Our keynote speaker is John Stanley, a world-renowned retail consultant, speaker and author. John has spent the past 30 years working with family businesses in the farming industry throughout the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the UK. Known by clients as “the retail guru,” John’s skill is in interpreting broad global trends. He then provides practical, low-cost ideas to help producers maximize current economic, social, and lifestyle trends. His goal is to help them increase visitor numbers, boost sales, and grow their businesses.
Annie Klodd is a statewide Extension Educator for fruit crops at University of Minnesota. She works with grape growers and other fruit growers to enhance production of cold hardy fruit, with an emphasis on grapes. Annie received her Masters degree studying viticulture at Penn State University in 2015. She is originally from Iowa, and grew up on a vineyard west of Indianola.
Maureen is a Research Associate at the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute. She runs the service lab, including supervising two student lab techs, to provide analysis of samples sent by industry members, and also contributes to the Institute's research and extension work. She studied Biology at Iowa State University, where she began working in analytical chemistry labs as a sophomore. After graduation, her lab experience led to harvest lab positions at Chateau St Jean Winery in Kenwood, California and Delegat's Wine Estate in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. She ran the lab at Hartford Family Winery (Forestville, CA) from 2009-2013 and was the Enologist at Dehlinger Winery (Sebastopol,CA) from 2013-2016 before joining the MGWII in 2016. She has experience in all areas of wine production, including lab, cellar, vineyard, and winemaking, and is currently enrolled in the Interdepartmental Microbiology graduate program at ISU.
Andrew has worked as the IDALS bee guy for 12 years and enjoys his job. The inspection & educational efforts aim to reduce hive pest, parasite, and disease issues toward a healthier, more productive, successful bee industry here in our state. Additionally he, with his wife & son, runs a small 150 - 200 hive bee business in Des Moines.
Jenny and John Thull manage over 11 acres of research vineyards for the Grape Breeding and Enology Project overseen by Dr. Matthew Clark at the Horticultural Research Center. The vineyards contain approximately 10,000 novel seedling vines of all ages. These vines are continually evaluated for cold hardiness, disease tolerance, growth habit, productivity, and fruit quality for wine production and fresh eating. Every year, as space becomes available, new vines are being planted into the research plots. Growing so many different vines is quite challenging and extremely interesting which has given John and Jenny a whole new appreciation for tasting wine.
While working over the past 10 years at the HRC, Jenny and John began growing pumpkins and squash around the property on small plots of land. The plantings were small in the early years, but now have expanded into a couple of acres worth of plots. To date, the Thull’s have grown well over 300 different varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds which get displayed every year at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and are sold through the Apple House at the HRC. They have also dabbled in ornamental corn, tomatoes, peppers, and sunflowers.
Jenny and John have enjoyed sharing their growing experience with many groups through talks, presentations, and in-field clinics not only in Minnesota but also in many other states.
Stop out at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and U of M Apple House in the Fall to enjoy the fruits of their labor!
Jason Mabbett - Jason Mabbett was born and raised in New Zealand. He developed a taste for wine and winemaking when growing up in West Auckland. He graduated from the University of Lincoln, New Zealand. He subsequently worked harvests in Argentina, Australia, Chile and the United States. Hired by AB Biotek in 2009 he has managed the Americas as a technical advisor but of late has moved to St Louis where he is now focusing solely on the North American marketplace. Additionally during this time he was involved in the establishment of the Argentinean brand Manos Negras.
Joe Hannan is a Commercial Horticulture Field Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. His goal is to increase the quantity, quality, and safety of fruits and vegetables grown in the state through workshops, field days, media, and personal relationships. He has worked in the industry for over 15 years conducting research, providing education to fruit and vegetable farmers, and selling into local wholesale markets. His areas of interests include high tunnel production, irrigation systems, and food safety. Most recently, he received funding from the USDA to direct and co-lead the North Central Region Center for FSMA Training, Extension, and Technical Assistance.
Dr. Lina Rodriguez-Salamanca is an extension plant pathologist and diagnostician with the Iowa State University Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic (clinic.ipm.iastate.edu). Lina’s responsibilities in the clinic include plant problem diagnosis of diseases (plant pathogens identification) and abiotic problems, accurately and rapidly with a focus on ornamental, horticultural plants/crops, and tree samples submitted to the clinic. As part of ISU Extension and Outreach, through the clinic and extension programs directed to specialty crop producers, Lina focuses her efforts on disease diagnosis and its importance on integrated pest management.
Since 2012, Marcus and his wife, Emma, have worked with her parents to operate Buffalo Ridge Orchard on their 80-acre farm near Central City, Iowa. The orchard features over 50 varieties of contemporary and heirloom apple varieties and seasonal vegetables and fresh produce throughout much of the year. Marcus studied at Iowa State University, where he obtained a B.S. in Horticulture and a B.L.A. and M.L.A. in Landscape Architecture. He has supplemented his academic experience with various practical work experiences here Iowa, as well as Milwaukee, Chicago, Philadelphia, and England along the way. The return to farming in Northeast Iowa has brought Marcus back to be closer to family and given him an opportunity to grow food while developing a personal relationship to the land and people of the region.
Craig Chase is the Director of the Farm, Food and Enterprise Development Program at Iowa State University. He began working with farmers wanting to transition from conventional to organic production in the late 1990s and then worked with small sized farms on horticultural crops and other value added enterprises. Overall, Craig has over 35 years’ experience in helping producers of all kinds determine ways to start a farming operation and/or improve profitability to an existing business.
From 2007 to 2018 Jesse was an Extension based faculty member in the Natural Resource Ecology and Management Department at ISU. In August 2018 Jesse was named Director of Michigan State University's Forestry Innovation Center located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Dr. Randall oversees 8500 acres of research forests where applied silvicultural research is ongoing. His focus on value added forest product development (maple syrup, maple confections, and christmas tree improvement ) has added to the research and outreach portfolio of the station and the Department of Forestry). Jesse currently has a family farm in Upstate NY were maple syrup is made commercially and has christmas tree plantations in NY and Iowa.
Aude Watrelot is an assistant professor of enology at Iowa State University. Her research area is the chemistry of polyphenols in grape and wine and her extension work focuses on education of grape chemistry and winemaking concerns to grape growers and winemakers from Iowa and the Midwest region. After receiving her B.S. degree in plant physiology in Tours, France, Watrelot decided to do a M.S degree on Food Science and Human Nutrition in Nantes, France. After graduating, her desire to understand plant biochemistry led her to do a PhD at the National Institute of Agricultural Research (INRA) and the University of Avignon, France, where her research was focused on the mechanisms of interactions between polyphenols and polysaccharides in apple. Then, she decided to move to California for completing two postdoctoral fellows on wine chemistry with a specific focus on red wine astringency. After that, Watrelot went back to France to work on the chemistry of tannins from wood at INRA of Montpellier for few months prior to starting her position in August 2019 at ISU.
Scott Kolbe empowers owners and managers to grow sales using engagement marketing. His passion for storytelling is contagious, sharing 20+ years of experience working with companies like Terlato Wine Group, Jim Beam, Oakley and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Learn best practices for standing out in a crowded market using digital, social, public relations and events. Enter with an open mind about marketing as an asset and leave ready to immediately expand the capabilities of your internal teams and grow your business!
Dr. James Schrader has worked at Iowa State University as a researcher in the Department of Horticulture since 2002, and he joined the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute as an Ag Specialist in January of 2019. Dr. Schrader is originally from Bemidji Minnesota, where he began his academic endeavors by earning a Bachelors Degree in Biology from Bemidji State University. He earned his Masters and Ph.D. Degrees in Plant Physiology from Iowa State University, with research focusing on ecophysiology, ecology, and systematics of rare woody plant species. His work in the Department of Horticulture has ranged from basic research in the areas of woody plant ecology, systematics, phylogeography, and stress physiology to applied research that focused on the development, evaluation, and commercialization of sustainable technologies for horticulture. His work with bioplastic container cropping systems and biopolymer fertilizers was a significant part of the collaborative program (Bioplastics for the Green Industry) that won the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences team award in 2017. Dr. Schrader provides research expertise in the areas of stress physiology and sustainability of horticulture fruit crops.
Erin Norton - Erin joined the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute as Education and Outreach Coordinator in December 2015. After growing up in Canada’s Niagara wine region, Erin received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from University of Waterloo in 2005 and her master’s degree in chemistry from University of Windsor in 2008. This led her back home to Brock University to complete the Certificate in Grape and Wine Technology in 2008/2009. Erin completed harvest seasons working with Tawse Winery and Colio Estate Winery in Canada before moving to France in 2011. In Provence, Erin worked at Château D’Esclans for four harvests in the capacity of lab technician and then as traceability and lab manager. At the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute, Erin serve the Iowa wine industry through organizing and presenting workshops and seminars, teaching on-campus classes and the managing the educational arm of IWGA's Registered Apprenticeship Program. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in food science from Iowa State University.
Randall Vos - Randall is a Professor and the Program Chair of the Horticulture Department at Des Moines Area Community college. He is also the Coordinator of the Mid-American Wine Competition. Randall has worked with a wide range of horticulture crops, with a specialization in viticulture.
Shannon Coleman currently serves as an Assistant Professor and State Extension Specialist in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University. Coleman’s Extension and Outreach work includes development and dissemination of food safety curriculum and resources for very small and small food manufacturers in Iowa. Her research focus on food manufacturers’ attitude and behaviors towards food safety practices using various evaluations theories. Coleman has expanded her outreach and research to focus filling gaps in improving food safety along the local food system from farm-to-table, which includes development curriculum and resources for youth, adults, and gardeners.
Marcy Boldman - Marcy Boldman serves as the District Director in the Des Moines District for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. The Des Moines District covers all of Iowa and Nebraska. Marcy was an Investigator for six years and conducted many high quality investigations relating to the Fair Labor Standards Act, Family & Medical Leave Act, Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act and more. She has served in the Wage and Hour Division for nine years. She graduated from Iowa State University and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Management and Marketing.
Walter Conlon - Walter Conlon is the president and founder of Farm Hands, LLC. Walter retired from his former practice of law in Muscatine in 2012. He served 6 years in the Iowa legislature (1977-82). He is married with two grown sons. He plays French horn in local amateur music groups, and is an avid world traveler.
Melissa Garcia - Melissa Garcia is the State Monitor Advocate for the state of Iowa. She helps to ensure employment and training services provided to Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers are qualitatively equivalent and quantitatively proportionate to the employment and training services provided to other jobseekers. Melissa works with a team of outreach workers across the state to provide Migrant and Seasonal farmworkers with information about their worker rights, jobs available inside and outside of agriculture, and many other supportive services. She assists agricultural employers with their workforce needs. She has a passion for this community, and strives to ensure migrant and seasonal farmworkers and agricultural employers in Iowa needs are met.
Kyle Maynard - I am from San Diego, California but currently live in West Des Moines, Iowa. I came to Iowa to play college soccer at Central College in Pella, Iowa from 2010-2014. I graduated with a double major in Business Management & Spanish and a minor in Economics. I studied aborad in Granada, Spain while in college for 6 months and was able to see some other parts of Europe and Africa whilst there. I worked as a Customer Service Representative for Graybar Electric for 8 months after college. I then worked for the Department of Human Services (DHS) for about 3.5 years on the Spanish team processing public benefits like food assistance (food stamps/EBT), cash assistance (FIP) & Medicaid. I have been with Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) since November 2018 in my current role. In my free time, I enjoy playing soccer, watching terrible television shows/movies & trying new places to eat/drink around the Des Moines area.
David Doud grew up on an apple orchard and fruit tree nursery in north-central Indiana. Following horticultural studies at Purdue he returned to the farm in 1977. He and his wife Valerie operate a retail fruit farm with seasonal sales across the road from where he grew up. He is a founding member and current Board Chair of the Midwest Apple Improvement Association and has spent the last 20 years involved in the breeding and selection of new apple varieties.
Katie Kreuser is an Extension Educator at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln focused on fruits, vegetables, and edible specialty crop production, and is a core member of the Nebraska Regional Food Systems Initiative. Katie organizes the annual Nebraska Grower and Brewer Conference & Tradeshow, facilitating education and community building among local hop producers and craft brewers in the Midwest. Her goal in working with producers is to help them be regenerative in a rapidly changing economic and atmospheric climate. Katie holds a B.S. in Biology from Samford University and an M.P.S. in Public Garden Management from Cornell University. In her spare time, she enjoys running, gardening, cooking, and spending time with her son, Sam, and Great Dane, Lambeau.
Dr. Glisan has an extensive background in atmospheric and climatological research, with expertise in the analysis of extreme temperature and precipitation events. He earned his B.S. (2005) and M.S. (2007) in meteorology at the University of Missouri, where he concentrated on droughts and heat waves. In 2012, he completed his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences at Iowa State University with a research concentration on the dynamical causal mechanisms of precipitation and temperature extremes. While at Iowa State University, his research had a strong academic collaboration across a broad range of federally funded projects. His work experience includes advanced atmospheric research techniques, large data machine learning, and statistical analysis.
As State Climatologist of Iowa, his responsibilities include quality control of Iowa weather observations, weekly recommendations to the U.S. Drought Monitor, and weekly and monthly climate summaries for state stakeholders. Iowa weather and climate observations go back to 1872 and represent the history of weather across the state. These observations help tell the story of Iowa agriculture and how resilient and innovative the state’s farmers are and have been. Looking at how trends in precipitation and temperature are changing and applying this climatological analyses through the lens of agriculture is also a very important part of the position. Dr. Glisan advises the Secretary of Agriculture on climatological matters impacting the agricultural sector.
Joanne Roepke Bode is the co-owner of Bode’s Moonlight Gardens with her husband Beany Bode in rural Algona, Iowa. Together they raise vegetables for an 80-member Community Supported Agriculture program and the Kossuth County Farmers' Market. In addition, they have 10 acres of pumpkins, gourds and squash. Joanne is an Iowa native and a graduate of Iowa State University. She serves as the market manager for the Kossuth County Farmers Market where she has been a vendor since 2006. She serves on the board of the Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers. See their farm online at www.bodemoonlightgardens.com or find Bode Farm on Facebook.
Brian Jones - From 1985 to 2007 was a row crop farmer along with my Dad we farmed around 300 acres, each having 150 acres. During this time and still today I am employed off the farm in industrial maintenance. In 2007 everything was put into the CRP programs so the row crop farming came to an end.
In 2008 I became aware of the grape industry in Iowa and after doing a little research decided to plant a few grapes First started growing grapes in 2009, that next spring and summer attended the Vineyard Management and Wine Making classes at Kirkwood in Cedar Rapids. Since then we’ve grown the vineyard to 4 acres.
In 2014 I started to serve on the board of the IWGA and have held the office of the secretary in 2018 and treasure in 2019
We purchased a Mechanical Harvester from New York State in 2014. The machine was old and built in the 70s plus was worn out. We did a complete rebuild of it and did some upgrades before we put it to work. The project took some time to complete so the first year it was used was 2016. We started to do custom harvesting with it the first year and now harvest for 4 other vineyard.
Zach Bott - Zach Bott has been the winemaker at Fireside/Ackerman Winery since they opened in 2007, as well as assisted in the management of the vineyards. During that time Fireside/Ackerman has expanded from 1000 cases to near 14,000 cases a year, and the vineyard has grown from just over 2 acres to 14. Currently Fireside/Ackerman is raising 8 varieties of French/American hybrids and producing nearly 50 varieties of wine including grape, fruit and sparkling wine.
Kristine is an adjunct assistant professor in the Agricultural Education & Studies Department and the director for the Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation. Kristine’s work focuses on studying and interpreting laws impacting the agricultural industry. Since joining CALT in 2013, Kristine has written hundreds of articles and blogposts to keep tax professionals, practicing attorneys, producers, and agribusiness professionals informed about legal developments impacting their business. In addition to her writing, Kristine speaks to many professionals and producers each year regarding tax and agricultural law topics.
Kathy Dice received a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology at Iowa State University and began teaching and implementing conservation practices in Iowa. She has worked for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Louisa County Conservation Board. She is a soil commissioner for her county.
Tom Wahl was born and raised in Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University in 1984 with a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology. For the next 16 years he worked for various government agencies in wildlife research, wildlife management, forestry, and park management.
Married in 1984, they bought 56 acres of steep, rugged timberland in Louisa County in 1986. In 2001 they added 31 acres of rolling farmland. Over time they established Red Fern Farm: a farm of fruit and nut producing trees, shrubs and vines. They grow high value tree crops including chestnuts, pawpaws, heartnuts, persimmons, Asian pears and others. They also operate a small tree nursery.
Moriah Bilenky is a Graduate Research Assistant in the sustainable vegetable lab at Iowa State University. Her primary research focus is on crop rotations and soil health for sustainable and organic vegetable production. She received her B.S. in horticulture in 2013 and returned for graduate school in 2016 after three seasons working on diversified vegetable farms.
Matthew Bare - Matthew (Matt) Bare is a Lead Data Specialist for ACT and a current Master’s student in the Business Analytics program at the University of Iowa. Matt comes from a background in consulting with focus areas in corporate training and education prior to his current work and education. Matt is originally from Milwaukee and began learning about wine when he was young from his great grandparents, who grew their own grapes, as well as his step-father, who worked in wine distribution for 15 years.
Jennie Savits is the Enology Field Specialist at the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute (MGWII) at Iowa State University. She earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Food Science from ISU and gained winemaking experience through harvest internships and employment in the Institute's service lab. Jennie provides extension and outreach programming and technical assistance to wine industry members on best winemaking practices.
Dan Fillius is a Food Safety Educator with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach helping produce growers as they comply with food safety regulations and the Food Safety Modernization Act.
Fillius has been growing organic vegetables for 12 years including stints managing the Michigan State University Student Organic Farm and 140 acres of vegetables at Featherstone Farm. In addition to working for Extension, Dan is currently starting Middlebrook Farm as a part of Iowa’s first Agri-hood in Cumming, IA.
Robin Pruisner was appointed the State Entomologist and Bureau Chief of Entomology and Plant Science at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship in 2003. Pruisner also serves as the Ag Security Coordinator, focused on agricultural emergency management.
Pruisner is managing the implementation of the Iowa Hemp Act, signed by Governor Reynolds on May 13, 2019. This includes developing a hemp licensing program; establishing hemp sampling and testing protocols; and developing the administrative rules to carry out the provisions of the State Statute and 2018 Farm Bill.
Raised on a family farm in Grundy County, she currently lives in Central Iowa with her husband and five bee hives.