Winter Conference Agenda

See below for our full agenda. Each of these sessions will be available via Zoom on the respective day of the Virtual Winter Conference. 

Concurrent sessions may vary in length but will be complete by 11:30 AM each day!


Welcome from U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow8:00 AM - 8:30 AM

These sure are different times! MABA President Chuck Lippstreu will give a quick MABA update, outline the plan for the week and share important information about the 2021 “Virtual” Winter Conference & Trade Show.

Update from the Michigan Agri-Business Association and Look Ahead at our Virtual Conference

  • Rick Hollister, The Andersons, Inc. and 2020 MABA Board Chair
  • Chuck Lippstreu, President, Michigan Agri-Business Association
Fertilizer Issues (RUP)8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Fertilizer is as integral as ever, and the industry continues to navigate change -- from increased environmental scrutiny and logistical challenges, to promising new technology and innovation. This session looks at where things are headed, and how developments within the industry can deliver solutions on emerging challenges.

  • Fertilizer Industry Issues and 2020 Developments
    Clark Mica, The Fertilizer Institute
  • Market Trends
    Doug Sibbitt, Nutrien
  • Tri-State Recommendations
    Kurt Steinke, MSU CANR, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
  • Emerging Trends in Fertilizer Management
    Jamie Bultemeier, A&L Great Lakes Laboratories
  • Soil Health and Fertilizer
    Kristin Poley, Soil Health Partnership
  • Safety and Security
    Jody Stanley, FBI Detroit Field Office
1.0 SW; 2.0 NM3.0 Category – 1A, Comm CORE, Priv CORE
The Livestock System 8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

2020 has been one of the most turbulent years in memory for many in the livestock industry. This session will look at lessons learned and obstacles overcome during the COVID emergency, as well as forward-looking regulatory and operational issues facing the livestock industry.

  • Pork Production Update
    Mary Kelpinski, Michigan Pork Producers Association
  • Feed Demand Changes
    Greg Thon, Harvey's Commodities LLC
  • Outlook for Eggs
    Chad Gregory, United Egg Producers
  • Michigan Livestock Siting and Regulatory Issues
    Laura Doud, Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development
    Mike Wozniak, Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development
  • Dairy Farming and Milk Processing Issues
    Ken Nobis, Michigan Milk Producers Association
1.0 SW; 2.0 PD 
Grain Issues 8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

With Michigan agriculture generally “back on track” in 2020, with solid yields and grain handle up, there were very positive elements to the year. At the same time, logistics issues, legal uncertainty and roller coaster market conditions continue to challenge anyone dealing with grain.

  • How Elevators Adapted in 2020: What We Learned
    Nick Reigler, Michigan Agricultural Commodities, Inc.
  • Soybean Issues and Updates
    Janna Fritz, Michigan Soybean Committee & Michigan Soybean Association
  • Road Ahead for Ethanol Demand
    Jim Zook, Michigan Corn
  • Force Majeure and Contract Issues During COVID-19
    David Barrett, Barrett, Easterday, Cunningham & Eselgroth LLP
  • Grain Inspection and the U.S. Grain Standards Act
    Bobby Frederick, National Grain & Feed Association
    Jess McCluer, National Grain & Feed Association
  • Update from the Grain Elevator and Processing Society
    Steve Records, The Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS) & The GEAPS Foundation
3.0 CM 
Applicator Training - Session 1 (RUP)8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

The landscape continues changing for applicators, and the most important thing we can do as an industry is stay “ahead of the game,” especially when it comes to safety. Get up to speed on staying safe, doing things the right way, and minimizing risk.

The morning session of our 2021 Applicator Training will focus on foundational best practices.

  • Introduction: Staying Safe and Responsible
    JJ Metz, Nutrien

Application Best Practices

  • Drift Management
    Rod Stevenson, Bayer
  • Setbacks and Buffers
    Kevin Kern, MDARD – Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division
  • Avoiding Legal Problems
    Aaron Phelps, Varnum Law Firm
  • Transporting Liquid and Dry Products
    Jacob Hecht, Star of the West Milling Co., Inc.
3.0 PM3.0 Category – 1A, Comm CORE, Priv CORE
Fundamental Economic Changes in 20208:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Perhaps no year delivered the economic turbulence of 2020; and at the same time, a totally new set of circumstances are headed our way in 2021. Hear from leading regional and national voices on food trends and changes that could be lasting as a result of the past year.

  • Farmer Impacts of the COVID Crisis
    Dave Armstrong, GreenStone Farm Credit Services
  • Restaurant and Food Service Demand
    Dr. Peter Vitaliano, National Milk Producers Federation
  • Potential Lasting Changes in Michigan Agriculture
    Dr. Trey Malone, MSU CANR, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics
  • How Companies Pivot from Economic Challenge
    Jim Byrum, Conway MacKenzie, Inc.
3.0 PD 
Climate Change, Michigan Agriculture and Market Opportunities 8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

The discussion about climate change in our industry is rapidly advancing. New federal and state government initiatives aim to address the issue, and there’s emerging opportunity for agriculture to deliver solutions. This session looks at the latest government action, and some examples of opportunity in the industry.

  • Climate Outlook and Ag Production
    Jeff Andresen, MSU, College of Social Science
  • The U.S. Dairy Industry’s Net-Zero Goal
    Karen Scanlon, Dairy Management Inc. Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy
  • Growing Climate Solutions Act
    Sean Babington, U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry
  • Ecosystem Markets, a Private Sector Approach
    Debbie Reed, Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC)
  • Agronomy and Climate Solutions
    Trent Wimmer, Syngenta
  • The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance
    Madhu Anderson, The Nature Conservancy
1.0 NM; 2.0 SW 
Closing Remarks: Celebrating the Resilience of Agriculture11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Celebrate the people, promise, and passion of agriculture with a product of Michigan agriculture, Michele Payn. She sheds light on food, mental health, and agricultural issues -- and what they mean during and after COVID-19. Michele will help you bring hope, healing, and humor to address the stress of ag folks. This uplifting keynote will: Understand the necessity of proactive positioning for agriculture to protect our practices; learn to leverage trust to protect your bottom line; identify ways to more effectively connect with other humans; and offer insight to provide the same care for people as we do our land and animals.

  • Michele Payn, Cause Matters Corp.
1.0 PD 
Q/A: Quality of Life Directors2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

This year didn't just pose new challenges for agriculture, it put our state government in a very new situation. This informal evening Q/A session will give us a chance to meet two key state policy leaders shaping the future of Michigan agriculture, and hear an update on MDARD and EGLE operations.

  • Director Gary McDowell, Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development
  • Director Liesl Clark, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy
1.0 PD 
Opening Remarks: Welcome from U.S. Senator Gary Peters8:00 AM - 8:30 AM

This session will begin at approximately 8:10 AM. We will be joined by U.S. Senator Gary Peters to start the day with a brief update on the Senate. We appreciate Senator Peters taking time to join MABA Winter Conference attendees!

  • U.S. Senator Gary Peters
  • Keith Martus, Star of the West Milling Co. and MABA 1st Vice Chair


Feed Issues8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

The feed industry is complex and constantly evolving, with new technology and innovation delivering solutions for farmers across Michigan. Feed manufacturers and dealers handle a range of issues, and this session will look at everything from market conditions, to new ideas and technology, and the regulatory landscape.

  • Soybeans and Feed Issues
    Erin Davis, Quality Roasting
  • New Product and Innovation Trends
    Dr. Adam Lock - MSU, Department of Animal Science
  • Feed Policy Considerations
    Louise Calderwood - American Feed Industry Association
  • Customer Interaction During a Crisis
    Al Gunderson, Vita Plus
  • Interacting with Regulators
    Cody Yazzie, Air Quality Division, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE)
  • Compliance, Inspection and MDARD Outlook
    Tim Lyons, Carrie Andrich, and Stevie Glaspie
    Michigan Dept. of Agriculture & Rural Development

1.0 PD; 2.0 CM 
Applicator Training - Session 2 (RUP)8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

This second session in our applicator training helps you prepare to interact with neighbors and community members, prevent incidents, and manage risk,  including discussion of what local first responders ask of you to ensure safety.

Preventing and Responding to Incidents

  • Precision Management in an Imprecise World
    Dr. Joshua McGrath, University of Kentucky, Department of Plant & Soil Sciences
  • Risk Management Planning
    Shawn Lambert, Co-Alliance
  • Working with Regulators
    Brian Verhougstraete - Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development
  • Communication: Neighbors, Community Members and Others
    John Christian, Nutrien
  • Right-of-Way Application Considerations
    Kirby Wilmore, Hastings Mutual
3.0 PM3.0 Category – 1A, Comm CORE, Priv CORE
Pest Control (RUP)8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

The proliferation of herbicide resistant weeds, emerging plant disease threats, and uncertainty of pesticide formulation options makes staying up to date on the latest in pest control essential for crop advisors.

  • Tar Spot in Corn
    Dr. Marty Chilvers, MSU CANR, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
  • Soybean Weed Control Technologies
    Dan Puck, Corteva Agriscience
  • Wheat Weed Control
    Dr. Christy Sprague, MSU CANR, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences & Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center
  • Identifying and Managing Pigweed
    Steve Gower, Bayer
  • Waterhemp Control
    Trevor Kraus, BASF
  • Michigan’s Pollinator Protection Plan
    Ana Heck, MSU Extension
3.0 PM3.0 Category – 1A, Comm CORE, Priv CORE
The Trade Outlook8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

It’s been an eventful few years for trade and exports, with some real bright spots, and some real problems. This session looks at current policy issues, trade impacts of the 2020 Election, and issues of interest to any Michigan agribusiness with a connection to export markets.

  • Federal Trade Policy Beyond Inauguration Day
    Brian Kuehl, K·Coe Isom, LLP
  • Emerging Markets for U.S. Products
    Mark Feight, International Agribusiness Group LLC
  • The Canada-United States Partnership
    Brittany Foley, Consulate of Canada in Detroit
  • International Logistics Trends and Challenges
    Peter Raineri, A.P. Moller - Maersk
  • Meat Product Exports
    Jessica Spreitzer, U.S. Meat Export Federation
3.0 PD 
Risk Management, Compliance and Agribusinesses8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

This session will review a range of legal considerations to keep in mind as you plan for the year ahead, and beyond. We’ll look at both short-term, new issues resulting from COVID-19, as well as some of the “block and tackle” things you need to do to stay on the right side of the law!

  • Audit, Financial and Management Considerations
    Todd Hoppe - Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC
  • Tax Impacts of the 2020 Election
    Doug Mitchell, K·Coe Isom, LLP
  • Environmental Compliance
    Kurt Brauer, Warner Norcross + Judd LLP
  • Farm and Agribusiness Succession Planning
    Art Littlefield, Lincoln Financial Agribusiness Services
  • Risk Management Planning and Crisis Response
    Steve Kluting, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
1.0 SW; 2.0 PD 
Closing Remarks: Delivering Solutions Through Tech and Innovation11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
  • Rob Dunlop, VP, Innovation & Technology Adoption, Nutrien Ag Solutions
1.0 CM 
An Hour With the Experts: Auto Industry Changes and the Ag Industry4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

This expert discussion will provide insight on the future of the auto industry, and potential agricultural applications in a "look ahead" conversation and Q/A opportunity.

  • Rohan Patel, Tesla
1.0 PD 
Q/A: The Next Congress5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

This is a special opportunity to hear from U.S. Representative-elect Lisa McClain, who will be headed to Congress next year to represent Michigan's 10th Congressional District, and ask questions about the upcoming Congress.

  • Hon. Lisa McClain, U.S. Representative-Elect (MI-10)
Opening Remarks: Safety8:00 AM - 8:30 AM

Safety is central to everything we do, even at a time when we're moving fast and there are new distractions. Join a leading safety advisor to talk about some key things you need to remember each day when heading to work.

  • Joe Mlynek
    Safety Made Simple, Inc.
0.5 PD 
Evolution of the Value Chain and Buyer Demands8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

We’ve been talking about sustainability and the food system for years now, and we know end user demands are making their way to the farm. What’s the latest, how should the industry respond, and where is the market opportunity?

  • Delivering to Buyer and Consumer Expectation
    Ric Herrera, Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch
  • Sustainability in CPG
    Chris Adamo, Danone North America
  • Animal Welfare Issues
    Peter Ruddell, Honigman LLP
  • Translating On-Farm Practices to Public Knowledge
    Dr. Tim Boring, Michigan Agriculture Advancement
1.0 PD; 2.0 CM 
Infrastructure and Agriculture8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

If you can’t keep the lights on or can’t move products to where they’re wanted and needed, you’re out of luck. This session reviews how the industry is tackling infrastructure and logistics hurdles, and considers the outlook for 2021 along with future issues.

  • Rail
    Mark Nagy, Great Lakes Central Railroad
  • Truck Transportation Issues
    Brian Brink, Brink Farms, Inc.
  • Rural Roads
    Denise Donohue, County Road Association of Michigan
  • Solar Energy and Michigan
    Drew Vielbig, Ranger Power
    Sean Harris, Ranger Power
  • Energy Efficiency and Agricultural Programs
    Derek Kirchner, Consumers Energy
    Duane Watson, Consumers Energy
3.0 PD 
Saginaw Valley Production (RUP)8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Michigan’s Saginaw Valley is one of the most interesting agricultural regions throughout the Midwest, and this session will update on some considerations for crops produced in the Valley and into Michigan’s Thumb.

  • Dry Bean Research
    Scott Bales, MSU CANR, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences & Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center
  • Dry Bean Market Outlook
    Caleb Sundblad, Cooperative Elevator Co.
  • Sugarbeet Agronomy
    Dr. Corey Guza, Michigan Sugar Company
  • Future of Dry Bean Herbicides
    Jon Rush, BASF
  • Wheat in the Saginaw Valley, Thumb and Eastern Michigan
    Gary Kaufman, Star of the West Milling Co.
1.0 NM; 2.0 CM3.0 Category – 1A, Comm CORE, Priv CORE
Agronomy Considerations and Management (RUP)8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

This session looks at overall considerations in Michigan crop production for retailers, and some issues of interest for ag retail facilities.

  • Revised Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations
    Dr. Kurt Steinke, MSU CANR, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
  • Wheat Precision Planting
    Dennis Pennington, MSU CANR, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
  • Soybean Production
    Mike Staton, MSU Extension
  • Maturity Selection
    Dr. Manni Singh, MSU CANR, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
  • Farmer Interaction and Changing Needs
    Addie Spolyar, Bayer
1.0 SW; 1.0 NM; 1.0 CM3.0 Category – 1A, Comm CORE, Priv CORE
Federal Issues and the Farm Safety Net10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

There is no shortage of policy issues emerging for the year ahead, especially on matters related to the farm safety net, with an unorthodox year behind us and a new administration in Washington. Hear from two distinguished experts on the federal farm safety net and the crop insurance program on what might be ahead.

  • USDA Farm Programs
    Dr. Nick Paulson, University of Illinois and Farmdoc Daily Contributor
  • The Federal Crop Insurance Program
    Brandon Willis, Utah State University, Former Administrator of USDA's Risk Management Agency
Closing Remarks: Policy and Priorities for Michigan Agriculture11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

We are entering a new year in the midst of major events, from a presidential transition to distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine, all while we take stock of industry dynamics that continue to evolve. Hear from MABA on policy and legislative priorities in Michigan and at the federal level, as well as thoughts on areas where we can manage change in our industry.

  • Chuck Lippstreu, Michigan Agri-Business Association
Seed Treatment Seminar (RUP)1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Technology used for treating seed continues to evolve and it’s critical that operators stay up to date on the latest procedures, regulations, and practices. This session will cover formulation and application, importance of quality application and plantability.

  • Syngenta Seed Care Institute Team
    Mark Barnes - Syngenta Seed Care Institute Team
    Augustine Beeman - Syngenta Seed Care Institute Team
    Trevor Clayton - Syngenta Seed Care Institute Team
    Brian Devine - Syngenta Seed Care Institute Team
    Joseph Kuznia - Syngenta Seed Care Institute Team
    Rachel Ribbeck-Broadbent - Syngenta Seed Care Institute Team
    Harjot Sidhu - Syngenta Seed Care Institute Team
    Reid Stoller - Syngenta Seed Care Institute Team
    John Wells - Syngenta Seed Care Institute Team
2.0 PM2.0 Cat. 4, Priv. Core, Comm. Core
An Hour With the Experts: Ag Tech, Innovation and the Road Ahead4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
  • Debra King, SVP and Chief Information Officer, Corteva Agriscience
1.0 CM 
Q/A: The Michigan House and Senate5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Hear from leaders on agricultural policy in the Michigan House and Senate, and learn about key state policy issues coming up in the future. We truly appreciate Senator Daley and Representative Alexander for joining us on the first day of the 2021 session for the Michigan Legislature.

  • Michigan Senator Kevin Daley
  • Michigan Representative Julie Alexander
Opening Remarks: Mental Health, Stress and Rural America8:00 AM - 8:30 AM

While awareness is increasing, we simply don’t talk enough about stress and mental health issues in our industry. Michigan State University is leading with resources to tackle this issue in our small towns and agriculture sector -- and we can all help.

  • Dr. Jeff Dwyer, Director, MSU Extension
0.5 PD 
Wheat Production and Value Chain Issues (RUP)8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

This session will serve as a resource focused on both wheat production and the Michigan wheat value chain.

  • Wheat Quality Considerations
    Dr. Perry Ng, MSU CANR, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
  • Wheat Breeding
    Dr. Eric Olson, MSU CANR, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences & Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center
  • Export Markets
    Dalton Henry, U.S. Wheat Associates
  • Glyphosate as a Desiccant and Other Buyer Demand Trends
    Dale Nellor, North American Millers’ Association
  • Wheat Research
    Dennis Pennington, MSU CANR, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
  • Policy Outlook for the Wheat Industry: 2021 Priorities
    Josh Tonsager, National Association of Wheat Growers
1.0 PM; 1.0 CM; 1.0 NM3.0 Category – 1A, Comm CORE, Priv CORE
2021 Agri-Business Management Seminar8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

New for 2021: Day-to-day management is a challenge! Take some time to think about overall business management and leadership -- no matter what your sector -- and get some helpful resources with these “quick hit” closing sessions.

  • External and Internal Communication
    Erin Allen, Michigan Agricultural Commodities, Inc.
  • Should I Keep or Launch an Intern Program?
    Jill Cords, MSU, College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
  • Industry Advocacy and What Local Businesses Can Do
    Jess Peterson, Western Skies Strategies
  • Farm Stress and Mental Health, An In-Depth Seminar
    Eric Karbowski, MSU, Isabella County Extension Office
  • Commonsense Regulatory Resources
    Brad Deacon, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
3.0 PD 
Credit Outlook8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Credit was a huge focus area for many in our industry in 2020, as the economic downturn hit many farmers hard and created serious short-term issues. Could some of this be lasting? And what does 2021 hold for the ag economy and farmer capitalization? Hear from the experts.

  • Ag Economy Headed to 2021
    Tanner Ehmke, CoBank Knowledge Exchange Division
  • Producer Credit and Financial Health
    Marisa Bramer - Rabo Agri Finance
  • Land Values and Investment Trends
    Tyler Pedersen, Wells Fargo
3.0 PD 
Safety - The Road Ahead (RUP)8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Safety has always been a top industry priority, but it took on new meaning this year as we focused on keeping everyone safe during COVID. Look at the latest safety efforts in the industry, both from a health perspective and a day-to-day safety perspective.

  • Road Safety
    Brian Hitchcock, MBH Trucking & Michigan Trucking Association
  • Grain Safety Issues
    Butch Hendrix, Kokomo Grain Co., Inc.
  • PPE Improvements
    Patrick Nellenbach, Star of the West Milling Co.
  • Employee Safety in Large Group Environments
    Dan Fields, Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch
  • Facility Security
    Jeffrey Armstrong, The Andersons, Inc.
3.0 PD3.0 Category – 1A, Comm CORE, Priv CORE
Ag Technology, Stewardship and Advising Farmers8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

This session will look at how technology has advanced in agronomy services, including discussion of imaging, modeling and resulting opportunities to deliver strong service and bolster grower profitability.

  • Imaging Methods
    Bruno Basso, MSU CANR, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
  • The Latest with UAS
    Mike Benkert, Nutrien Ag Solutions
  • Farmer Adoption of Conservation Practices
    Mary Fales, The Nature Conservancy
    Benjamin Wickerham, The Nature Conservancy
  • Technology for Profit Potential and Environmental Benefits
    Dr. Doug Buhler, MSU AgBioResearch
1.0 NM; 2.0 CM