2009 Conference Speakers

  1. Mike Adams
  2. Bruce Blakemore
  3. Ralph Duren
  4. Nathan Fields
  5. Paul Gorman
  1. Dr. Jon Hagler
  2. Dr. Richard Joerger
  3. Carl Johnson
  4. Gary Johnson
  5. Kevin L. Kliesen
  1. Dan Manternach
  2. Julie Maschhoff
  3. Roger McEowen
  4. Kent Meister
  5. Dale Nordquist
  1. David Oldfield
  2. Ron Plain
  3. Lyle Stewart
  4. Jim Vermazen
  5. Dr. Patrick Westhoff


Bruce Blakemore

Bruce BlakemoreBruce Blakemore grew up on a beef cattle farm in Southwest Missouri, where he spent many hours cutting, raking and baling hay. He began riding a tractor at age eight and used song-writing and deep thinking as a way to pass the time during the long days. He is currently raises beef cattle and is a vocational agriculture teacher and FFA advisor in his hometown of Walnut Grove, Missouri.

The son of a musician, Bruce began singing in front of crowds at the age of five with his father’s band, the regionally popular BLUE MOUNTAIN CLASSICS. During the hours of practice and performances put in by the band, Bruce developed an ear for music and fell asleep many times behind the amplifiers during the long Tuesday night practice sessions. Bruce began playing guitar at the age of 14 and has since become proficient in many styles of playing including: finger-picking, rockabilly, bluegrass and southern rock.

Bruce’s songwriting could best be described as rural life set to music. Many of his original songs deal with small town and farm-related content and are derived from his own experience as a teacher, farmer and father.

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Ron Plain

Ron PlainDr. Ronald L. Plain is the D. Howard Doane Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Missouri-Columbia. As an Extension Economist, his primary responsibility is to provide educational programming to help farmers enhance their net income.

Ron received his B.S. and Masters degrees in Agricultural Education from the University of Missouri and his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Oklahoma State University. His areas of expertise include livestock marketing, farm business management and swine production.

Dr. Plain is a member of USDA’s Advisory Committee on Agricultural Statistics. He has served as President of the Extension Section of the American Agricultural Economics Association and has agricultural experience in 16 foreign countries. Since coming to the University of Missouri, Ron has made over 2,000 presentations to farm audiences, authored over 400 publications, and received 19 awards of excellence including being named Agricultural Leader of the Year and receiving the Governor's Award for Quality and Productivity.

Ron grew up on a diversified crop and livestock farm near El Dorado Springs, Missouri. He taught vocational agriculture for three years at Odessa, Missouri before returning to graduate school. Dr Plain has been a faculty member at the University of Missouri since 1981. He is married and has three children.

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Dale Nordquist

Dale NordquistDale Nordquist is an Extension Economist and Associate Director of the Center for Farm Financial Management in the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota. His focus includes farm business analysis, farm planning, and software development.

He has over 30 years of experience in teaching farm management and developing software tools for farm financial planning and analysis. He has been a major contributor to the design and development of the FINPACK farm financial planning and analysis software as well as many other software tools developed and distributed through the Center for Farm Financial Management.

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Dr. Patrick Westhoff

Patrick WesthoffDr. Westhoff is a co-director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri–Columbia. He coordinates FAPRI analysis of U.S. agricultural and biofuel markets and policies.

He is a native of Manchester, Iowa, and has a B.A. in political science from the University of Iowa, an M.A. in Latin American studies from the University of Texas, and a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Iowa State University.

Westhoff began to work with FAPRI at Iowa State University while he was working on his dissertation in the late 1980s. From 1992-1996, he served as an economist with the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition, and Forestry, working on budget bills, trade legislation, and the 1996 farm bill.

He joined FAPRI at the University of Missouri in 1996, and has worked on a range of projects in the United States, Europe, Africa, and Latin America. In addition to his responsibilities with FAPRI, he is a research associate professor in the department of agricultural economics at the University of Missouri, teaching classes in agricultural policy and markets.

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Lyle Stewart

Lyle StewartLyle Stewart has been a farm business consultant for the past 22 years. Stewart starting working for the Central Iowa Farm Business Association in Ankeny, in 1987, in 1993 moved to “AgMaster”, a farm recordkeeping service, at the Iowa Farm Bureau, in 1999 returned to the Murk-n-T, Inc. office of the Iowa Farm Business Association in Swisher, where he works today. Stewart has been working closely for many years with the same farm families, and has become a very important sounding board in their operations, from a management prospective as well as being a personal advisor.

Lyle has presented numerous seminars on topics such as: Avoiding Lender Problems; Cash Flow Budgeting; Farm Incorporation; Income Tax Strategies; Enterprise and Farm Business Analysis; Risk Management; Estate and Business Planning; Individual, Partnership, Estate and Corporate Income Taxes; Computerized Accounting; Marketing Strategies; Managing Social Security; IRS Audits/Collection Activities; Microsoft Word; Excel; PowerPoint; Land Use; Agro-Terrorism; and in 2008 presented, “The Basics of Accounting” to over 200 Iowa High School Agricultural Education Instructors at six district meetings across the state, for use in their classrooms with their students.

Prior to being a consultant, Stewart farmed at Earlham, taught high school agricultural education for nine years and computers for the College of Agriculture at Iowa State University for 3 years. Lyle and his wife, Cherylann, have three children and live on an acreage south of Marengo. Cherlyann is a professor, teaching Farm Business Management at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.

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Jim Vermazen, Gary Johnson & Carl Johnson

Jim VermazenJim Vermazen and Gary Johnson have been Iowa Farm Business Association consultants for eleven years. Gary has a degree in Farm Operations and Jim has a degree in Accounting. Both are Enrolled Agents. They serve 150 farms for the Northeast Iowa Farm Business Association. Additionally, their firm prepares 1700 returns for individuals and businesses. Two years ago they acquired Dunaway and Associates, a statewide farm succession planning service. Carl joined their operation last year after receiving a master's degree in English.

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David Oldfield

David OldfieldDavid A. Oldfield practices primarily in the areas of corporate law, tax planning, business planning, pension, municipal law, real estate, and driver's license appeals.

He was born December 9, 1952, in Vandalia, Illinois. He graduated from Vandalia Community High School in May, 1971, and received his undergraduate degree with highest distinction in finance in January, 1976, from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. He is a Phi Beta Kappa. While at Vanderbilt University School of Law, David was a member of the Legal Aid Society, Moot Court Board, and was awarded the American Jurisprudence Award in Estate Taxation and Planning. During the summer of 1978, Oldfield was an intern with Senator Charles Percy's legislative staff in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Oldfield received his Juris Doctorate degree in May, 1979, from Vanderbilt University School of Law. He worked as a law clerk for the firm during the summer of 1977 and joined the firm on a full time basis in September, 1979. David began his practice as an attorney upon his admittance to the Bar in November of 1979. Oldfield became a member of The Law Group in the spring of 1982.

Mr. Oldfield is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Fayette County Bar Association. In the American Bar Association, he is a member of the Sections on Corporation, Banking and Business Law. In the Illinois State Bar Association, David is a member of the Sections on Taxation and Corporations. Mr. Oldfield is a member of the Illinois Association of Hospital Attorneys and an associate member of the American Hospital Association. David is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court and several other federal courts of appeal.

Mr. Oldfield has lectured on Estate Planning and farm corporations at seminars held by Farm Business Farm Management and the Illinois Farm Bureau. Oldfield has also lectured on Estate Planning for the University of Illinois Extension Service and the Illinois State Retirement System. David has made presentations on religious corporations to the Rehoboth Baptist Association, and has co-authored an article on the penitent/clergy privilege. Mr. Oldfield is married to the former Dawn Turley of Greenville, Illinois, and they have three children. The Oldfields live in Vandalia.

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Dan Manternach

Dan ManternachDan has over 32 years of experience covering U.S. and global agriculture and giving ag marketing counsel. Now in his sixth year at Doane, he is former President of Professional Farmers of America and was a VP at Sparks Companies of Memphis (now Informa, Inc.).

He is a highly sought speaker on agricultural outlook and has presented at hundreds of seminars and conferences over his 32 years, and in 1997 was named Agricultural Communicator of the Year by the National Agricultural Marketers Association (NAMA). He's also spoken to agricultural groups in several foreign countries and was a paid consultant for the U.S. Grains Council on a trade mission to China in 1997.

He was a panelist on the Geraldo Rivera show in 1998 where he supported Texas cattle industry claims that untrue anti-beef remarks by Oprah Winfrey on one of her shows drove cattle futures sharply lower for several days. He was also an adjunct instructor in the use of futures and options for price risk management at the University of Northern Iowa.

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Ralph Duren

Ralph DurenEntertainer, humorist, wildlife impersonator, outdoorsman. two-time Grand National Wild Turkey Gobbling Champion and first World Quail Calling Champion, member of the Realtree Outdoors Pro staff, Ralph Duren is described as the "Rich Little" of the Animal Kingdom and The "Doctor Doolittle of the Outdoors", Ralph Duren performs over 100 wild animal sounds interwoven among humorous stories of growing up in the Ozarks of Missouri, hunting, fishing, trapping and traveling coast to coast performing his "Calls of the Wild" program.

He has appeared on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno, CBS "This Morning", CBS Tom Snyder’s "Late Night", “Swan's Place" and "Home Life" on Family Net, Michael Feldman's "Whad’Ya Know?" on National Public Radio, Agri Talk Radio, Steve & D.C. Morning Show and numerous outdoor television shows on The Outdoor Channel, Versus, ESPN2, the Sportsmen's Channel, and The Men's Outdoor Recreation channel. He has a weekly segment on Missouri Outdoors and Texas Outdoors television, and a monthly appearance on Pepper & Friends on KOMU-TV, Columbia, Missouri. Ralph is a regular guest on the "Eye on Outdoors" Radio Show on KFNS FANSPORTS, St. Louis with host Ray Eye.

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Roger McEowen

Roger McEowenRoger A. McEowen is the Leonard Dolezal Professor in Agricultural Law at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, where he is also the Director of the ISU Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation. Before joining Iowa State in 2004, he was an associate professor of agricultural law and extension specialist in agricultural law and policy at Kansas State. From 1991-1993, Professor McEowen was in the full-time practice of law with Kelley, Scritsmier and Byrne in North Platte, Nebraska.

Professor McEowen has also been a visiting professor of law at the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville, Arkansas, teaching in both the J.D. and L.L.M. programs. He has also taught at the Drake University School of Law Summer Institute in Agricultural Law.

At Iowa State, Professor McEowen develops and conducts an educational program in agricultural law and policy and is responsible for developing the curriculum and instructional program for the Iowa Farm Income Tax Schools.

Professor McEowen has published scholarly articles in the Journal of Agricultural Taxation and Law, Indiana Law Review, Drake Journal of Agricultural Law, North Dakota Law Review, Nebraska Law Review, the Monthly Digest of Tax Articles, Tax Notes, West’s Social Security Reporting System, Toledo Law Review, Washburn Law Review, Creighton Law Review, Agricultural Law Update, and the Agricultural Law Digest. He is also the lead author of a 1,300-page textbook/casebook on agricultural law that is updated twice annually, and a second 300-page book on agricultural law. He also authors the monthly publication, “Kansas Farm and Estate Law.” In addition, Professor McEowen is the co-author of Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) Tax Management Portfolios on the federal estate tax family-owned business deduction and the reporting of farm income, and is the lead author of a BNA portfolio concerning the income taxation of cooperatives.

Professor McEowen conducts approximately 80-100 seminars annually across the United States for farmers, agricultural business professionals, lawyers, and other tax professionals. He also conducts three radio programs (two airing monthly and the other bi-weekly) heard across the Midwest.

In 2003, Professor McEowen was named the recipient of the American Agricultural Law Association (AALA) Distinguished Service Award. He is also the recipient of the AALA’s award of excellence for professional scholarship. In 2006, Professor McEowen was named the President-Elect of the AALA.

Professor McEowen received a B.S. with distinction from Purdue University in Management in 1986, an M.S. in Agricultural Economics from Iowa State University in 1990, and a J.D. from the Drake University School of Law in 1991. He is a member of the Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska Bar Associations, and is a past as well as a current member of the AALA Board of Directors.

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Julie Maschhoff

Julie MaschhoffJulie Maschhoff, Vice President of Public Relations, grew up on a diversified grain, hog, and dairy farm near Okawville, Illinois. After receiving an Associates of Science degree from Kaskaskia College, she attended the University of Illinois, College of Agriculture, graduating with honors in 1985 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Agricultural Science.

She joined the Maschhoff family business in 1989 and has held a variety of posts as the company has grown.

She is a graduate of the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program and has been recognized as one of Ten Outstanding Young People in Illinois by the Illinois Jaycees in 1992. As an active member of the Illinois Pork Producers Association and National Pork Producers Council, she has served on numerous pork industry committees on the state and national level. Julie is co-chair of the Clinton County D.A.R.E. program and is also an active member of the Illinois Ag Leadership Foundation. She has traveled around the country as a speaker on agricultural issues including animal health and welfare, family business planning, environmental responsibility, and food safety.

As a co-owner of The Maschhoffs, she has contributed to the growth of the family business as it has become one the leading pork production companies in North America. Today, The Maschhoffs represents a unique business model, networking with more than 300 family farmers in the Midwest to produce more than 2.7 million pigs annually. Together with their network of Production Partners, The Maschhoffs generate more than $1.5 billion in rural communities across Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Additional information may be found on the company website, www.TheMaschhoffs.com

Julie and her husband Ken reside with their four children on the family farm near Carlyle, Illinois.

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Kevin L. Kliesen

Kevin L. Kliesen is an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, where he has been employed since October 1988. He came to the Bank after graduating from Colorado State University with an M.A. in Economics. As a business economist, the bulk of his duties comprise reporting on and analyzing current U.S. and international macroeconomic developments and trends. Previously, he was part of the Research Department’s Regional Economics group. In that capacity, he monitored developments in the automotive, agricultural, and natural resources sectors.

In his capacity as a business economist, he writes the Bank’s monthly Report on Economic Activity, an internal report on general economic conditions, which is prepared prior to each Board of Directors meeting. An important aspect of this position also involves speaking to the general public about the U.S. economy, monetary policy developments and the economic outlook. Besides writing for the Regional Economist, a quarterly publication written for a nontechnical audience, he also writes for the Review, which is the Bank’s peer-reviewed economic journal. He has also written for professional economics journals, and he has authored several book reviews.

In addition to his responsibilities at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, he currently teaches economics part-time at Washington University in St. Louis. Professionally, he is a member of the American Economic Association and the National Association for Business Economics (NABE). He was President of the St. Louis Gateway Chapter of NABE from 1999 to 2000. From 2002 to 2005, he served on the Board of the Directors of the national NABE organization. In addition to his interests in business economics and monetary policy, he is also interested in the long-term fiscal problems facing the United States.

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Nathan Fields

Nathan FieldsNathan has been with the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) since 2004 and currently leads the Biotechnology and Economic Analysis programs within the organization. NCGA’s Biotechnology programs focus on responsible stewardship of new and existing products in the corn industry. Economic efforts include broad analysis of current and future conditions and how they will affect growers, end use markets, and other aspects of the agricultural industry.

Prior to his employment with NCGA Nathan worked in the Bio-Pharmaceutical industry managing Research and Development , Production and Process Development of pharmaceuticals, pharmaceutical exipients, custom bulk molecule synthesis, protein/DNA extraction and purification. His post-undergraduate work included involvement with the private sector effort on sequencing the human genome.

Nathan graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in biology from the University of Illinois and completed his masters in business administration (MBA) from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville.

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Dr. Richard Joerger

Dick Joerger currently serves as the Director of the Minnesota Farm and Small Business Management Education Program for the Minnesota State College and Universities system. Joerger has been involved with FBM since 1975 as a secondary teacher, university researcher, conference presenter, and professional development trainer.

In addition to his Farm and Small Business Management assignments, he is currently providing system-wide efforts to design programs of study, technical skill assessments, and other strategies that assist students in transitioning from secondary to postsecondary agricultural, food, and natural resources programs. He also directs efforts to strengthen over 15 system-wide college and six university AFNR programs. Joerger continues to be involved in research projects, consultancies in education, and currently serves as the Research Committee Chair for the Association of Career and Technical Education.

Prior to his current position, Joerger was a teacher educator and researcher at the University of Minnesota, Utah State University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Paul Gorman

Paul GormanPaul is a Farm Business Management instructor at South Central College in North Mankato, Minnesota. Paul taught HS Vo-Ag at Central City, Iowa from 1968-1971 and Farm Operations at Northwest Iowa Technical College from 1971-1974. Paul came to South Central College in 1974. He taught post-secondary AgriBusiness until 1990 when he began his work as a Farm Business Management instructor.

Paul grew up on a grain and cow-calf farm neat Platte, SD. Paul received his bachelors degree from South Dakota State University in 1968, masters degree from Mankato State University in 1977, and doctors degree from the University of Minnesota in 1999.

Paul has been a member of NFRBMEA since 1990, currently serves as president of the organization, and is also completing 40 years in NAAE/MAAE. He has chaired or co-chaired many PAS state conferences and several MAAE conference planning committees during that time. Paul is a long-time Lions Club member.

Paul and his wife Janice have five children, Carma, Amy, Joseph, Cara, & Sara. Carma and Amy each have a two year old daughter.

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Kent Meister

Kent Meister Kent Meister has served cooperators in the Pioneer FBFM Association since he joined the association in 1983. He has taken on several support roles in the association to assist in the development of field staff and association management. Prior to working with Pioneer FBFM, Kent was a high school agriculture instructor at Normal Community High School, Normal, Illinois.

Kent earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Education in 1978 at the University of Illinois and a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Education in 1980, also from the University of Illinois. Kent and his wife, Karen, have two children. They reside in Bloomington, Illinois.

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Dr. Jon Hagler

Dr. Jon HaglerDr. Jon Hagler was appointed Director of Agriculture for the State of Missouri by Governor Jay Nixon on January 9, 2009 and confirmed by the State Senate on January 29, 2009.

Dr. Hagler, a lifelong horseman, continues to operate a small farm near St. James, where he trains and sells Missouri Fox Trotters, the Missouri state horse. Over the past three years, Dr. Hagler served as Gov. Nixon’s principal adviser and liaison on agriculture issues and was instrumental in drafting the governor’s agricultural and environmental policies.

Dr. Hagler, 41, was raised on a horse farm in Dent County and has maintained his own operation, Cheyenne Farms, since 1997. Since 2005, Dr. Hagler has met with farmers in every corner of the state on Gov. Nixon’s behalf to learn about their operations, assess their needs and develop the governor’s agriculture policy. Prior to becoming Gov. Nixon’s agricultural adviser on the campaign, Dr. Hagler served as the senior corporate development officer for the University of Missouri–Rolla (now, Missouri University of Science & Technology). In this capacity, Dr. Hagler served as the university’s point of contact with numerous major corporations including agricultural science and research corporations and developed a comprehensive corporate–partnership strategy.

From 2001 to 2003, Dr. Hagler was executive director of governmental and external affairs at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Calif. As a key adviser and member of the president’s senior executive management team, Dr. Hagler managed international outreach and partnership programs for the university and directed all international, federal, state and local government relations. He also served as the president’s staff representative and adviser on matters concerning the university’s internationally recognized W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center.

Dr. Hagler’s tenure at Cal Poly followed several years of service on the staff of the Missouri State House of Representatives. From 2000 to 2001, Dr. Hagler was chief of staff to the Speaker, overseeing a staff of more than 300 House employees and helping define and advance the Speaker’s legislative agenda. He served as chief of staff to the Speaker Pro Tem from 1996 to 2001, as a research analyst in the Missouri Senate and in a variety of other administrative roles.

A summa cum laude graduate of Truman State University (formerly Northeast Missouri State University) in Kirksville, Mo., Dr. Hagler holds a master’s degree in political science from the University of Missouri–Columbia and a doctorate in the same subject from Washington University in St. Louis.

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Mike Adams

Mike AdamsAgriTalk host Mike Adams was raised in a small farming community in central Illinois and grew up working on a grain and livestock farm. He served west-central Illinois on WLDS radio in Jacksonville, for 27 years. Adams served in several capacities as Disc Jockey, Sports Announcer and Farm Director. Mike has covered state and national agricultural events in 11 countries, met Pope John Paul II and five U.S. presidents.

Mike took over as host of the nationally syndicated talk show, AgriTalk, in July of 2001. He facilitates a discussion about issues and ideas important to rural America, traveling over 100 days a year for remote broadcasts across the country. As host of AgriTalk, Adams conducts a hometown tour promoting the rich history and attributes of communities in rural America. Adams is a voting member and past-president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB).

Adams has received numerous awards from agriculture and civic organizations including the Illinois Friend of 4-H award, the National FFA Honorary American Farmer Degree, the United Soybean Board's Communications award and the Illinois commodities groups Friend of Agriculture award. His peers have also honored him as a past recipient of the Prestigious Farm Broadcaster of the Year award. Most recently, Adams received the 2008 Illinois Farm Bureau Eagle award and the 2008 Outstanding Service to Agriculture award from the Missouri Farm Bureau.

Adams served 20 years as a certified lay speaker including 16 years as a lay pastor for a rural Illinois United Methodist church. Mike and his wife Patty have two grown children and currently reside in O' Fallon, Missouri.

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