Purdue Food and Agribusiness Executive Summit

Fostering strategic thinking by convening industry leaders to network and exchange ideas on global issues affecting the agricultural industry.


Coming 2025

Registration Fee:



West Lafayette, IN


For additional information, contact Aissa Good at (765) 299-3486 or aissa@purdue.edu.


Applications are reviewed within five days in the order they are received.


Registration fee includes singleoccupancy accommodations at the Union Club Hotel, all meals and networking events, and program materials.


Change and uncertainty are continuous challenges for senior leaders – wherever their responsibilities lie within the value chain. Through the help of an exceptional Steering Committee, Purdue University and Wells Fargo Food and Agribusiness partner to bring the right issues and senior leaders to the table for critical industry discussions at the Purdue Food and Agribusiness Executive Summit.

Summit participants will explore the challenges facing our food and agribusiness industry and examine options for a strategic response. The engagement with industry and academic thought leaders attendees experience during the summit allows them to brainstorm new strategies and leave invigorated to take action. Attendees will also experience the cross-pollination of ideas across industry segments, as well as an unprecedented opportunity to build personal and professional relationships.

Who Should Attend?

This summit brings together business leaders from across the value chain who are shaping today’s food and agribusiness environment. It is intended for, but not limited to: chairpersons, chief executive officers, owners, managing directors and other current and rising leaders who drive strategy and decision making in their firms. Those with significant responsibilities and considerable agri-food industry knowledge and experience are encouraged to apply.

Case studies and topical sessions are designed to engage senior leader and executive decision makers throughout the supply chain, including: input suppliers, agricultural producers, merchandisers, distributors, retailers, food service providers, financial service companies, government agencies and technology companies working in the food and agribusiness industry. Seating is limited to 50 participants. If you have further questions or are unsure if your role and responsibilities are a good fit for the summit, contact one of our Business Development Managers:

Aissa Good
(765) 299-3486

Taryn Nance
(765) 714-2771

“I attended the Purdue Food and Agribusiness Executive Summit for the first time in 2019. What set the summit apart and made it so valuable was the interaction with other attendees. The case study format gave us the opportunity to discuss and learn from each other, along with hearing directly from leaders featured in the cases. The diverse viewpoints and insights from other executives were incredibly thought-provoking and broadened my perspective. I left inspired and with renewed energy for advancing innovation in the food and agribusiness sectors.”  – Janet Sichterman, Executive Vice President of Enterprise Innovation, Kent Corporation


The 2023 Purdue Food and Agribusiness Executive Summit focused on discovering and debating how the food and agribusiness industry can embrace uncertainty and create more resilient markets, supply chains, firms, leaders and employees under the umbrella of digital innovation. We are committed to bringing these challenges and much more to the Summit in a dynamic and compelling manner that can lead to action after our discussions together.


2023 Case Studies and Topics

Strategies for Investment in Agriculture

The last few years have brought the food and agribusiness industry many challenges, but also some profitable times, leading companies to assess new opportunities for deploying resources. During the opening session of the summit, Wells Fargo Chief Agricultural Economist, Dr. Michael Swanson will share his insights on decision-making around strategic opportunities. The session will be based on his following assessment of the marketplace.

Every business works hard to generate positive cashflow and returns to ensure its economic viability. The recent three-year period has seen multidecade highs of profitability and returns in many of the agricultural and agribusiness segments. This session will share measurable returns on assets for various segments of the food supply chain and explore opportunities for the variation in performance both within and across these segments. Where does your company’s performance fit?

Solid profitability performance leads to a key management challenge of where and how to invest those returns to best prepare for future opportunities and the inevitable cyclicality of the agricultural and food segments. Should a business diversify investments? Should it intensify its investments? Should it exit when things are great? Great investments need to be both strategic and opportunistic. To paraphrase Michael Porter, a segment’s profitability is not an accident, but it reflects its inherent characteristics. Does your next investment need to reinforce your position in your current segment by investing in innovation or efficiency projects? Do you have the requisite characteristics to invest in another segment to compete effectively in that segment’s profitability?

Data in Agriculture is Ubiquitous, Data Science is Not

Loftus Ranches

Data in agriculture is ubiquitous, data science is not. Despite the significant amount of time, energy, and money to collect data, the promise of data driven agriculture continues to prove illusive. However, data by itself does not provide enough insight to drive the business decision-making producers desire. In 2019, Patrick Smith of Loftus Ranches in Yakima, Washington began a journey to address the mountain of data, but death of data science, on his 3000+ acre hops, apples and specialty crops operation.

Investing in talented people to redesign the operation’s data structure and, in turn, developing a series of analytical tools driven by the data resulted in surprising insights. Patrick and his key partner, Tim Raiswell, have since expanded the scope of the data science team beyond Loftus Ranches to become Loftus Labs. A wholly owned subsidiary of Loftus Ranches, Loftus Labs offers data structure and analytics consulting to a number of agribusinesses in the Northwest. What first motivated Patrick and Loftus Ranches to make this investment? What were the driving factors that lead them to create a separate business unit? What benefits do they see in sharing the capabilities they have invested so heavily in? Where does Tim, see the future of data analytics and agribusiness and the future of Loftus Labs?

Allan Gray will be joined by Patrick and Tim to explore the first application of data science within Loftus Ranches and branching out to several other applications since the formation of Loftus Labs. Mini-cases will give first-hand knowledge of the transition from data collection to data management to data analytics, and finally, to data insights that drive decision-making.

Supply Chain Management and the Complexities of Uncertainty

In recent years, the business discipline of SCM exploded into popular news headlines. Some declared global supply chains “broken”, but many more fought diligently to recover from the unimaginable global disruption of shutting down and then restarting entire developed countries! Today, many companies are evaluating supply chain resilience and recovery and are working to implement supplier risk assessment and business continuity plans. These are important and good SCM activities, as “black swan” events will happen again.

Although much hype and attention are given to major supply chain disruptions, this session will explore how supply chain management is continuously tasked with meeting customer expectations in uncertain supply and demand environments. Day-in and day-out, SCM success is measured by customers, created by building supply chain capabilities aligned with business strategies and maximized when considering the complexities of uncertainty.

Managers in supply chain functions are often asked to provide outstanding customer service AND improved efficiency. Is this possible? Yes, such pareto moves are possible, but difficult. Bobby Martens, Dan Oh and Doug Lenhart (AgCertain) will discuss how many supply chains designed to be efficient and low-cost struggle to provide outstanding customer service because of uncertainty. For success, complexities of uncertainty must be considered when (re)designing and managing supply chains. In food and agribusiness sectors, distinctions such as animal and plant biology and unique consumer expectations create additional constraints and opportunities.

Balancing Stakeholder and Shareholder Value with ESG

ESG (environmental, social and governance strategies) has been growing as an important C-suite focus over the last decade, now representing a $27T market growing at 17% per year. As this significant topic gains more visibility, how will agriculture determine which strategies will add the most value to the food and agribusiness ecosystem and ultimately, the shareholders?

Dora Lutz, ESG strategist says, “While other industries are beginning to realize that managing the ecosystem’s health is the right thing to do in order to sustain their long-term business, agriculture inherently understands the importance.”

In this session, Dora will be joined by industry guests: Natasha Cox, Farm Credit Mid-America; Rob Aukerman, Phibro Animal Health; and Gregg Halverson, Black Gold Farms, for a conversation about how their organizations are addressing ESG. She will also discuss the new questions emerging as ESG pressures continue to grow. For more information around these questions and steps an organization can pursue, read Dora’s recent blog: Creating Social Impact with an Eye Towards Profitability.

Digital Agricultural Solutions

Climate FieldView

Over the last couple of years, an overwhelming number of agtech organizations have been attracting investors. According to AgFunder, an estimated $15 billion investment has been made in upstream startups in 2021. Undoubtedly, there is competition, as well as collaboration, to lead the way and provide value in this space.

As a result, companies across the globe are developing digital solutions that are assisting farmers in using data to make decisions that drive efficiency, sustainability and, ultimately, profitability. Bayer’s Climate FieldView (CFV) is an example of a platform designed to help farmers take data and information to insights and recommendations, adding value to their operation.

Alexandre Pimenta, Head of Climate FieldView Latin America, and Nick Ohrstrom, Director of Global Product Marketing at Climate FieldView, will join Luciano Castro and Marcos Fava Neves for a discussion exploring the challenges and opportunities for digital agriculture in the Brazilian and U.S. marketplaces. Participants will have the opportunity to share their perspective and experience in this quickly expanding world of digital business models.

Portraits from the New Era of Agri-Innovation

As innovation and technology adoption in the agribusiness sector have evolved, many new ideas have become mainstream while others are so disruptive it still isn’t clear what form they will ultimately take. During the summit, Aidan Connolly of AgriTech Capital will further investigate some of these trends and challenges with this thought in mind: While agriculture has innovated over centuries to feed a planet of 8 billion people, the pace of change and the pressures to disruptive traditional models have never been greater. How will agribusiness support, sustain and eventually accelerate this innovation to continue producing abundant, affordable food?

Connolly’s session will also include Arama Kukutai, CEO of Plenty (and formerly the CEO of leading agritech VC Finistere); Bill Buckner, CEO of Harpe Bio (one of the leading startups in the field of crop biologicals); and Anna Rath of Vestaron (and executive committee member of Biotechnology Innovation Organization). The group will explore the shape of the future in agritech and agri-food with a discussion centered around innovative ideas, new concepts and thought leadership across an array of agri technologies.

Be sure to download Connolly’s recent book, The Future of Agriculture, where he captures challenges, trends and recommendations for moving forward.

ProAgni: Innovating Value for Primary Producers

Lachlan Campbell, CEO and Founder of ProAgni, is a producer who collaborated with three other industry experts in different parts of the supply chain – Fiona Soulsby, Robert Bell, and Warren Lee. These four entrepreneurs co-founded ProAgni, an Australian-based company providing nutrition for cattle and sheep without antibiotics. This means producers can utilize feed more efficiently by reducing induction time, particularly in feedlots, which translates to significant cost saving implications for the producer. Being able to produce more with less is important economically. As ProAgni also has the capacity to reduce methane emissions, the results have positive impacts for the environment.

Damien McLoughlin (UCD Smurfit Graduate Business School in Ireland) will be joined by Lachlan Campbell and Warren Lee to discuss how they built their team and developed their technology, how they initially built their business in Australia, and how they’re looking at a business plan for a go-to-market strategy in the U.S. The discussion in the room will focus on how producers and industry experts can develop new business models. More importantly, ProAgni will have the opportunity to learn from participants in order to further grow its business.

Just last year, ProAgni was awarded Grow-NY®’s $1 million grand prize in its annual competition that attracts innovative, high-growth food and agriculture start-ups from across the globe.

Strategic Options for the Industry: A Facilitated Discussion

After our many intense strategic conversations, we will wrap up the Purdue Food and Agribusiness Executive Summit with Jay Akridge leading the group through a discussion summarizing key takeaways and action steps.


Scott Downey

Staff Bio

Scott Downey

Scott Downey is the director of the Center for Food and Agricultural Business and a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics. He teaches in many of the center’s programs, as well as leads sales and marketing courses of over 300 undergraduate students each semester. Scott joined Purdue University on a full time basis in 2000 after spending 15 years in the financial services industry. He is also the lead author of “ProSelling: A Professional Approach to Selling in Agriculture and Other Industries.”

Scott is a frequent speaker and consultant for agribusiness industry sales teams on professional development topics like precision selling, sales management and competitive sales strategies. The discovery process he created has been adopted by Fortune 300 companies and has been presented all over the world.

Scott received his bachelor’s degree at Purdue University in 1985 and his MBA from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Calif., in 1991. He completed his doctorate at Purdue in 2007 in consumer behavior, looking at the relationship sales preferences of ruralpolitan buyers.

He has served as an adviser to the Purdue chapter of the American Advertising Federation and helped students found the Purdue Ag Sales and Marketing Club. He is active in the National FFA sales competition and has been active on local boards at United Way and other organizations.

Scott is a fellow of Purdue’s Teaching Academy, which strives to bring together the best teaching faculty from across campus. He is the recipient of the 2012 Richard Kohls Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in the College of Agriculture at Purdue. He won a national teaching award in 2011 from the Agriculture and Applied Economics Association, the service organization for academics in agricultural economics.

His wife, Laura, is a veterinarian and currently heads a business that provides patient drug adherence products to pharmacies.


Justin Funk

Staff Bio

Justin Funk

Justin Funk is the managing partner of Agri Studies, a firm based out of Guelph, Ontario.  For over 20 years he has been dedicated to helping agribusiness organizations improve their ability to create value for customers through education, marketing research, and strategic planning.

Justin is an experienced educator teaching in both the academic and industry classroom. He has developed and delivered sales educational programs for numerous agribusiness organizations spanning all areas of the industry. He has taught Marketing Strategy in the University of Guelph’s MBA in Agriculture, Senior Undergraduate Marketing Strategy in the Department of Consumer Studies, and Professional Selling in the Diploma Program in Agriculture. He currently serves as affiliated faculty teaching executive programs at the Center for Food and Agricultural Business at Purdue University in Indiana.

Justin is also a marketing research practitioner, leading Agri Studies’ marketing research activities along with his new venture, RealAgristudies in partnership with the ag-media company Real Agriculture. His areas of expertise focus on Pricing, Segmentation, Distribution, Branding & Positioning, Demand Estimation, and Buyer Behavior.

From 2009 – 2018 Justin served as the National Chairman for the Canadian Agri Marketing Association (CAMA) and is a founding director of the of the Canadian Agri-Business Education Foundation (CABEF). In 2012, Justin was recognized by the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in the United States with the Professional Development Award of Excellence and was recognized locally as being a member of the City of Guelph’s Distinguished 40 Under 40. In November of 2019 he was named the Canadian Agri-Marketing Association’s Agri-Marketer of the Year.


Diversity of participants is critical to the discussions and interactions during the Summit. 

Applications are reviewed with the following considerations:

  • Scope of leadership in the context of company/division structure
  • Number of applicants from one company (not to exceed a total of three; consideration will be given to companies with several divisions/business units)
  • Five or more years of industry experience
  • Nominations by Steering Committee members
  • Balance of participants in supply chain segments and types of organizations


The review committee will closely adhere to the above admissions criteria and also reserve the right to exercise their judgment.

Summit Agenda

*Please note that Indiana is on Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) during this conference.

Download a printable PDF of the 2023 Food and Agribusiness Executive Summit agenda here.

*Agenda subject to change
Updated April 6, 2023

Travel and Information

Program Location

Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN 47906

June 5 – 5:30-7:30 p.m. EDT
Optional Networking Reception & Program Registration
Purdue Memorial Union Club Hotel Lobby
201 North Grant Street, West Lafayette, IN 47906
Locate with Google maps
Getting to Purdue University: Directions and Maps

June 6 – 7:00 a.m.-7:45 a.m. EDT
Registration and Breakfast
Purdue Memorial Union – East and West Faculty Lounges (2nd Floor)
101 North Grant Street
West Lafayette, IN 47906
PMU on the Campus MapSecond Floor PMU Map

Hotel information:
Hotel reservations have been made for you at the Purdue Memorial Union Club Hotel as part of your registration fee. DeShea Wallace will be in contact with confirmation numbers and more information closer to the program. If you need different or adjusted hotel accommodations, please contact DeShea at wallacda@purdue.edu.

Purdue Memorial Union Club Hotel

201 North Grant Street, West Lafayette, IN 47906
(765) 494-8922
Locate with Google maps

Program Parking and Transportation:
Visitor parking is located in the Grant Street Parking Garage, across from the Purdue Memorial Union Hotel. Parking is included in your hotel stay and the front desk will provide you with a parking pass to exit the garage. The garage is located at:

120 N. Grant Street
West Lafayette, IN 47906
Directions to Grant Street Parking Garage

Transportation will be provided to various locations on the Purdue University campus.

What to wear:
Attire for the program is business casual. June in Indiana is typically a low of 60 degrees with a high of up to 83 degrees.

As noted on the agenda, most meals are provided during the program. Coffee, soft drinks and refreshments will be available throughout each day.

Payment and Cancellation:
Payment for the Summit is due before June 5. Please refer to our cancellation policy for full details and information.

For more information contact:
DeShea Wallace
Event Manager



Cancellation Policy

Should you need to cancel or defer participation, you must submit your request in writing more than 30 days before the start of the program to receive a full refund. Applicant substitutions who meet the criteria are possible upon request. Due to program demand and the volume of pre-program preparation, cancellations or deferrals received 30 days prior to the start of the program are subject to a fee of one-half of the program rate. Requests received within 14 days are subject to full payment.

Past Summits

Since its launch in 2008, the Purdue Food and Agribusiness Executive Summit has been managed and led by Purdue University’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business in partnership with Wells Fargo Food and Agribusiness. The center and Wells Fargo invite industry leaders to participate in a Steering Committee that provides critical input and guidance to summit themes and case studies.

Past Summit Agendas

Past Participating Companies

1st Farm Credit Services
21st Century Equipment Inc.
AG Processing Inc. (AGP)
AGR Partners
AgReliant Genetics
AgriCapital Corporation
Agricultural Retailers Association
AgriTech Capital
Alltech Biotechnology
Alpharma Inc.
American AgCredit
American Crystal Sugar Company
American DairyCo
American Feed Industry Association (AFIA)
Aurora Organic Dairy
Aviagen Inc.
Bane Welker Equipment, LLC
BASF Corporation
Bay State Milling Company
Bayer US ‐ Crop Science
Beck Ag
Becks Superior Hybrids Inc.
Belstra Milling Company
Big Dutchman USA Inc.
Bulkmatic Transportation Inc.
Bunge Limited
Bunge North America Inc.
Centennial Ag Supply Company
Ceres Solutions
CGB Enterprises Inc.
CHS Inc.
CoBank, ACB
Compeer Financial
Context Network
Corn States LLC
Country Hedging Inc.
Crop Production Services
Dee River Ranch
Deere and Company
Demeter LP
DuPont Pioneer
Entira Inc.
Fair Oaks Dairy Farm LLC
Farm Credit Services of America
Farm Foundation
Farmers Business Network
Fastline Publications
FLM Harvest
Foremost Farms USA Cooperative
GLK Foods
GNP Company
Golden State Foods
Grammer Industries
GreenValley Ag & Turf
Gro Alliance LLC
GSI Group
Hirzel Canning Co.
Ice Miller LLP
Indiana Soybean Alliance
International Agribusiness Group
International Ingredient Corp.
International Raw Materials Ltd.
JBS United Inc.
John Deere
Kemin Industries Inc.
Kent Corporation
Key & Company LLC
Koch Industries Inc.
Kokomo Grain
Lake City Bank
Lakeshore Food Advisors LLC
Land O’Lakes, Inc.
Landus Cooperative
Lange-Stegmann Company
Maple Leaf Farms Inc.
McDonald’s Corporation
MFA inc
MFA Incorporated
Midwest Ag Finance Inc.
Midwest Growth Partners
Midwest Poultry Services
Midwest Poultry Services, L.P.
Miller Milling Company
Muscatine Foods Corporation
Nationwide Insurance Company
Neogen Corporation
New Holland Agriculture & Construction
Novus International Inc.
Oliver Manufacturing Co.
Passport Capital
Peterson Farms Seed
Pioneer Equipment Co.
Remington Seeds LLC
RiceTec Inc.
Riverview Farms
Select Sires Inc.
Siemer Milling Company
Specialty Commodities Inc.
Stoy Farms
Sunrise Cooperative
Teays River Investments
Texas A&M University
The Andersons Inc.
The Equity
The International Companies
The Kroger Company
The Mennel Milling Company
The Mosaic Company
Threemile Canyon Farms
Tom Farms LLC
Topcon Agriculture
Trimble Inc.
Trupointe Cooperative Inc.
UFA Cooperative Ltd
Una Terra LLC
United Farmers of Alberta Co‐operative
Vita Plus Corporation
Walker Ag Group
Wells Fargo Food and Agribusiness
West Central Inc.
West Plains Company
Western Milling LLC
Wyffels Hybrids Inc.

Purdue Food and Agribusiness Executive Summit

Fostering strategic thinking by convening industry leaders to network and exchange ideas on global issues affecting the agricultural industry.

Purdue Food and Agribusiness Executive Summit

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