Speaker Bios - 2018 

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Steve Beadle - Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Steve’s title at OMAFRA  is Engineer, Livestock Structures & Equipment (Sheep & Swine).  He earned his Bachelor of Engineering Science and Master of Engineering Science degrees in Structural Engineering at the University of Western Ontario.  Prior to joining OMAFRA in 2015, Steve served 6 years in the Canadian Forces (Army) as a Combat Engineer and subsequently worked in the geotechnical engineering field for 2 years.  He was then employed for over 10 years as the Senior Structural Engineer for a consulting engineering firm in Sarnia, Ontario.  There he gained considerable experience with codes & standards, practical structural design, project management and contract administration in the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors.

Based at the field office in Ridgetown, Steve’s current role with OMAFRA is to identify and evaluate engineering systems that contribute to a healthy environment, food safety and public welfare, while fostering innovation, economic opportunity and sustainability for the sheep and swine sectors.    

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Katie deBlock Boersma - Monteith Ritsma Phillips Professional Corporation

Katie DeBlock Boersma is an associate lawyer with Monteith Ritsma Phillips Professional Corporation. Working out of Mitchell, Stratford and Listowel, Ontario, she has extensive experience in the areas of labour and employment law. She has appeared before various courts and tribunals in Ontario, working for both employers and employees. Through both growing up on and continuing to live on a farm in Perth County, she has knowledge of the agricultural industry, and the particular legal and regulatory challenges posed to farmers today. She also works in the areas of corporate law, real estate and wills and estates, assisting her agricultural clients with corporate structuring and succession planning. Katie is currently a board member of the Stratford Public Library Foundation and Perth Care for Kids.

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George Charbonneau - Canadian Assocation of Swine Veterinarians

George  received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1981. He began his veterinary career by getting directly involved in swine production management. In 1989 George moved to Stratford where he and his wife, Ann Coyle, expanded the veterinary practice. George has been involved with a number of industry groups over the years including the Ontario Pork Congress and the Ontario Pork Industry Council. George has served as President of the Ontario Association of Swine Veterinarians, Canadian Association of Swine Veterinarians and is currently a Director of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. George is a veterinarian at South West Ontario Veterinary Services.

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Cameron Charleton - RBC 

Cameron is a business graduate from the School of Management at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia where he was on a swimming scholarship 1999 – 2003 and represented Canada and his University on the World stage for much of his life. He was a member of the Canadian National Team before retiring in 2003 with various NCAA records.  In 2004 after trying his hand at full time dairy farming, he transitioned from sport and farming and took a new direction into finance, more specifically Commercial banking.  Here he put to use his University education and Agriculture upbringing to specialize in Agriculture/Agri-business finance.

In 2012, he then took on a new challenge and role within RBC of building the Commercial Equipment Finance portfolio.  In this capacity, he continued to serve RBC Commercial clients covering farms, agribusinesses, public and private sector operations across Central Ontario. 

Fast-forward to the Fall of 2014 and he has come back to Account Management in a senior level desk serving large farm producers and agribusinesses in the Huron/Perth area of Southwestern Ontario.Cameron is a two time Canadian Masters swimming record holder and Olympic trial qualifier in 2000, 2004, and 2008.  In 2017 Cameron was the recipient of the RBC Regional President’s Platinum Award for service.  Cameron’s hobbies include Swimming, Baseball, Farming, Ag Finance, Traveling, and Skeet Shooting.  He is married with 2 boys and resides in Belmont Ontario.

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Joel DeRouchey - Kansas State University 

Dr. Joel DeRouchey serves Kansas State University Research and Extension as a Swine Extension Specialist.  DeRouchey graduated from B.S in Animal Science from South Dakota State University and MS and PhD from Kansas State University in swine nutrition. Joel works as a member of the productive K-State Applied Swine Nutrition Team developing, evaluating, and disseminating the latest information to increase profitability of pork producers.  He has received both the American Society of Animal Science Midwest Section Outstanding Young Extension Specialist and Young Researcher awards. South Dakota State University also has recognized him with their Outstanding Young Alumni Award, and Vance Publishing awarded him to the “40 under 40” recognition for leadership and commitment in advancing the cause to double food production by 2050. Joel has co-authored 135 refereed journal papers, 348 abstracts, 532 extension publications and field day reports, and 11 book chapters. Joel has been the PI or Co-PI on over $8 million in grants and gifts to Kansas State University to support research and extension efforts. Joel and his wife Julene have three children, James, Jenna and Jacob.

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Heather Ferguson - True Foods

Heather Ferguson grew up in rural Hamilton Wentworth County and has not strayed far, now residing on a farm in Wellington County.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from the University of Guelph and a Master in Business Administration specializing in Strategy from Wilfrid Laurier University. Heather has always had a keen interest in agricultural associated industries and for continued education. Throughout her career she has been involved in many agricultural education roles including working for 4-H Ontario, the Advanced Agriculture Leadership Program and currently in her role as Value Chain Manager for True Foods, a Grand Valley Fortifiers company. 

As Value Chain manager, Heather is involved in governing value chains from farm to shelf to ensure label claims stated on packaging are consistently monitored to conform to CFIA and/or USDA standards.  This role includes extensive research and the ability to disseminate information to all stages across the value chain right from producer through processor and to retailer (grocery or food service).  Her role also demands a high level of attention to detail as she writes production protocol, administers auditing schedules and stores valuable documentation that adds to the transparency of the True Foods governed value chains.

In her spare time, Heather owns and operates a riding stable in Puslinch, where she enjoys breeding and training sport horses, competing with her own show horses and coaching her riding students.

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Hyatt Frobose - Jyga Technologies 

Dr. Hyatt Frobose serves as the Swine Nutrition Specialist and US Business Manager for JYGA Technologies, Inc., a Quebec-based company producing GESTAL brand precision feeding systems for lactating and group-housed gestating sows. Hyatt specializes in assisting swine producers with group-housing solutions and nutritional programs to optimize performance and welfare of gestating and lactating sows in commercial environments.


In 2015, Dr. Frobose completed his doctorate degree in swine nutrition and management at Kansas State University where he authored or co-authored 8 refereed journal articles and 22 abstracts. This research focused on nutrition and reproduction interactions in gestating & lactating sows and the effects of mycotoxins on pig growth. During graduate school, Hyatt also served as a 2011 US Fulbright Scholar to Australia and coached the K-State collegiate livestock judging team from 2010-2014.

Currently, Hyatt, his wife Brandi and daughter Oakley own and operate a cow/calf operation in Greeley, KS. Dr. Frobose remains an avid judge of livestock shows, coaches the local 4-H livestock judging team and is involved in agricultural advocacy efforts as a National Pork Board Operation Main Street speaker.

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Briana Hagen - University of Guelph

Briana is currently pursuing a PhD in the department of Population Medicine at the University of Guelph, under the supervision of Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton. Her current research program involves using both quantitative and qualitative research methods to understand mental health and wellness among agricultural producers in Ontario, including stress, anxiety, depression, and help-seeking. Before coming to the University of Guelph, Briana completed an honours bachelor's degree in Psychology at the University of Winnipeg (2009), with a mixed methods thesis focusing on help-seeking behaviours for mental health issues among Indigenous peoples in northern Manitoba. Subsequently, she completed a Master's of Science in Community Health and Epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan (2011), continuing to work in mental health research, focusing on risk factors for suicide within Indigenous populations across Canada.


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Amanda Hammell RBC

Amanda grew up on a cash crop and beef feedlot farm just outside Brampton. This, along with involvement in 4-H and Junior Farmers, built the foundation for a career in Ontario Agriculture.  She earned a Bachelor of Commerce Degree specializing in Agricultural Business with Honours at the University of Guelph.

Currently Amanda is a Senior Financing Specialist in Agriculture with RBC Royal Bank where her focus is on developing solutions to help clients achieve their business, financial and operational objectives.  Amanda also completed the Internship for Young Leaders Program.  She has played an active role in various agricultural committees and boards in her local community and recently completed her term on the Board of the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors and is currently Past Chair.

Amanda and her husband Steve currently own and operate a 60 kg dairy farm near Tara, ON which they started on their own 6 years ago. In addition to the dairy they have a purebred Angus seed-stock business.  They are busy raising their daughters Madison, Hailey and Ava and can often be found exhibiting cattle at many local fall shows.

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Dan Hawkins - FarmLink Marketing Solutions
 

Dan is a Senior Marketing Advisor with FarmLink Marketing Solutions, Western Canada’s leading provider of grain marketing services focused on maximizing Farmer’s returns.  Prior to joining FarmLink, Dan gained experience in the agriculture industry across most of Canada and into the U.S.  He has held various positions including chemical marketing representative for Monsanto, crop economist for Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation, equipment manufacturing corporate representative for John Deere in London and Moncton, rep. on the stock desk of TD Waterhouse in Toronto, farm lender for Farm Credit Corporation, and most recently as a consulting agronomist.  Dan grew up on the family farm near Kyle, SK where his family operates a grain farm.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture Economics and a Master’s Degree in Economics both at the University of Saskatchewan.  Dan and his wife, Marianne, currently reside in Swift Current, SK.

 Marianne Hawkins
Marianne Hawkins - Plainview Consulting
 

Marianne is a management consultant and business owner.  She has worked for Accenture in Toronto, Deloitte and MNP in Saskatoon, and now has her own consulting practice based out of Saskatchewan.  She works with people who are intent on developing a solution to a challenge, bettering a system, or achieving a goal.  Her clients are passionate about their farms, companies, organizations, and communities.  She provides them with business, HR, and IT advisory services as well as customized training, research, and project management deliverables.

Marianne is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan and holds the Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation.  In addition to her consulting work, Marianne gained experience in industry, academic institutions, and was the Executive Director of the Swift Current Chamber of Commerce.  She is the Cypress Chapter Chair for the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors (CAFA), and has served as board member and volunteer for numerous organizations during the past 25 years.


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Trish Jordan - Monsanto
 
Trish Jordan is passionate about agriculture, farmers and enhancing agricultural awareness with the non-farming public. 

In her current role as Public and Industry Affairs Director with Monsanto, Trish is responsible for media relations, issues management and providing strategic communications support to core business activities. Trish also manages Monsanto Canada’s Grower Advisory Council and the company’s recent efforts to share the story of modern agriculture with consumer audiences. 

Trish started her 33-year career in agriculture with Alberta Wheat Pool, a farmer-owned grain co-op based in Calgary.  After 12 years in a wide-variety of communication-related roles with Alberta Pool, she assumed the position of Director of Resources and Communications with Canadian Foodgrains Bank – a Christian-based non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Winnipeg that provides food aid and development assistance to small holder farmers in the developing world. She also worked briefly in advertising and media relations with the Canadian Wheat Board before joining Monsanto in January 2001.

Trish donates her time to several boards and committees, including Agriculture in the Classroom-Manitoba, the Canadian Agriculture Hall of Fame and CropLife Canada’s Advocacy, Communications and Trust committee.  In 2013, Trish was honoured to receive the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her leadership in agriculture; advocacy for innovation and competitiveness; and her commitment to community service. 

When not working, Trish is an avid competitive golfer and passionate curler. She also enjoys NFL Football, curling up with a good book, and spending time visiting friends on the farm.

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Andria Jones-Bitton - University of Guelph 

Andria Jones-Bitton is a veterinarian and Associate Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Population Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. Her current research largely centres on the epidemiology of mental health and resilience in the agricultural and veterinary sectors.  Continuing areas of research include foodborne, waterborne and zoonotic diseases, and public health. She uses a mixed research methods approach (quantitative and qualitative) to achieve her research objectives.  Andria loves Canadian agriculture, and is proud to work with Canadian farmers.

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Mark Knauer - North Carolina State University
 
Mark Knauer was born and raised on a pure-line pig and cattle operation in southern Wisconsin. He received his B.S. in agriculture education and M.S. in animal breeding at Iowa State University. Following his time at ISU, Mark completed his PhD in animal breeding and genetics at North Carolina State University. After graduating Mark completed a short Postdoc at the Institute for Pig Genetics in the Netherlands before accepting a position with the National Pork Board as the Director of Animal Science. Dr. Knauer is currently an associate professor and swine extension specialist at North Carolina State University where he focuses on genetics and production management.
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Ed Metzger - Southwest Ontario Veterinary Services
 
Ed grew up in Linwood, Ontario and has always had an interest in agriculture and livestock production.  As a second generation veterinarian, Ed has a strong background and understanding of local Ontario agriculture.  He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2016 before joining the South West Vets team in May 2016 as an associate veterinarian.  Ed’s professional interests in the health management of swine have lead him to many opportunities across Canada and the United States.   His experiences allow him to bring a fresh and diverse outlook on Canadian agriculture to the South West team.  In his spare time, Ed can be found at the rink lacing up the skates or spending time with his family.  Ed also enjoys spending time outdoors, hunting, and fishing.
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John Patience - Iowa State University 

John is a Professor of Applied Swine Nutrition in the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University. Originally from Thamesford, he earned B.Sc. (Agr) and M.Sc. degrees from the University of Guelph, and a Ph.D. from Cornell University. For 21 years, he directed the Prairie Swine Centre in Saskatoon after which, in 2008, he accepted his current position at Iowa State.  John’s research focuses on the supply and utilization of energy in swine diets, but more recently, he has been concentrating on fat and fibre utilization and metabolism. His interest in fibre has turned into an even more recent focus on how diet composition affects factors related to gut health, and specifically how the diet can impact the pig’s ability to resist or tolerate exposure to certain pathogens. John also consults extensively in pig nutrition and management across North and South America as well as Europe and Asia. He has 3 children and 2 grandchildren, all of whom live in or near Toronto.  John’s favourite quote is from Mae West: “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough!”

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Jenny Patterson University of Alberta

Jennifer is the Senior Research Coordinator for the Swine Reproduction & Development Program (SRDP) at the University of Alberta.  She received her MSc in Animal Science from the University of Alberta, specializing in Gilt Management and Reproduction.  She works closely with industry partners and pork production system’s in North America to conduct innovative research projects in commercial settings.  Currently, she is responsible for the overall management of a multi-year, multi-institution, research project on Sow Lifetime Productivity (SLP) funded by the National Pork Board USA and an industry sponsor (PIC).  She is involved in the administration and coordination of research activities, the analysis and development of reports and scientific manuscripts and the presentation of results at various local and international meetings and conferences.  

 

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John F.T. Scott - Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute 

John F.T. Scott is an economist, consultant and speaker specializing in the Food Distribution and Retail sector.  He currently analyzes strategies and frequently writes and speaks on Canada’s food industry to various groups and companies.   He is renowned for weaving the preferences of the evolving consumer into the evolving dynamics of the industry.

John is Chair of both the Board of Directors of the Canadian Agri Food Policy Institute (CAPI) and the Board of Governors of Niagara College.  He is Past Chair of the acclaimed Vineland Research and Innovation Centre and a former Director of the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA).   He currently serves on the Board of Platform Genetics Inc. as well as the North American Advisory Board of Monaghan Mushrooms.

John is one of only three individuals who have received both of the highest recognitions in Canada’s retail food industry – the Golden Pencil (Hall of Fame) and the Spirit of the Independent Award (Inspiration to Entrepreneurs in the Sector).

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Greg Wideman - South West Ontario Veterinary Clinic 

Greg is a partner in South West Ontario Veterinary Services, a swine-only veterinary practice founded in 2010. Professional interests include on-farm clinical research, disease surveillance and control, and production analysis. Greg received his BSc from the University of Waterloo in 1998 and DVM degree from the University of Guelph in 2003. Greg and his family live in Stratford, Ontario.