Welcome to the 63rd Annual Conference!

Meet your Speakers

Daren Coppock
Full Name
Job Title
President & CEO
Company
ARA
Speaker Bio
Daren Coppock began serving as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) in November 2009. In this role he leads a staff of eight people to accomplish the mission of the ARA, which is to ensure a profitable business environment for members of the association through its public policy work in Washington, DC. ARA also provides additional value to members through a variety of educational and leadership training opportunities, an informative and social annual conference, and regular updates on key legislative and regulatory issues.
Chris Novak
Full Name
Job Title
CropLife America President
Company
CLA
Speaker Bio
Chris Novak is the President and Chief Executive Officer of CropLife America (CLA). Established in 1933, CLA represents the developers, manufacturers, formulators and distributors of plant science solutions for agriculture and pest management in the United States. CLA’s member companies produce, sell and distribute virtually all of the vital and necessary crop protection and biotechnology products used by American farmers. Novak joined CLA in August 2018
Jason Troendle
Full Name
Job Title
Economist
Company
The Fertilizer Institute
Speaker Bio
Jason Troendle serves as the Economist for The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and helps to provide data, information, and reports on the entire fertilizer industry. Prior to joining TFI, Jason worked in agricultural consulting and as a part of another trade association. He has strong agricultural roots growing up in rural MN and has an undergraduate degree in Agricultural Economics from Kansas State and a masters in Applied Economics with a focus in Food and Agriculture from Cornell University.
Tim McArdle
Full Name
Company
Responsible Ag
Speaker Bio
Tim McArdle is the Ambassador for Responsible Ag, an industry-driven safety and compliance organization. In this role, Tim provides insights about Responsible Ag and assists retailers in becoming members. Tim recently retired as Corporate VP of Brandt in Springfield, Illinois, where he was responsible for 25 retail locations and wholesale fertilizer operations. Tim is the past chairman of the Ag Retailers Association and Responsible Ag. He grew up on a farm in southeast Alabama and received his Master of Science degree from Auburn University.
Scott Bedke
Full Name
Job Title
Speaker of the House
Company
Idaho Representative
Speaker Bio
Born in Twin Falls; graduated Oakley High School; bachelor’s degree in finance from Brigham Young University; rancher; member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; former president of Idaho Cattle Association; former director of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; former Oakley City Council member; Joint Finance & Appropriations Committee; Revenue & Taxation Committee; Resources & Conservation Committee; Transportation & Defense Committee; Chair Economic Outlook & Revenue Assessment Committee; Credit Rating Enhancement Committee; Speaker of the House (December 2012-present); spouse: Sarah; four children; 14 grandchildren.
Leslie Druffel
Full Name
Job Title
Outreach Director
Company
The Mcgregor Co.
Speaker Bio
TBD
David Modde
Full Name
Job Title
Safety Specialist
Company
J.R. Simplot Company
Speaker Bio
David was born and raised in the Helena, Montana, area. Aside from his degree in Environmental, Health, and Safety from the Columbia Southern University, his most valuable education came from serving in United States Air Force where he learned to work smarter not harder, being an avid listener, and spending time with the employees. Employed by Valley Wide Cooperative and then J.R. Simplot for the past 10 years, David works closely with all aspects of agriculture, from agribusiness, farming to ranching and animal feed production. His efforts have focused mainly on safety policy, sustainability, and environmental issues – spending considerable time lately on training and reducing recordable injury. David has conducted over 3000 hours of training and has been authorized to conduct OSHA 10- & 30-hour outreach course for 9 years.
Rob Osburn
Full Name
Job Title
Technical Manager, Product & Field Development
Company
Precision Laboratories, LLC
Speaker Bio
As Product and Field Development Technical Manager at Precision Laboratories, Dr. Rob Osburn brings 35 years of agricultural experience in product development across a wide range of crop inputs. In his 11 years at Precision, Dr. Osburn has been instrumental in technical product development and sales support across the company product portfolio. One of his primary areas of responsibility since 2014 has been development and commercialization of the range of soil surfactant water management products for irrigation injection, with particular focus on field performance and validation. Dr. Osburn has a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining Precision Laboratories, he started his career at Gustafson, Inc. working on development and commercialization of seed treatment pesticide products. This was followed by 18 years at what was then the Nitragin Company (ultimately EMD Crop BioScience and Monsanto BioAg), where he managed the research group and was responsible for technical development of many different seed, furrow, and foliar-applied microbial and biochemical products, and ultimately Monsanto as part of their seed treatment group, where he was responsible for technical development of the Acceleron seed treatment system for soybeans.
Edwin Suarez
Full Name
Job Title
Sr. Agronomist
Company
Koch Agronomic Services
Speaker Bio
Edwin Suarez is the Senior Agronomist for Koch Agronomics Services. In the past he has worked with organizations such as United Nations Environmental Program and the USDA NLAE Lab (former Soil Tilth Lab). Suarez also worked for Purdue University where he obtained his graduate degree. He has worked with The US Potato Industry under different roles in multiple projects. More recently his work has been with the Ag Retail Industry. His main area of expertise is soil fertility and plant nutrition with emphasis on soil health and nutrient management.
Zach Worden
Full Name
Job Title
Agronomy Business Director
Company
Telus Agriculture
Speaker Bio
Zach Worden serves as Agronomy Business Director in TELUS Agriculture's Agribusiness Division. Zach began his career at Agrian as an intern and quickly rose through the ranks holding leadership positions within Agrian's Client Success department. His client skills and passion for technology and agriculture have made for a successful career trajectory. Zach received his bachelor's degree in Agriculture Business from California State University, Fresno. Outside of the office, Zach is an avid golfer and hunter.
Mir Seyedbagheri
Full Name
Company
BioGro Inc.
Speaker Bio
Mir is the Director of Research and Development for BioGro Inc and Professor Emeritus at the University of Idaho. Mir has 40 years of applied research experience in soil health, nutrients, water-use efficiencies, and salt bioremediation. A pioneer in promoting humic substances in the Pacific Northwest, Mir has also gained international recognition for on-farm applied research on regenerative agriculture and his innovative, applied research on the effects of functional nanocarbons on soil and plant metabolisms. In addition, Mir is the recipient of 34 scholarly and prestigious awards, including the 2016 Hall of Fame Award in Agriculture.
Linda Schott
Full Name
Job Title
Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist- Waste and Nutrient Management
Company
University of Idaho
Speaker Bio
Linda joined the University of Idaho (UI) as the Soil and Nutrient Management Extension Specialist based in Twin Falls in January 2019. Originally
from Iowa, she received her MS at Iowa State University and Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Agricultural Engineering. Dr. Schott's
research and extension program focuses on how management practices, such as tillage, cover crops, and manure application, impact soil
health and water quality.
Jason Riopel
Full Name
Job Title
Bayer Carbon Process Improvement Lead
Company
Bayer
Speaker Bio
Jason is a graduate of North Dakota State University with a bachelor's and master's degree in Natural Resources Management with an emphasis in Soil Science. In his master's research he took part in a large project setting benchmark soil carbon levels in CRP for 5 states from Montana to Iowa. Some of this data was recently published in an article in the SSSA Journal of Soil & Water Management & Conservation. After grad school he spent over 3 years in research agronomy in western North Dakota working in Winter Wheat, over 6 years in the oil and natural gas industry, and multiple roles within Bayer. At Bayer he worked in Crop Protection for 2 years before transitioning to his current role on the Bayer Carbon team. In his current position he works with the operations team to work with farmers on the carbon journey through enrollment, data collection, verification, validation, and payment. Outside of work Jason enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife, 3 boys, and yellow lab. They currently reside in a small town in Missouri.
Michael Larkin
Full Name
Company
Helena Agri-Enterprises LLC
Speaker Bio
Michael Larkin has worked extensively in the West, Northwest, and Northern Plains as a technical agronomist supporting retail sales and precision ag initiatives in many geographies and across a diverse array of crops and cropping systems. His expertise in soils, plant nutrition, and interpreting soil, plant, and water analyses has helped many growers improve and increase productivity. He earned a BS in Agronomy and MS in Soil Science from Utah State University.
Kendall Kahl
Full Name
Job Title
Research Specialist
Company
University of Idaho
Speaker Bio
Kahl manages the Soil and Water Resources Lab where much of the research is focused around carbon and nitrogen cycling, earthworm ecology and soil health monitoring in regional conservation agriculture soils and native ecosystems.
Abigail Tomasek
Full Name
Job Title
Assistant Professor, Extension Soil Water Quality Specialist
Company
Oregon State University
Speaker Bio
Dr. Abigail Tomasek is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences and is the statewide Soil and Water Quality Extension Specialist at Oregon State University. She has worked locally and internationally on the effects of land management practices on soil and water quality, and she is broadly interested in developing and implementing practices that promote agricultural productivity while maintaining environmental health. In her extension role, she is interested in learning from and working alongside the Pacific Northwest’s agricultural community to co-create efficient, innovative, and sustainable agricultural practices.
Archie Flanders
Full Name
Job Title
Agricultural Economist
Company
Soil Health Institute
Speaker Bio
Dr. Archie Flanders is the Agricultural Economist at the Soil Health Institute. His prior research and extension responsibilities in production economics and farm management included development of interactive economic decision tools for crop and livestock commodities, agricultural policy programs, and whole-farm analysis which helped producers customize enterprise budgets to represent unique production situations. As Agricultural Economist at the Soil Health institute he works with producers and agricultural researchers to develop decision support tools that farmers and ranchers can use to make informed decisions about production practices on a field-by-field basis, optimizing soil health while realizing economic efficiencies. Dr. Flanders received his B.S.A. in General Agriculture, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Georgia.
Dan Olk
Full Name
Job Title
Research Soil Scientist
Company
USDA-ARS, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment
Speaker Bio
Dan Olk is a soil biochemist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service and works at the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment in Ames, Iowa. He is a Ph.D. graduate (1993) of the University of California, Davis and worked for eight years at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines before his employment with the USDA-ARS (2001-present). Since 2009 Dr. Olk has conducted field evaluations of humic products in corn─soybean rotations of the U.S. Midwest, studying the efficacy of humic products for improving crop growth as influenced by environmental variables, including annual weather patterns and soil type. Field research has also addressed responses by corn structural biochemistry and root growth to humic products, and more recently has studied long-term benefits to soil physical properties. His laboratory research has used an integrated extraction for physical and chemical fractions of soil organic matter to link seasonal changes in their masses and biochemical natures to crop production and soil nutrient cycling in field conditions.
Olga Walsh
Full Name
Job Title
Research Associate Professor, Cropping Systems Agronomist
Company
University of Idaho
Speaker Bio
Dr. Olga Walsh is an Associate Professor, an Agronomist, and an Extension Specialist with the University of Idaho. Dr. Walsh is directing the Cropping Systems program at Parma Research and Extension Center since 2014. The program is focused on developing scientifically based, field-tested grower recommendations for improved sustainability and profitability of farming operations. Enhancing fertilizer nitrogen use efficiency and irrigation water conservation are the two major focal points of her work. The current projects are in wheat, barley, beans, corn, sugar beets, onions, potatoes, and hops. Dr. Walsh’s training and background is in Soil Fertility, Plant Nutrient Management, and Precision Agriculture. Originally from Russia, she obtained her BS degree in Soil Science at St. Petersburg State University, Russia. She received her MS and PhD degrees in Soil Science at the Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, focusing on Precision Nutrient Management. Prior to her University of Idaho appointment, she has served as an Assistant Professor of Soil Nutrient Management with Montana State University for 4 years. Dr. Walsh is a published author on a variety of precision agriculture topics and has presented at numerous national and international precision agriculture events.
Rhett Spear
Full Name
Job Title
Potato Variety Development Specialist
Company
University of Idaho
Speaker Bio
Rhett Spear was raised on a commercial farm in southern Idaho growing sugar beets, alfalfa, and small grains. He received a Bachelor's degree from Utah State University in chemistry and a PhD in Horticulture focusing on potato production from Washington State University. Following graduation, he worked for four years as the agronomist at McCain Foods in Burley, ID before accepting his current position as an Assistant Professor and the Potato Variety Development Specialist at the University of Idaho Research and Extension Center located in Aberdeen, ID.
Wesley Haun
Full Name
Job Title
Senior Agronomist
Company
Tiger-Sul Products, LLC
Speaker Bio
Wesley Haun is a senior agronomist with Tiger-Sul Products. He coordinates soil fertility and crop nutrition research with various research organizations in the United States of America and internationally. He conducts agronomic educational programs emphasizing the benefits of a complete plant nutrient
management program. Wesley received his Bachelor of Science Degree with major in Agricultural Mechanization and a Master's Degree with a major in Plant & Soil Science from the University of Tennessee. His certifications include Certified Professional Agronomist, Certified Professional Soil Scientist, and Certified Crop Adviser. He has a diverse agronomy background that spans retail sales consulting at the farm gate to agronomist at regional, national, and international levels.
Christi Falen
Full Name
Job Title
Innovative Ag Solutions | Agronomy Technical Services Manager – Western USA
Company
ICL
Speaker Bio
Christi is an agronomist with a passion for putting applied research and new advancements into practical application on the farm to maximize ROI and soil/environmental benefits. She has worked in cropping systems in the Western US for over 20 years. Training and learning from the next generation of agronomists are near and dear to her heart.
Alan Blaylock
Full Name
Job Title
Senior Agronomist
Company
Nutrien
Speaker Bio
Dr. Alan Blaylock earned a Ph.D. in Soil Fertility from Iowa State Univ (1989) and BS and MS degrees in Agronomy from Brigham Young Univ. He supports marketing, sales, and product development for Nutrien and has managed research and education programs in critical global markets, such as No. America, Europe, and China. He joined Nutrien (formerly Agrium) in 1996 after serving as an Extension Soils Specialist at the University of Wyoming. Alan has served on numerous regional and national committees and as chair of multiple divisions in the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA). He was recognized in 2018 by SSSA with the Soil Science Industry and Professional Leadership Award and in 2010 by ASA with the Agronomic Industry Award. Alan is a recognized expert in the fertilizer industry on various nutrient management topics and has spoken on nutrient management at numerous regional, national, and international conferences.