Speaker Bios


Monday, November 9, 2020 Agricultural Finance

Conference Welcome: Dr. Cathann Kress, Vice President for Agricultural Administration and Dean for the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and Dr. Tim Haab, Chair of AEDE, Professor, and Deans Chair of Transformative Initiatives.
Dr. Ani Katchova: Ani Katchova is Associate Professor and Farm Income Enhancement Chair in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics at The Ohio State University.  She chairs the Farm Income Enhancement Program and conducts research and outreach on U.S. agricultural economics issues.  Her research areas include agricultural finance, agribusiness management and marketing, and applied econometrics. She holds the honorary title of Kentucky Colonel.  She is the founder and instructor of the Econometrics Academy, offering world-wide education on econometrics.  She holds a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University and was a faculty member at University of Illinois and University of Kentucky prior to returning to her alma mater.
Dr. Todd Kuethe: Dr. Kuethe joined Purdue faculty in 2019 as Associate Professor and Schrader Endowed Chair in Farmland Economics. Kuethe, who earned his PhD in agricultural economics from the department in 2009, most recently held a Clinical Assistant Professor of Land Economics position at the University of Illinois. The Schrader Endowed Chair is a new position in the agricultural economics department created to promote applied research into farmland markets, values, returns, and use. Currently, Kuethe helps policymakers, farmers, and landowners make better decisions to ensure a safer, more flexible, and more stable agricultural economy. Todd’s research interests are focused on farm real estate markets, agricultural credit, and agricultural policy. He has published more than 30 scholarly articles in leading field journals, such as American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Land Economics, and is also a regular contributor to University of Illinois’ farmdocDaily. Todd is also a consultant in the research department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and an Associate Editor of Agricultural Finance Review. His work has been profiled in a number of major media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times, Washington Post, The Economist, National Public Radio, and VICE. His research has been recognized by awards from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA), the AAEA’s Agricultural Finance and Management Section, North American Regional Science Council, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. 
Cortney Cowley: Cortney Cowley is an economist in the Regional Affairs Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Her current research focuses on agricultural finance, commodity markets, farm management, and natural resource economics and policy. Cortney’s responsibilities also include writing for the Tenth District Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions and the Federal Reserve System’s Agricultural Finance Databook. Cortney joined the Bank in 2015 after completing her Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University. She also holds a B.S. degree in Biosystems Engineering from Oklahoma State and a M.S. degree in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University.
Greg Lyons: Lyons is an economist who joined the Farmer Mac team in 2019. Prior to joining Farmer Mac, he was an economist with the USDA, Economic Research Service, where he created estimates of farm sector income and researched topics related to agricultural finance, beginning farmers and farm households. Greg’s interest in rural America stems from his time growing up in upstate New York, where he spent many hours on his family’s dairy farm. At Farmer Mac, he spends most of his time researching topics related to credit access, land values, and farm financial conditions. Greg has a bachelor’s degree in Policy Analysis and Management from Cornell University, and a Master’s of Public Policy degree from Georgetown University.
Aza Bittinger: Aza Bittinger has over 18 years of banking experience with a specialty in retail and small business development. Aza graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. He enjoys being involved in his community including being a past President and current member of the Rotary Club of Westerville, and serving five years as race director for the Rotary Honors Veterans 5K Walk/Run. 
Gary Matteson: Gary Matteson works for Farm Credit’s trade association in Washington, DC as Senior Vice President, Beginning Farmer Programs and Outreach.  This includes policy work on local foods, sustainable agriculture, and direct-to-consumer agriculture.   He frequently speaks to beginning farmers, training on basic financial skills and recordkeeping.  For thirty years Gary was a small farmer raising greenhouse wholesale cut flowers marketed in the Northeast and beef cattle for local sales.  He has served on numerous boards of directors including Farm Credit, the Boston Flower Exchange, and many non-profits.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - Agricultural and Environmental Policy

Conference Welcome: Dr. Cathann Kress, Vice President for Agricultural Administration and Dean for the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and Dr. Tim Haab, Chair of AEDE, Professor, and Deans Chair of Transformative Initiatives.
Dr. Brent Sohngen: Sohngen serves as a professor of Environmental and Resource economics in AEDE. Dr. Soghngen received his doctorate in Environmental and Development Economics from Yale University and conducts research on the economics of land-use change, the design of incentive mechanisms for water and carbon trading, carbon sequestration, and valuation of environmental resources. He teaches courses on “Food, Population and the Environment” and “Energy, the Environment, and the Economy”. He also chairs the Department’s Outreach Committee- who is the organizing body for today’s conference and the Department’s Spring Outlook Conference held typically in May. 
Dr. Margaret Jodlowski: Margaret completed her Ph.D. at Cornell University in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management in 2020. Prior to studying at Cornell, she received her Masters of Science in Agricultural and Applied Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She also attended Illinois as an undergraduate, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Consumer Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in History. Her research focuses on agricultural issues both domestically and internationally, with a specific emphasis on farm labor and farm household dynamics. Broadly, her research explores how farms and other agricultural operations impact rural economies and environments, and how those, along with policy changes in those spaces, affect the nature of agricultural production.
Dr. Aaron Smith: Smith is the DeLoach Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis. Originally from New Zealand, Smith earned his PhD in Economics from the University of California, San Diego. His research addresses policy, trading and price dynamics in agricultural, energy, and financial markets. He has over 40 publications in journals, including outlets such as the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Econometrics, and the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. His research has won the Quality of Communication, Quality of Research Discovery, and Outstanding American Journal of Agricultural Economics Article Awards from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and the Quality of Research Discovery Award from the European Association of Agricultural Economists. He is a co-director of the Center for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Research (CeDAR).
Jonathan McCracken: A native of Wilmington, Ohio, Jonathan serves as a Senior Policy Advisor to U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. Jonathan advises on and develops policy and legislation related to agriculture, food, nutrition, energy, environment, and infrastructure. He has worked for Senator Brown since 2007 and has introduced multiple bills—including the Local FARMS Act, the Average Risk Coverage Act, and numerous conservation provisions—that were included in the 2018 and 2014 Farm Bills, as well as the 2010 Child Nutrition Authorization.  He is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the George Washington University Law School.
Wayne Stoskopf: Wayne Stoskopfserves as a Director of Public Policy for the National Corn Growers Association. He covers risk management and tax issues and serves as the lead staff for NCGA’s Risk Management and Transportation Action Team. Wayne was raised on his family’s farm near Hoisington, Kansas and graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in Agribusiness.
Amalie Lipstreu: Amalie has more than 25 years of public and social service experience.  She received her BA from Hiram College and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Policy from Kent State University, after which Amalie began her career focusing on agriculture and food systems.  She has worked in land use around farmland preservation including agricultural easement purchase and donation programs, transfer of development rights, cost of community services and agricultural zoning. Amalie conducted research and advocacy that led to the development of the Ohio Food Policy Advisory Council which she managed along with the Office of Sustainable Agriculture at the Ohio Department of Agriculture. She now directs the policy program for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020-Agricultural Trade and Macroeconomic Outlook

Conference Welcome: Dr. Cathann Kress, Vice President for Agricultural Administration and Dean for the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and Dr. Tim Haab, Chair of AEDE, Professor, and Deans Chair of Transformative Initiatives.
Dr. Ian Sheldon: Known throughout Ohio and in the classroom for his lively presentations that encourage unconventional thinking, Dr. Sheldon received his PhD in Economics from the University of Salford in the United Kingdom in 1981.  He served as a lecturer in economics at the University of Exeter in the UK from 1982 to 1990, before becoming an Associate Professor at the Ohio State University in 1990, where he currently holds the Andersons Chair in Agricultural Marketing, Trade and Policy. He was previously editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, and featured articles editor for Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy. He has published widely in the fields of economics and agricultural economics with a focus on trade and policy issues. His recent research has focused on trade and intellectual property rights, trade and climate policy, product quality upgrading and trade liberalization, agricultural productivity and trade, and evaluating the impact of regional trade liberalization.  He became a Fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) in 2019- one of the highest awards of an Agricultural Economist.
Dr. Wendong Zhang: Zhang is an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University since August 2015. His research seeks to better understand U.S. farmland market, agricultural nutrient runoff, conservation practice adoption, and Chinese agriculture. Dr. Zhang is also affiliated with Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD). He is the leading researcher of the Iowa Land Value Survey, the Iowa Farmland Ownership and Tenure Survey, as well as the ISU Soil Management and Land Valuation Conference. He also developed the Iowa Farmland Portal as well as co-founded the new ISU China Ag center jointly with Dr. Dermot Hayes in collaboration with Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. He received his Ph.D. in Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics from the Ohio State University in July 2015, and he also holds a BSc in Environmental Science from Fudan University in China.
Dr. Mark Partridge: Mark Partridge is the C. William Swank Chair of Rural-Urban Policy at The Ohio State University and a Professor in the Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics Department. He is also an economic consultant at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Adjunct Professor at Universities in China and Italy. Prior, he was the Canada Research Chair in the New Rural Economy at the University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Partridge’s current research interests include investigating regional economic growth, urban spillovers on rural economies, why regions grow at different rates, and spatial differences in income equality and poverty. Dr. Partridge has consulted with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and various governments in the United States, Canada, and the European Commission. He has presented to the U.S. Congress and the Canadian Parliament on regional issues. Professor Partridge received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Illinois.
Allison Nepveux: Allison handles global non-tariff barriers to trade, including issues related to biotechnology, genome editing and Maximum Residue Levels for crop protection. She often explains this role as thinking about all of the ways that innovation can get stuck – and working to get it “unstuck.” In practice, this manifests itself in many different ways, whether through educating global stakeholders, leading and implementing market access issues abroad or finding ways to leverage the farmer voice in multilateral forums. She also leads the Council’s efforts on sustainability and helps coordinate a global farmer alliance between the US, Brazil and Argentina, otherwise known as MAIZALL. Prior to the Council, Nepveux worked for the United Fresh Produce Association, where she served as subject matter expert on all new innovations for the perishable food supply, including blockchain, machine learning, traceability and automation. Previous to her role in fresh produce, she worked on a commodity desk for corn, soybeans, cotton and metals. She also interned with the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and the Foreign Commercial Service in Peru. Ms. Nepveux earned a bachelor’s of science in Agribusiness with a certificate in international trade and a minor in Spanish from Texas A&M University.
Kirk Merritt: Merritt joined the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) in June 2007 as International Marketing Director, and also served as Director of Outreach and Programs for the OSC Foundation. He was promoted to Executive Director of OSC and the OSC Foundation in December 2009. Kirk works closely with the OSC.  Board of Trustees to advance OSC’s mission of enhancing profit opportunities for Ohio’s soybean farmers, and manages OSC’s staff and operations. From 2000 to 2007, Kirk was Director of the International Trade Division in the Ohio Department of Development, where he coordinated Ohio’s export and foreign investment programs, leading a team with offices in Ohio and eleven international markets. Prior to this, he worked for several years in international banking. Kirk earned a B.A. from Manchester University and a M.A. from The Ohio State University.
Blake Haudan:  Haudan started his career ten years ago in the wheat options pit as a runner at the Chicago Board of Trade. From Chicago, he went on and worked with Cargill in their Animal Nutrition business as an Associate Risk Manager managing the physical and futures for the feed division for their US assets. He then joined the Andersons Inc. and has been in multiple positions within the company on the cash and futures side for the last seven years, mainly in the grain division focused on the Soybean product line till recently becoming the Director of Risk, managing a team and the five ethanol plants they have ownership in.

Friday, November 13, 2020- Commodity and Consumer Demand Outlook

Conference Welcome: Dr. Cathann Kress, Vice President for Agricultural Administration and Dean for the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and Dr. Tim Haab, Chair of AEDE, Professor, and Deans Chair of Transformative Initiatives.
Dr. Zoë Plakias: Plakias is an agricultural and food systems economist. Her work focuses on three aspects of agricultural and food supply chains: supply chains aiming to produce and distribute food in ways that are more fair, healthy or environmentally sustainable than conventional supply chains; the role of market power and other types of power; and the role of social networks and other social phenomena in market outcomes. She also teaches undergraduate courses in the Agribusiness and Applied Economics (AAE) and Environment, Economy, Development, Sustainability (EEDS) majors, and conducts outreach to agricultural and food system stakeholders in Ohio and nationally.
Ben Brown: Brown is an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in Agricultural Risk Management located in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics at Ohio State University. A native of Western Missouri, growing up on a diversified row crop and cattle operation, he was active in 4-H and FFA leading to his passion for Extension. Ben received undergraduate degrees from Kansas State University in 2015 in Agricultural Economics and Agronomy. He received a Master’s in Agricultural and Applied Economics from the University of Missouri- Columbia where he was a graduate assistant to the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute. His area of focus was on U.S. farm policy- with specific work on the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Commodity Programs in the Agricultural Act of 2018. He loves the Buckeye State and is thankful for the opportunity to work with producers and agribusinesses every day.
Dr. Bill Hahn: Hahn is an economist with the USDA Economic Research Service in Kansas City, Missouri. Hahn works in the Animal Products Cost of Production Branch of the Market and Trade Economics Division. He has worked at ERS on livestock issues since 1986.  He is an Ohio native. His parents own a small farm near Bellevue, Ohio. He got his bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University.
Aaron Appel:  Appel currently trades Soybeans and Barge Freight for CGB’s Ohio Valley Region located in Jeffersonville, IN. He has been in this role since 2018. Prior to 2018, Aaron worked at CGB’s corporate office in Mandeville, LA with CGB’s Rail Department where he managed CGB’s Western soybean rail program and the BNSF shuttle freight program. He has been with CGB since graduating from The Ohio State University with a B.S. in Agribusiness and Applied Economics in the Spring of 2011. Aaron grew up on a grain and hog farm in Northwest Ohio. 
Bailey Elchinger: Elchinger is an Agribusiness Management graduate of Michigan State University. She is a Risk Management Consultant and Regional Director for StoneX, Inc. in Bowling Green, Ohio. Bailey works with grain and livestock producers throughout the Midwest and Ontario to help them manage the risks that they face in the commodity futures markets. Bailey and her family farm a row crop and co-own a large hay and straw baling business in northwest Ohio. 
Erin FitzPatrick: Erin was born and raised on a farm in Western New York which her family still owns. She has over 10 years of experience as an Agri Commodity Analyst. She is currently Vice President, RaboResearch Grains & Oilseeds analyst. Before joining Rabo Agrifinance in St. Louis, she worked at Bunge, where she served as Director of Economic Research. In addition, Erin worked for Rabobank between 2007 and 2013 in London and NYC. Erin holds a Bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo.