Below please find detailed information regarding speakers at the upcoming 2018 Expo.
What a wealth of knowledge these speakers will be sharing. Make sure you attend!!
Key Note Speakers
Boone Peeler – SC FSA State Executive Director
Boone Peeler, FSA State Executive Director, is a born and raised South Carolinian with deep ties to agriculture in his state. Peeler previously worked in state government and is currently serving his 3rd term on the Gaffney City Council. In his spare time, Peeler enjoys spending time with his two girls, and cheering on his beloved alma mater, the Clemson University Tigers.
Mary Kay Thatcher – American Farm Bureau
Mary Kay Thatcher has worked as a lobbyist for the American Farm Bureau Federation for 30 years. She currently serves as Senior Director of Congressional Relations where she lobbies primarily on issues covering farm programs, crop insurance, conservation, credit and Big Data.
Mary Kay served in the “first” Bush Administration as a political appointee as the director of congressional and public affairs of the Farm Credit Administration. In that capacity, she was responsible for the policy direction and management of the agency’s congressional and public affairs activities.
Prior to joining AFBF in 1982, Thatcher served as a legislative assistant for agriculture and trade to Sen. Roger Jepsen of Iowa. She is a graduate of Iowa State University where she earned degrees in animal science and agricultural economics.
Thatcher is a fifth generation Iowa farmer. She grew up on a 500-acre Iowa beef, hay and corn farm. She now manages a farm in Iowa producing corn and soybeans, as well as a cow/calf operation.
Program Speakers in Alpha Order
Kellie Altman – G Squared Urban Farms
Kellie Altman from Florence, SC, had a desire to teach people about good nutrition – and show them how to do it for themselves. Based on this yearning to help others, Kellie and Randal began operating a greenhouse completely filled with towers.
Today, G Squared Urban Farms is growing hardy, ready-to-plant vegetable and herb seedlings. Designed in partnership with Juice Plus+, the Altman farm is one of the first few vertical aeroponic food farms in the Southeast US. Operated by solar power and minimizing water consumption in a 3,000 square-foot greenhouse, dozens of Towers are producing locally grown, chemical-free produce – mature veggies being sold to local restaurants and savvy consumers, as well.
Tim Blank – Juice Plus, Chief Technology Officer
Tim Blank, For the past 10 years, Tim has been the go to expert as the world’s leader in vertical aeroponic food farms utilizing patented Tower Garden® technology which is the same technology used by NASA. With over 300 successful projects across North America, Tower Garden leads the way in the local food growing movement, which has become a permanent mainstream trend in the United States.
Matt Burleson – SCDA, Field Specialist
Matt studied Business Administration at Faulkner University in Montgomery, AL. He is a SCDA Field Specialist Supervisor for Grading, Inspections and Grain, as well as a USDA Lead Auditor and audit reviewer. Matt is a state supervisor for Farmer’s Stock Peanuts, and also an ISO 9001 Certified Lead Auditor.
Jessica Cabrera – Director of Member Engagement & Leadership Development, SC Farm Bureau Federation. Jessica Cabrera holds a B.A. from Clemson University and a M.Ed. in Adult Education and Training from Colorado State University. Currently Jessica holds the position of Director of Member Engagement and Leadership Development at South Carolina Farm Bureau (SCFB) Federation, a grassroots, non-profit organization made up of over 100,000 members whose mission is to promote agricultural interests in South Carolina through legislative advocacy, education, and leadership development. She is passionate about the role of non-profits, volunteer leaders and community engagement and believes in leveraging the talents and interests of others to work toward a common goal. Jessica will be facilitating the Farmer Panelist.
Josh Baxley – Josh is farmer in Georgetown County. He currently farms tobacco, grains and beef cattle. On his cattle operation, he has been using artificial insemination for over 20 years, along with embryo transfer and other breeding technologies for the past 6 years.
Dean Hutto – Dean is a row crop farmer in Orangeburg County. He currently farms cotton, corn, peanuts, soybeans and oats. He has been using drones on his farm for 4 years.
Joe Oswald – Joe is a row crop farmer in Allendale County. He currently farms cotton, corn, soybeans, grains, peanuts, and cattle. He’s been using variable rate fertilizer, planting, and irrigation technologies on his farm for 4 years.
Guy Ramsey – Guy is a cattle farmer in York County who produces his own hay. He holds two provisional patents on hay yield monitoring technologies in partnership with Clemson University.
Jason Rodgers – Jason is a specialty crop farmer for Titan Farms in Edgefield County. They currently produce peaches, bell peppers, broccoli and eggplant. He has been using soil moisture probes on the farm for 5 years.
Dr. James J. Camberato, Ph.D. – Purdue University, Professor of Agronomy
James Camberato earned a Ph.D. in soil science from North Carolina State University in 1987. He was a Professor and Extension specialist with Clemson Univ. for 17 years before his current position with Purdue Univ. for the last 11 years. His Extension and research activities are related to soil fertility, plant nutrition and nutrient management primarily in agronomic and turf grass systems. James has written many Extension publications and presents to more than 2,000 agricultural advisors, Certified Crop Advisors, and farmers annually. He has authored 56 refereed publications, more than 125 abstracts and proceedings, and 13 book chapters. He has served as Associate Editor for the Soil Science Society of America Journal (6 yr), the Agronomy Journal (3 yr), and the Journal of Sustainable Agriculture (7 yr). James was chair of the Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition division of the Soil Science Society of America in 2017. Additional detail available at: https://ag.purdue.edu/agry/directory/CVs/Camberato%20CV%20Document%202017%20for%20Digital%20Measures.pdf
Dr. John P. Chastain, Ph.D. — Clemson University, Extension Agricultural Engineer
John P. Chastain has been a faculty member at Clemson University since August 1995. Where his extension and research responsibilities include: animal waste collection and storage systems, land application of animal wastes and municipal sludge, alternative uses of waste, bioenergy from waste, odor control from animal production units, planning of animal production systems to protect surface and ground water quality, improving energy efficiency, use of alternative energy, and general livestock facility design.
Dr. Matthew Cutulle – Clemson University, Asst Professor
Dr. Matthew Cutulle is an assistant professor of vegetable weed science at Clemson University located at the joint Clemson/USDA Charleston vegetable lab. Dr. Cutulle’s research at Clemson is focused on evaluation of chemical, cultural, genetic, and mechanical practices for sustainable weed control in vegetables. Prior to joining Clemson, he was a research and development scientist at Syngenta crop protection. While at Syngenta Dr. Cutulle worked on a team tasked with the development of Bicyclopyrone herbicide for use in vegetable crops. He was also the lead scientist for herbicide volatility, tree crop herbicides, and pinoxaden herbicide projects at Syngenta’s Vero Beach research facility. Dr. Cutulle got his Ph.D. in the department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. At Virginia Tech Dr. Cutulle was involved in integrated pest management research across multiple crop systems under the guidance of Dr. Jeff Derr. Dr Cutulle has published 11 peer reviewed papers and presented more than 40 times at scientific meetings, field days, industry field tours, educational short courses and departmental seminars in the fields of weed science, plant pathology, and horticulture.
Mark Dempsey – Carolina Farm Stewardship, On-Farm Organic Consulting
Mark Dempsey worked as an agronomic researcher in Pennsylvania before moving to North Carolina several years ago. At CFSA Mark helps farmers transition to certified organic production by helping with the certification process, consulting on organic production techniques, and writing conservation activity plans geared toward the transition to organic.
Martin Eubanks – SC Dept of Ag, Asst. Commissioner Of Ag
Martin L. Eubanks serves as the Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture, Agricultural Services, for the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in Agronomy.
Martin has served many roles in his 30 years of service with the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. He began his duties as a Marketing Specialist with the peach industry and has worked with all of the fruit and vegetable commodity groups in South Carolina during his tenure. He has also served as the Senior Commodity Merchandiser for the Department where he built strong retail relationships to facilitate volume movement of South Carolina fruit and vegetable commodities through retail and wholesale channels in major markets. Martin was named Assistant Commissioner in August of 2011. Marketing, Fruit and Vegetable Market News, Fruit and Vegetable Inspection, Farmers Markets, and the Agriculture Commission are under his administrative management.
Dr. Lauren L. Griffeth – University of Georgia, Extension
Dr. Lauren Ledbetter Griffeth is an Extension Leadership Specialist in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Georgia. She currently directs Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture and Forestry, Extend, and Extension Academy professional leadership programs.
Dr. Griffeth’s research interests include: generational differences in the workplace, organizational development, and women’s leadership development. She is a triple dawg, obtaining a bachelor of science in agricultural communications, masters of education and a doctoral degree in adult education from the University of Georgia where she was just named a “40 Under 40 Alumni.” Dr. Griffeth has been published in the Harvard Business Review and is a columnist for the Pink Tractor Magazine.
Before serving as a faculty member, Dr. Griffeth held a variety of roles in development and has contributed to raising over $7 million in private support for education and healthcare initiatives.
Dr. Ronnie Heiniger – North Carolina State University, Extension
Dr. Ronnie Heiniger is a professor in the Department of Crop and Soils Sciences at North Carolina State University. He received his PhD in crop ecology from Kansas State University in 1994. Dr. Heiniger has worked for the past 23 years as a research and extension specialist at the Vernon G. James Research and Extension Center in Plymouth, NC. His responsibilities include research into precision agriculture and corn-wheat-soybean cropping systems. Dr. Heiniger is known for his applied research. He has published over 50 research publications, 80 extension articles, and presented numerous abstracts and papers covering his work in precision agriculture, the use of aerial photography to determine nitrogen requirements for corn and wheat, phyllochron intervals in wheat and managing high-yield corn from emergence to harvest. Dr. Heiniger has received the Gerold O Mott Award for outstanding research from the American Society of Agronomy, is a three time recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from both the North Carolina Corn Grower’s Association and the North Carolina Small Grain Grower’s Association and is a member of the Academy of Outstanding Extension Specialists at North Carolina State University.
Rebecca Schmidt-Jeffris – Clemson University, Asst. Professor
Rebecca Schmidt-Jeffris is assistant professor and extension specialist at Clemson University. Her research program focuses on vegetable and strawberry entomology. She is particularly interested in biological control, soil health management impacts on insect pests, and spider mite management.
Dr. Laura Perry Johnson – University of Georgia, Extension
Dr. Laura Perry Johnson has served as the Associate Dean for Extension at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences since January of 2015. She leads an organization of county extension agents and state specialists who serve Georgia’s agricultural industry, support Georgia families and run the Georgia 4-H youth development program serving more than 170,000 young people. UGA Extension serves citizens in all of Georgia’s 159 counties and beyond.
Dr. Johnson has been with the College of Agricultural Environmental Sciences since 1993. She began her career as the State 4-H Livestock specialist. During her tenure, the 4-H Animal Programs flourished and grew in both size and scope.
In 2002, she became the 4-H Program Development Coordinator for the Southwest District and in 2012 was promoted to the UGA Extension District Director for Southwest Georgia, where she guided all Extension programs for 41 counties in the biggest row crop agriculture area of Georgia.
Dr. Johnson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science from UGA, and a Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Animal Science specializing in meat and muscle biology. A native of Moultrie, GA and part of a 7th generation family farming operation, Dr. Johnson is married to Scott Johnson and they have two teenaged children, Bill and Libba.
Dr. Adam Kantrovich – Clemson University, Associate Professor
Dr. Adam Kantrovich comes to Clemson University following 10-years with Michigan State University Extension where he spent time in the field working with a diverse group of farms and farm products in the area pf Farm Business Management. Dr. Kantrovich’s programming areas included accounting & financial analysis, farm succession & estate planning, agricultural tax management, labor related issues especially as it relates to H2-A taxation and health care issues, affordable care act for agricultural employers, and ag law and policy. Prior to his last position at Michigan State University Extension he has had a wealth of experience in the private and public sectors including faculty at other universities, working in the commodity futures market at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and with the U.S.D.A. APHIS. You may contact Dr. Adam Kantrovich at 803-788-5700 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kathy McCaskill, McCaskill Farms
Kathy and husband Lee have been together 40 years now. They have three children and 11 grandchildren, with a set of twin boys, and all live within seven miles of each other. They have always been self-employed. Lee worked while Kathy stayed on the home front raising their children and keeping the books. Lee is a licensed general contractor specializing in historical renovations, who has received two historical awards for his work. Kathy is the farmer. They have evolved into what is now Old McCaskill’s Farm out of necessity. They started out as a hobby farm, but quickly realized they needed to produce some revenue. So, all the moving parts of the farm include: the farm with store, B&B, field trips and tours, events and weddings, lunch on the farm on Fridays, canning classes, 2 farm days a year and country Christmas shopping with 50+ vendors in December. Their daughter is making a living, as well, in the DHEC kitchen on the farm (which was built for canning) by catering, hosting lunch on the farm on Fridays, and selling frozen homemade meals. Our oldest granddaughter is in her first year of college majoring in hospitality in hopes of taking this over. Our two sons are also in the construction business: the middle son is a self-employed contractor now and the youngest still works for Lee. According to Kathy, “All this kinda found us and evolved as our children grew up and left home. This was never a dream we said we wanted to do one day, but do enjoy it as it is a labor of love!”
Buz Kloot – University of SC, Research, Associate Professor
Buz started his professional life as a chemical engineer and spent 12 years in the mining/mineral processing industry in Namibia, Africa. In 1999, he joined the University of South Carolina and has been involved in various projects related to agriculture and environmental quality. Buz is passionate about working directly with farmers on soil health projects and research and how they can leverage the cover crop to improve crop performance both in terms of yield and savings in inputs. Buz’s passion for soils has moved him into the roles of storytelling through video. His documentary “Under Cover Farmers” and his recent series on the “Science of Soil Health” and “The International year of Soils”, available on line, are examples of his work and passion.
Buz is a research associate professor in the Environmental Health Sciences Department at USC’s Arnold School of Public Health and holds degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and an MBA and PhD from the University of South Carolina.
Kevin Matthews – Farmer and Entrepreneur
Kevin and wife Cindy owns and operate Matthews Family Farms of North Carolina, Inc., Precision Nutrient Management, Inc., and Deep Creek Grain, Inc. in East Bend and Yadkinville N.C. They have three children Megan, Timothy, and Danielle a sophomore studying Agrobusiness Management along with crop and soil science at North Carolina State University. Prior to farming full-time Kevin earned an Associate Degree in Electronic Engineering that has been a huge asset in there farming operation.
Kevin while being very active in his community and commodity groups he spends tremendous time implementing and testing new technologies and test plots with a focus in no-till conservation and irrigation management. These practices have blessed Matthews Family Farms of NC, Inc. with numerous high yield awards in Corn and Soybeans from no-till dryland to Irrigated crops. Irrigation began with Center Pivots early on to now many acres of Sub surface drip “SDI” irrigation. The SDI success along with non-irrigated no-till yields has created many opportunities to teach others. With many speaking engagements all over the country from small and large field day groups to multiple presentations at the Commodity Classic and the AgPhd field day with his very own test plots in Baltic S.D. creating a passion to share his success with others!
Kevin gives credit to the Lord first and his great team of employees and family for the yielding success and management of their farm consisting of 6,500+ acres and nearly 800 acres of custom work producing Corn, Wheat, full and double crop Soybeans over a 50-mile distance across four counties in the piedmont region. Primarily rich flat river bottom and red clay rolling upland soils.
Tony Melton – Clemson University, Senior County Extension Agent with Horticulture
Mr. Melton has a B.S. and M.S. in Horticulture – Clemson University. Tony grows a 20-acre vegetable demonstration area at the Pee Dee Research & Education center. (15 acres of regular production and 5 acres of organic production.) Over the past 20 years, Tony has served as panelists on the SC-ETV program Making-it-Grow, written a weekly news article for the Morning News and taught a Master Gardener class.
Scott Mikey – Clemson University, Extension
Scott Mickey is an Extension Associate with Clemson University and member of the Extension Agribusiness Program Team. Scott’s specialties include farm financial management, grain marketing and risk management. Scott has extensive experience as a farm business analysis fieldman and is located at the Sumter County Extension Office. He has a BS in Agricultural Economics from Virginia Tech University and is originally from West Virginia.
Gena Moore – Carolina Farm Stewardship, Organic Research Coordinator
Gena Moore is a North Carolina native, born and raised on a horse farm in Union County. She received a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources from North Carolina State University and a master’s degree in Agriculture Education from North Carolina A&T University. Gena has been conducting organic vegetable crop research in high tunnels for over four years. Gena, her husband Aaron, and their three boys live on a sustainably managed horse farm while also raising livestock, poultry, and producing specialty crops.
Katie Moore – Clemson University, Extension
Katie Moore has a B.S. and Masters in Agricultural Education. After teaching high school agriculture for a few years, she is now the Clemson Extension Associate for the Pesticide Safety Education Program.
Bernt Nelson – Clemson University, Extension Associate
Bernt Nelson received both his BS and MS in Agricultural Economics from North Dakota State University. He comes from a familyfarm in rural LaMoure North Dakota where they raise row crops, cattle, and hogs. He became a part of the Clemson team in 2016. His specialties include commodity market analysis, risk management, and crop and livestock economics.
Lucy Ray – University of Georgia, Extension
Lucy Ray is the Agricultural and Natural Resources Agent and the County Extension Coordinator in Morgan County, Georgia. She provides unbiased, research-based information and one-on-one consultations for Morgan County’s $150 million dollar agricultural industry with a focus on pasture/forage management, dairy production, and row crop production including corn, cotton, soybeans, canola, sesame, wheat, and winter field peas. Ms. Ray serves as an ex-officio board member for the Morgan County Row Crop Association, Morgan County Dairy Association, Piedmont Poultry Association, and Morgan County Cattlemen’s Association. In addition, she is a board member for the National Morgan Reining Horse Association. She was recognized as the 2016 Georgia Cattlemen’s Association County Agent of the Year. Ms. Ray has had research published in Reproduction of Domestic Animals. She was awarded the National Association of County Agricultural Agents Achievement Award in 2014.
Lucy spearheaded the development of the Southern Women in Agriculture (SWAG) workshop, a hands-on training for women, led by six female County Agricultural Agents. The first workshop was held in fall of 2015 and was such a success it led to the workshop being offered annually in various locations throughout the state. The SWAG workshops have provided training in equipment operation, livestock handling, and Beef Quality Assurance to over 120 participants.
Ms. Ray earned a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Berry College and a Masters in Animal Science from the University of Georgia. Before coming to work for UGA Extension, she was an animal science instructor for Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia. Ms. Ray raises horses and operates a small commercial beef cattle operation.
Trent Rushton — SCDA, Produce Safety
Trent Rushton is an Outreach Specialist with the S.C. Department of Agriculture’s Produce Safety department. In his position, he is responsible for ensuring that the Produce Safety Rule is successfully implemented in the state of S.C., and that all who may be affected by the new law receive the help that they need. Trent is a lifelong agriculturist who has a diverse collection of experiences in agriculture, with a great deal of time spent working in the produce industry. Trent is from the agriculture-rich area of eastern Aiken county and still resides there, near the town of Salley. Trent attended Clemson University and graduated with an Agricultural Education degree and a minor in Horticulture. Trent takes his job very seriously and knows that the better job he does, the better of a job South Carolinas farmers can do.
Dr. Nathan Smith — Clemson University, Professor
Dr. Nathan Smith is an Extension Professor and Economist with Clemson University. He is located at the Sandhills Research and Education Center in Columbia, SC where he serves as Agribusiness Program Team Leader. His major responsibilities are production economics and risk management of row crops.
Dr. Smith was an Associate Professor and Extension Economist with the University of Georgia prior to joining Clemson University. He was located on the Tifton Campus where his major responsibilities were production economics, marketing and policy for peanuts, feed grains, and soybeans. Dr. Smith was Extension Marketing Specialist for row crops at the University of Arkansas for three years prior to joining the University of Georgia. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Clemson University, Master of Science degree from Auburn University and PhD from the University of Kentucky, all in agricultural economics. Dr. Smith was raised in Easley, South Carolina and met his wife, Kim, while attending Clemson University. They have two sons Douglas and Daniel.
Trish Tripp – Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Produce Safety Manager
Patricia (Trish) Tripp is an advocate for safe, healthy and sustainable agricultural practices and has successfully partnered with local farmers, the agriculture industry, non-profits and public health community to support and enhance this mission through consulting, grass-roots program development and public heath education. She holds a B. S. in Chemistry and Master’s Degree, from Virginia Tech, in Agricultural & Life Sciences. Patricia has extensive expertise in on-farm food safety, food defense, sustainable farming practices, food systems and post harvest physiology. Patricia is the Local Produce Safety Manager for Carolina Farm Stewardship Association who shares the same mission in supporting small, diversified growers with food safety compliance and supply chain opportunities.
Amy Weaver – SC Farm to Institution, Director
Amy Weaver is the Farm to Institution Director at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Core goals of South Carolina Farm to Institution include providing education to food service staff on procuring and preparing local products, promoting SC Grown within cafeterias and food service operations, and creating hands-on experiences such as farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, and institutional gardens. Prior to joining the SC Farm to Institution team in 2013, Amy worked at the University of South Carolina on a number of research projects aimed towards improving children’s health and nutrition. Amy also serves on the City of Columbia Food Policy Committee as the co-chair.
Katie Welborn – Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Policy Coordinator
Katie Welborn is the South Carolina Policy Coordinator at the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. Katie’s background is in political and nonprofit organizing as well as food systems work with the Square Foot Gardening Foundation and the Arnold School of Public Health. Katie serves on the SC Food Policy Council, the Midlands Food Alliance leadership team, the State Extension Advancement Council, and several other groups working on food and agricultural initiatives in SC.