Ernie Chappell

Ernie Chappell

President and CEO, EFC Systems, Inc.

Ernie leads EFC Systems, Inc., a technology solutions provider to agribusiness throughout the U.S. and Canada. With degrees in science and business, he combined his financial background and software development experience in founding the company in 1988. He is active in advancing the organization’s mission to bring comprehensive solutions to all levels of the supply chain.

Rob Dongoski

Rob Dongoski

Global Agribusiness Industry Leader, EY

Rob leads EY’s agribusiness sector globally and focuses on strategy, transformation and M&A for many clients in the agribusiness and food sectors. As EY’s global leader, he is at the forefront of industry issues and works directly with client executives to optimize their approach in the global markets. He also serves as the lead partner on several global accounts ranging from seed/chem, agri-retail, grain processing, and meat processing.

Rob Trice

Rob Trice

Founder, The Mixing Bowl and Better Food Ventures

Rob Trice is leveraging his experience in mobile, internet and telecom venture capital to pursue the application of IT to the food and agriculture sectors. The Mixing Bowl Hub is a forum to link food, agriculture and IT innovators. Better Food Ventures makes seed-stage investments aligned with the theme of applying IT to food and agriculture. Rob previously worked at Swisscom Ventures, SK Telecom Ventures, Nokia Growth Partners and Nokia Venture Partners (now BlueRun Ventures).

Ryan Rakestraw

Ryan Rakestraw

Venture Principal, Monsanto Growth Ventures

Ryan Rakestraw is a Venture Principal with Monsanto Growth Ventures, a corporate venture capital office investing in technology impacting food, feed, fuel, and farms. Ryan focuses on companies in precision agriculture, information technology, and engineering applications.

Before starting with Monsanto, Ryan was with Cultivation Capital, an early stage venture capital firm based in St. Louis. During this time, Ryan lead early stage venture investing initiatives in information technology and life science companies. Ryan also founded the Yield Lab, a business accelerator focused on Agriculture. Before Cultivation Capital, Ryan was a systems engineer with Northrop Grumman where he helped to design and implement military platforms ranging from undersea to space applications.

Ryan has a bachelor’s of science in electrical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, a master’s of science in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins, and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis.

Dale Meyerrose

Dale Meyerrose

Major General, U.S. Air Force (Retired); President; MeyerRose Group

Dr. Dale Meyerrose, Major General, U.S. Air Force (retired) is President of the MeyerRose Group—a cybersecurity, technology, and executive training/coaching consulting company. He is an adjunct instructor for Carnegie Mellon University, Institute for Software Research running their Cybersecurity Leadership Certificate program. Dale, a Southwest Asia veteran, was the first President-appointed, Senate-confirmed Chief Information Officer for the Intelligence Community after three decades of distinguished military service where he was known as a cybersecurity pioneer.

Kip Tom

Kip Tom

Chairman, Tom Farms

As chairman of one of the US’ most progressive farming operations, Kip Tom has been a consistent leader in the application of digital technology to improve efficiency and optimize farming practices, achieving continuous improvement in his operation. In his more than four decades as a farmer, Tom has maintained active involvement with industry partners, associations and academic institutions to lend his expertise and experience. He is currently serving in or affiliated with 14 boards and advisory committees, and most recently ran for Congress in Indiana’s 3rd District.

Ron Zink

Ron Zink

Director, Mobile and Digital Applications, John Deere

Ron is a member of John Deere’s Intelligent Solutions Group (ISG) responsible for developing and supporting integrated technology solutions, agricultural, and construction customers worldwide. The on-board applications group produces mobile systems and universal solutions to optimize jobs across agricultural productions systems including guidance, variable-rate input application products, and mobile applications for the iPad®. Zink joined Deere & Company in 2012 and previously worked at Microsoft and in private law practice.

Dr. Raj Khosla

Dr. Raj Khosla

Professor and Assistant Dean, College of Agricultural Sciences, Colorado State University

Dr. Raj Khosla is a Colorado State University (CSU) Distinguished Monfort Professor of Precision Agriculture. In 2012, Dr. Khosla was named the Jefferson Science Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences and was appointed as the Senior Science Advisor to the U.S. Department of State. From 2011 to 2015, he served two terms on NASA board membership to the U.S. “Presidential Advisory Board on Positioning, Navigation and Timing” and worked on the U.S. space-based GPS policy. Raj is the Fellow of American Society of Agronomy; Fellow of Soil Science Society of America; Fellow of Soil and Water Conservation Society, and Honorary Life Fellow of International Society of Precision Agriculture. Raj is the Founder and Founding-President of the International Society of Precision Agriculture.

Dr. Joseph Byrum

Dr. Joseph Byrum

Global Head, Product Development – Oilseeds, Syngenta

Dr. Joseph Byrum’s soy leadership role includes plant genetics, trait research and product development at Syngenta, helping deliver improved genetics and trait technologies for growers. Joe has extensive global experience in plant genetics and biotechnology, having been actively involved in plant biotechnology research, spanning genetics, genomics, breeding, physiology, compositional analysis, grain origination, and end-user applications. Since joining Syngenta in 2006, he has held a variety of leadership roles. Joe obtained his MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Michigan State University. Joe earned his doctorate in Genetics from Iowa State University. Additionally, he is a Business and Society Fellow at the Aspen Institute. Most recently he became an INFORMS Edelman Fellow and was the chief architect of “Good Growth through Advanced Analytics,” a competition presentation that won the 2015 INFORMS Edelman Award for Excellence in Operations Research, which encompasses advanced mathematics and the management sciences.

Rachel Grantham

Rachel Grantham

Agronomist, Hog Production Division, Smithfield Foods

Rachel is a North Carolina native, agronomist, and SmithfieldGro Project Specialist. She joined Smithfield Hog Production and SmithfieldGro after two years as a Territory Sales Manager with Alltech, an animal nutrition and crop chemical company. Currently, Rachel manages the day-to-day implementation of the SmithfieldGro project and spends her time on-farm with participants providing crop management and fertilizer advice, as well as working with the project’s various partners. She is a 2013 graduate of NC State University with a B.S. in Agribusiness Management.