Lars Dyrud

Lars Dyrud

CEO, EarthOptics

Lars Dyrud has founded three companies. He enjoys advising engineers and scientists on innovation and entrepreneurism.

Lars received a BA in Physics from Augsburg College conducting research on ultra-low frequency geomagnetic pulsations. He was a Fulbright Scholar in space and plasma physics at the University of Oslo and received a Ph.D. from Boston University conducting doctoral research on plasma turbulence using theory and super-computer simulations and observations.

Prior to EarthOptics, Lars founded, developed and led OmniEarth to a successful exit through acquisition by EagleView Technologies where he most recently served as the Senior Vice President of Business Development. OmniEarth developed and provided machine-learning based imagery analytics tools to the insurance, public utility and land management industries. Lars has served as PI on R&D grants and contracts from NSF, DOE, NASA, AFOSR, Air Force SMC and Industry and is involved in basic and applied research in plasma physics, applications and techniques of tomography, software radio, GPS, inertial navigation and radar. He is the founder of the APL Center for Public/Private Partnerships and has led space-related missions and projects as head of the Earth and Space Science group at Draper Laboratory and previously as senior scientist and section lead at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in the areas of space physics, GPS tomography, Novel Earth observation missions and mobile applications.

Lars Dyrud

Kyle Welborn

Kyle Welborn

Managing Director, Yield Lab

Kyle Welborn is a Managing Director at the Yield Lab North America and serves as a Senior Advisor to the Yield Lab Latin America. He is the board chair at NanoGuard Technologies, and a board member at Eiwa Ag and Ascribe Bioscience. He is also a board observer representing the firm’s investments in Notch Ordering and Hydrosat. Prior portfolio board service includes Label Insight which was sold to NielsenIQ in 2021. Kyle is a co-founder of Cultivation Capital, a venture capital firm with over $200M under management. He is also a contributor to CropLife.com where he writes about investments in AgTech startups.

Ingrid Sarlandie

Ingrid Sarlandie

COO, Naio Technologies

Passionate about innovation & entrepreneurship towards sustainability, Ingrid is the COO at Naio Technologies. After graduating as a mechanical engineer from one of the top engineering schools in France and the University of Auckland, Ingrid started her career as a R&D engineer in the automotive industry working on cutting edge technologies for electric & hybrid vehicles. She then joined a major management consulting firm to develop their innovation management activity before joining a VC firm. She decided to recently join Naio Technologies convinced that bringing autonomy and accuracy to any farmers in the world is the solution to have a global, secure, and sustainable food production system.

Patrick Sanders

Patrick Sanders

Director, Strategic Business Development, Proagrica

Patrick Sanders is Director of Enterprise Solutions at Proagrica, responsible for positioning B2B, enterprise workflow, analytics, and custom geospatial solutions with large agribusinesses. The enterprise solutions team focuses on increasing agricultural profitability via increased efficiency and productivity, by developing and implementing digital solutions across the agricultural supply chain.
Patrick has extensive agricultural experience, having grown up on a family farm and worked for agricultural consultants, as well as various roles at SST from 2001. Starting in 2009, Patrick has successfully worked with large agribusinesses to develop geospatial solutions, including the big four seed/chemical manufacturers: Bayer, BASF, Syngenta, Corteva.

Today, Patrick continues to work with large manufacturers, ag retailers, and food processors. He is dedicated to developing innovative digital solutions in the agricultural space, which ultimately benefit the grower through increased profitability.

Paul Welbig

Paul Welbig

Director of Sales, Slingshot & Strategic Accounts, Raven Industries

Paul Welbig is Director of Sales for Slingshot and Strategic Accounts for Raven Industries in its Applied Technology Division. For nearly 25 years, Mr. Welbig has been actively involved in the field of precision agriculture and enjoys finding ways to utilize technology to help improve farming operations. He received bachelor’s degree in agronomy from South Dakota State University while working as an agronomist at a local ag retailer, then served many roles within Raven to help it become a global leader in the precision agriculture market. Paul was named as one of the Most Influential Precision Farming Advocates in 2017 and regularly speaks at several events, seminars, and conferences about applying precision ag practices to improve productivity on the farm.

Allison Thomson

Allison Thomson

AgMission Program Director, Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research

Allison is the current AgMission Program Director of the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research. She is the past Vice President, Science & Research, at Field to Market. Previously she was at a research institute at the University of Maryland where she conducted research and managed science programs for federal government clients. She has 15 years of experience in research on agricultural systems and their interactions with energy systems and the environment. Her work has included participation in field campaigns to simulation modeling at farm to national and global scales. She has written or contributed to more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, and held leadership positions with several national and international scientific programs. Allison holds a B.A. from Carleton College and a Masters of Environmental Management from Duke University.

Sid Siefken

Sid Siefken

Director of Business Development – Agriculture, BlockApps

Sid has been cultivating agricultural experience since working on his family’s farm in Palmer, Iowa. He advanced his knowledge of the business-side of agriculture by earning a BS in Agricultural Business from Iowa State University, followed by an MBA from the University of Colorado.
Over the past two decades, Sid has leveraged his unique combination of on-farm and agri-business experience to help farmers, managers, suppliers and distributors optimize and enhance their operations with new technology.
Sid played a major role in introducing GPS to the industry when it was a burgeoning technology and is a solution leader in areas including OEM client management and field services management (SaaS). Sid’s expertise has helped modernize operations and unlock new levels of profitability for many agri-businesses including:
• Monsanto
• ADM
• GrainCorp
• CNH Industrial
• CLAAS Group

Randy Riley

Randy Riley

Co-owner, GoldenSun Insights

Riley started his career in produce 25 years ago, getting his bearings at the retail level as a produce clerk and then shifting into other roles such as Produce Coordinator, Produce Buyer, Produce Promotional Planner, and Produce Category Manager. Prior to becoming the owner of GoldenSun Insights, a strategy centric firm focused on supporting the fresh produce supply chain, he was the Director of Produce Merchandising & Procurement for Kroger. Riley is a strategic thinker and is always looking for new and innovative ways of solving complex issues within the produce industry. By using industry knowledge in conjunction with data to formulate strategies, Riley believes that measuring results and adjusting as needed is paramount to drive top line business.

Aron Cory

Aron Cory, Ph.D.

Research Manager, Agriculture, IDC

As a research manager, Dr. Aron Cory is responsible for providing research, analysis and guidance on key business and IT issues for companies in the agriculture and agribusiness sector. He currently leads the worldwide agriculture research practice. Dr. Cory’s research provides detailed analysis on the digital transformation of agriculture, covering topics such as digital farm management, precision agriculture, automation and robotics, advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence, integrated security solutions, and sustainability. He works with research colleagues in IDC Manufacturing Insights and IDC Retail Insights to provide a complete view of the “farm to fork” industry value chain.

Prior to joining IDC, Dr. Cory consulted with early-stage and established agriculture technology companies, where he leveraged his expertise and entrepreneur experience in the areas of automation, analytics, biotech, and plant and animal genetics. Aron has worked as a consultant for Agribrand Purina, Fast Genetics, Barnstorm Agtech and various other agriculture companies. Aron helped build Cory Farms, a mixed farming operation in Northern Alberta that consists of broadacre farming and a large cow-calf operation which is still in operation.

Aron has a Ph.D. in Plant Sciences from the University of Saskatchewan, a Master of Sciences degree in Reproductive Biology from the Universite de Montreal, and a Bachelor of Agriculture in Animal Sciences from University of Saskatchewan. He is a published researcher with several high impact papers published within the fields of genetics, genomics and plant breeding. Dr. Cory’s academic interests involve integrating cutting edge technology to solve problems in agriculture.

Gary Thompson

Gary Thompson

Chief Operations Officer, GUSS Automation

Gary Thompson is the COO of GUSS Automation which developed the world’s first autonomous orchard and vineyard sprayers. After growing up on a dairy in Arizona, Gary attended Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, CA where he double majored in Agricultural Business and Dairy Science. Upon graduating, he moved back to Arizona to manage the dairy, eventually growing it to over 20,000 total head of cattle and 3,500 acres of row crop. While at Cal Poly, he developed a love for the diversity of crops and livestock in California’s San Joaquin Valley which eventually led him to relocate there in 2017. At that time, Gary began farming almonds and he joined the GUSS team while the project was still in its early stages of development. Gary now oversees all operations at GUSS Automation and provides direction for this exciting new ag tech company. GUSS Automation’s sights are now set on scaling sales, expanding markets, and continuing to innovate new models and technologies.