hire in Microbiomes and Complex Microbial Communities. Kleiner, an assistant professor in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, studies the metabolism, physiology, and evolutionary ecology of microbial symbioses and uncultured microorganisms. He also develops new mass spectrometry-based methods (metaproteomics) to characterize the physiology and metabolism of large numbers of species in complex microbial communities.

Kleiner obtained his diploma in biology (master’s degree equivalent) in 2008 from the University of Greifswald, Germany. He received his Ph.D. from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, where he worked in the lab of Nicole Dubilier. In his dissertation research he used metagenomics, metaproteomics and single-cell imaging to understand how chemosynthetic marine animals can survive in nutrient limited habitats by relying on their bacterial symbionts for food production. For his discoveries of novel metabolic pathways in these symbionts and an animal that can feed on the poisonous gas carbon monoxide, he received the Friedrich Hirzebruch Ph.D. Thesis Prize for outstanding work in the fields of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Engineering from the German National Academic Foundation in 2012. As a guest faculty member in the lab of Lora Hooper at UT Southwestern Medical Center he worked from 2013 to 2014 on bacteriophages and their role in the intestinal microbiota of mammals. As a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Marc Strous at the University of Calgary, he developed novel metaproteomic approaches and applied them to microbial symbioses and phototrophic bioreactors.

Bruce Knight

Principal and Founder, Strategic Conservation Solutions

Bruce Knight is a nationally recognized expert on conservation, agriculture and the environment. From 2002 to 2006, Knight served as Chief of Natural Resources Conservation Service, the lead U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agency for conservation on private working agricultural lands. Knight was the Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the USDA from 2006-2009. Drawing on his experience as a former association executive, lobbyist, regulator and Capitol Hill staffer, Knight has a broad understanding of how Washington works. He also brings firsthand knowledge of farming to his national policy making credentials. A third-generation rancher and farmer and lifelong conservationist, Knight operates a diversified grain and cattle operation in South Dakota using no-till and rest rotation grazing systems. His farming and ranching background gives him the opportunity to practice stewardship and husbandry, providing firsthand knowledge of the interdependency of animal, plant and human health with the environment. Knight is a graduate of South Dakota State University, is married and has two children.

Matt Koci, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Poultry Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, N.C. State University

Dr. Koci's research seeks to decrease reliance on vaccines and antibiotics by examining the body's response to disease and developing therapies that stimulate the body to work more efficiently. For the past decade, Dr. Koci's laboratory has focused on understanding how changes in the microbiome of the chicken gut influence overall animal health. These studies demonstrated that changes in gut bacterial populations are associated with changes in immune activation. Currently, Dr. Koci's research is working to characterized where all the members of the gut microbiome come from, how the environment shapes the bacterial community and identifying chemical signals that allow gut bacteria to communicate with the immune system. The ultimate goal being the development of diseases management strategies that require fewer pharmacological inputs and hopefully less impact on the microbiome of the whole food system.

Roland McReynolds

Executive Director, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

Roland McReynolds is an attorney and the executive director of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA), a 3,000-member non-profit sustainable agriculture organization based in Pittsboro, North Carolina. CFSA's mission is to help farmers and consumers in the North and South Carolina region grow and eat local organic food. He has B.A. and B.S. degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a JD from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law, and has lead CFSA since 2007, directing the organization’s programs and policy work at the state and federal level. The association works with farmers to integrate soil health practices into their operations, such as consulting to develop conservation activity plans for organic farmers and ranchers, along with a variety of other programs and trainings. Under Mr. McReynolds leadership, CFSA has helped establish markets in the Carolinas for locally-grown organic wheat and launched technical assistance programs to support soil health enhancement practices on farms.

Keith Newhouse, Ph.D.


Dr. Newhouse is a plant geneticist professional, now living on his home farmstead near Decorah, Iowa. He is doing some ag consulting and advisory work but was most recently director of business bevelopment with the Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN business unit and was a 16-year employee of Land O’Lakes (LOL).

Now retired from LOL, Keith’s current commercial activities revolve around projects related to agricultural sustainability, ag biotech and international ag business development. His previous activities for the LOL Winfield United group included: leading strategic planning for LOL’s Seed business; oversight of the sunflower, canola and sugar beets programs; leadership in building a consolidated and full-scope forages program; start-up and integration of a Mexico tropical corn breeding program and seed plant, and the international testing and licensing of forages and tropical corn. Keith also led the overall LOL corporate sustainability program for a year.

Keith has a Ph.D. in genetics and plant breeding from Iowa State University. His commercial experience over the past 35 years has included development and launch of new seed and biotech products and technologies for many agriculture companies, including Monsanto, BASF, Syngenta and Bayer.

Sally Rockey, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research

Dr. Sally Rockey became the inaugural Executive Director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) in September 2015. Prior to this role, Dr. Rockey was a leader in Federal research, overseeing the operations of the extramural programs in both agriculture and biomedicine. She spent 19 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture before taking on the extramural research program at the National Institutes of Health. As Deputy Director for Extramural Research, Dr. Rockey led groundbreaking initiatives and activities that have and will have a lasting positive impact on the research community. Dr. Rockey received her Ph.D. in Entomology from the Ohio State University.

Damian Shea, Ph.D.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Statera

Dr. Damian Shea has been a professor of Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology at North Carolina State University since 1993 and more recently president and founder of Statera Environmental, Inc., an environmental technology and consulting company. His expertise lies in the sources, detection, behavior and fate of chemicals in the environment and the potential adverse effects these chemicals may have on human health and the environment. His research has led to a patent-pending technology to measure the long-term (chronic) and bioavailable exposure to thousands of chemicals in water, air, soil and sediment.

He received his Ph.D. in Environmental Chemistry from the University of Maryland in 1985 and was awarded a National Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (1985-1987). In 1987, he was awarded an American Association for the Advancement of Science Environmental Science and Engineering Fellowship to work at the USEPA. From 2001 to 2011 he served as Head of the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology and Department of Biology and also was the Founding University Director of the U.S. Department of the Interior Southeast Climate Science Center and the Program Director for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Science Education Program.

Dr. Shea has been studying the sources, fate, and effects of chemicals in the environment for over 30 years. His research and teaching are highly interdisciplinary and applied to solving real-world environmental problems. By combining his knowledge and experience in chemistry, toxicology, risk assessment, and the social sciences his ultimate goal is to improve our ability to assess, communicate, and mitigate the risks of chemicals to human and ecological health. 

Terry Stone

Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Sustainability Program, Agrinos

Terry joins Agrinos with over 30 years of experience in plant biotechnology, regulatory affairs and sustainable agriculture. As Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Sustainability Programs, Terry directs regulatory affairs initiatives for Agrinos, working closely with regulatory agencies, industry initiatives and other stakeholders on a global level.


Terry also leads the development of Agrinos’ sustainability programs, partnering with customers and other organizations to demonstrate and quantify the value of Agrinos products as an important part of public and private sustainability programs.

Prior to joining Agrinos, Terry held leadership roles with Syngenta, The Scotts Company and Monsanto working in research and development, global regulatory affairs, sustainability and industry relations. He has earned Master’s degrees in International Business and Entomology.

Elizabeth Stulberg, Ph.D.

Science Policy Manager, Alliance of Crop, Soil and Environmental Science Societies

Dr. Stulberg serves as a scientist liaison between government and academia, utilizing science to achieve policy objectives and translating federal policy to the academic community for the Alliance of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Science Societies (ACSESS). ACSESS represents three scientific societies, the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. The DC-based policy office, where Dr. Stulberg is located, tracks federal actions in agriculture and environmental sciences, provides members with action items and updates, and serves as a scientific resource for Congress. She specializes in food systems policy with particular interest in microbiomes and microbiology, agriculture education, diversity and inclusion, and the public perception of agriculture. 

Prior to joining ACSESS, Elizabeth worked as an Agriculture Science Fellow in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Chief Scientist, and spent two years in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as the Senior Advisor for Food and Life Sciences. She began her science policy career as a legislative assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives with Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) through an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Congressional Fellowship sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology. Elizabeth received her Ph.D. from Yale University for her research on the interactions among plants, soil and microbes and on the biochemistry of natural products.

Keith Vodrazka

Head of Strategy, Commercial Technology Alignment, Cool Planet

Keith is the head of Strategy, Commercial, and Technology Alignment for Cool Planet. In his role, Keith is responsible for ensuring strategic alignment between the commercial and R&D teams as Cool Planet continues to advance its Engineered BioCarbonTM technology known as Cool Terra TM.

Prior to joining Cool Planet, Keith spent over fourteen years at Bayer CropScience where he progressed through roles in Technical Service, Field Development, Business Development and Marketing, while working with a broad portfolio of products in both row crops and specialty markets. Keith led the North American Seed Enhancement Business for Arysta Lifescience from 2013-2016 before joining Plant Impact as Strategic Marketing Manager to help launch their crop enhancement business in the U.S.

Keith is based in the Raleigh, N.C. area.

Steve Warshawer

Owner, Mesa Top Farm; Founder, Beneficial Farms CSA

Steve Warshawer has lived and worked in New Mexico since 1976 working in agricultural product development and marketing. He founded and operates Beneficial Farms CSA, and Mesa Top Farm in Santa Fe County utilizing the latest techniques for soil and water conservation, green energy production, and direct marketing. Steve has also founded a collaborative and pooled marketing and distribution system of premium eggs and vegetables under the name Beneficial.

Since then has been employed as the Enterprise Development Manager for La Montanita Cooperative, an Albuquerque based, four-store consumer-owned grocery chain. He was based at La Montanita’s Cooperative Distribution Center, which offers transportation, distribution, and business improvement services to local and regional producers.

He works state- and region-wide developing values-based value chains to support food producers of all scales. He sat on the Santa Fe City/County Council on Food Policy. Steve also helped initiate BII-NM, Beef Industry Improvement of New Mexico, a multi-stakeholder collaboration to enhance opportunities in the beef industry for NM ranchers.

He has been active nationally in policy-setting work at National Organic Coalition and National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, focusing especially on Food Safety issues. He began coordinating the Food Safety committee at the Wallace Center / NGFN in August 2009. He is a member of New Mexico Cattlegrower’s Association and the National Cattleman’s Beef Association.

Jason Weller

Senior Director of Sustainability, Land O'Lakes

Jason Weller joined Land O'Lakes in 2017 where he leads the SUSTAIN business unit in developing the conservation portfolio of tools for the cooperative's member-owners. Previously Jason was chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service where led a staff of 10,500 NRCS employees across the country, working one-on-one with farmers and ranchers to deliver assistance to protect and improve the quality of their operations' natural resources. Jason also led the effort to significantly expand the agency's partnerships with public and private organizations – including agricultural retailers, agricultural supply chain companies and food companies – to provide innovative and effective services for agricultural producers.

Prior to serving as NRCS chief, Weller held various agriculture and natural resource conservation leadership positions, including on the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture where he provided oversight and crafted legislation to fund USDA programs and activities, on the U.S. House Budget Committee where he helped construct the annual congressional budget for agriculture, environment and energy programs, and in the White House Office of Management and Budget where he assisted with the development and implementation of the President's budget for USDA conservation programs.

Jason earned a bachelor's degree from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and a master of public policy degree from the University of Michigan.

Mulumebet "Millie" Worku, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, N.C. A&T State University

Dr. Worku received her Ph.D. and MS in animal sciences from the University of Maryland, and a BS in animal science from Addis Abada University. Her research interests include the study of animal diversity for the identification of novel biotechnologies to ensure food security and safety.

Prior to joining the faculty of NC A&T State University, Dr. Worku worked at the U.S. FDA center for biologics evaluation and research and at the USDA ARS milk secretion and mastitis lab as a staff fellow and researcher. She is the graduate coordinator for the MS in Agricultural and Environmental Systems and for the concentration in Integrated Animal Health systems. She is also the biotechnology advisor for undergraduate students participating in the interdisciplinary undergraduate certificate program in biotechnology. In addition, she advises MS and Ph.D. students and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses such as Agricultural Genetics, Techniques in Biotechnology, Dairy Production and Sustainable Agriculture, and Local Food Systems Analysis.

Dr. Worku has received many honors during her tenure at NC A&T State University including the Gamma Sigma Delta and College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences teaching and research excellence awards and the 2011 NC A&T Outstanding University Senior Researcher of the Year award. She also serves on national and international advisory boards. Her research has contributed to the definition of the role of genetic diversity in inflammation.

Diane Wu, Ph.D.

Co-founder, Trace Genomics

Dr. Diane Wu is the co-founder and CEO of Trace Genomics, a genomics and machine learning company. Trace Genomics has delivered the first microbiome test for the food supply, aimed at improving soil health, nutrition, and sustainability in agriculture. Prior to Trace Genomics, Diane completed her Ph.D. in Genetics from Stanford in the laboratory of Nobel laureate Andrew Fire, where she profiled nematode and microbial populations using genomic sequencing. She has also been deeply embedded in applications of big data and artificial intelligence, having led the development of machine learning solutions as a Senior Data Scientist at MetaMind and a Machine Learning Engineer at Palantir Technologies. Dr. Wu's mission is to democratize access to genomics technology and use big data tools to inform actions that improve health and wellness.


We'd like to thank our sponsors!

Soil Health Institute logo
Noble Research Institute logo
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North Carolina Agricultural and Technological State University logo
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Novozymes logo
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For questions or more information, contact:
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Events and Engagement Manager, Economic Development and Statewide Operations 919-549-8858 |


UNC Friday Center
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Courtyard Chapel Hill 
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Ag Tech
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For questions or more information, contact:
Michelle VonCannon
Events and Engagement Manager, Economic Development and Statewide Operations 919-549-8858 |

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