Speaker Bios

Iowa Farm Bureau's Economic Summit 2024 >> Economic Summit Speaker Bios
Iowa Farm Bureau's Economic Summit
President & CEO / Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Austan D. Goolsbee is president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. In this capacity, he serves on the Federal Open Market Committee—the Federal Reserve System’s monetary policymaking body—and leads the Chicago Fed, which conducts research and monitors local economic conditions in support of the formulation of monetary policy, supervises and regulates banking organizations, and provides financial services to banks and similar institutions, as well as to the U.S. government. Prior to becoming president of the Chicago Fed in January 2023, Goolsbee served as the Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business where he first joined the faculty in 1995. He is known for his empirical research on many different industries and on economic policy. He has been a Fulbright Scholar and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow. Goolsbee served as a member and then chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers from 2009 through 2011 and was a member of President Obama’s cabinet. He has also served on the Board of Education for the City of Chicago, the Economic Advisory Panel to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Panel of Economic Advisers to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. Census Advisory Committee, the Digital Economy Board of Advisors to the Commerce Department, and the External Advisory Group on Digital Technology for the International Monetary Fund. Goolsbee has a PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BA and MA in economics from Yale University. He is married and has three children.

Chairman & CEO / Friona Industries L.P.

Don Gales is a 40 year ag executive born and raised in White Lake, South Dakota. Gales spent the first 20 years of his career managing farmer owned Coops in the Midwest. His final position was CEO of South Dakota Wheat Growers Assn, now Agtegra based in Aberdeen, SD. He then became President of ADM Grain West Region based in Kansas City commercial and operational responsibility in 7 states.  After ADM, Gales spent time in the ethanol and grain processing industries.  Gales has been CEO of Friona Industries, L.P. for 7 years.  Friona has 8 feedyards in Kansas and Texas.  He is also CEO of Hereford Ethanol Partners that owns and operates a 120 MM gallon Ethanol plant and grain storage operations.    

Founder & Managing Partner / Fulcrum Macro

Frank Kelly is the Founder and Managing Partner of Fulcrum Macro Advisors LLC, a political risk advisory firm based in Washington, D.C. He has worked as a senior executive on Wall Street for close to 30 years and served in senior government roles, and he has extensive global experience and insight into the public policy decision making process and its impacts on global markets. While working as global coordinator for government and public policy at Deutsche Bank, he had direct oversight over the Americas government, regulatory, and public affairs, helping to build relations for the bank with governments and supranational organizations in the United States, Canada, and throughout Latin America. In this role, he advised leading Latin American pension funds and central banks and worked on numerous corporate finance deals in the region. He is a member of the board of directors of Barnwell Industries (NYSE: BRN), a diversified oil/gas drilling/land development company. Kelly is also a Senior Advisor to The Scowcroft Group, a global business advisory firm with an emphasis on emerging markets.  He is an adjunct professor at The Catholic University School of Business teaching coursework on Business Intelligence and Risk Assessment. He is also a Senior Associate with the Americas Program at the Center for International and Strategic Studies (CSIS) in Washington where he focuses on Latin American politics, economics, and trade.   Kelly resides outside Washington, D.C. in Great Falls, Virginia with his wife, Maura, on their working farm, Open Door Farm.

SVP Lending / Farm Credit Services of America

Jim Knuth has over 39 years of commercial and agricultural lending experience and leads the organization’s Iowa retail financial services division. The financial services division includes all agricultural lending activities.  Farm Credit Services of America serves over 20,000 Iowa producers.  Knuth grew up on a beef cattle ranch, is an Iowa State University graduate, is married and has four children and four grandchildren.

Vice President of Meat & Seafood / Hy-Vee Inc. 

Jason Pride joined Hy-Vee as a part-time courtesy clerk in 1988 at the Maryville, Missouri location. He moved into the meat department in 1991 and became a meat specialist in 1992. Jason’s next move was to Gladstone in 1993 and transferred to Lawrence #1 one year later. In 1996 he was selected as market manager at Lincoln #3. Pride served at Lawrence #1 and Kansas City #1 in the same capacity until he was selected to the executive staff in 2004 as a meat supervisor for the western district. In 2009 he moved back to Kansas City to supervise that district in the same capacity. In 2012 Pride was chosen for food service supervisor – west region, west-central district. In 2015 Pride was chosen for AVP – Meat and Seafood and has moved up to his current role of Vice President of Meat and Seafood. Pride graduated from Maryville High School and attended Northwest Missouri State University. Jason and his wife, Cheri, have three children – Mariah, Trent, and Tyler. In addition to spending time with his family, Pride enjoys attending sporting events and playing golf in his free time. 

Agricultural Counselor / Agriculture Office of the Embassy of Mexico in Washington D.C.

Luis Martinez Senties is a native of Mexico City. Since 2014 he is Counselor for Agricultural Affairs at the Embassy of Mexico in the USA where he advocates for Mexican agricultural interests, providing technical support on USMCA, maintaining outreach with members of the U.S. Congress and domestic and foreign farm trade stakeholders, as well as conducting cooperation activities in multilateral fora. Prior to his current position, in 2006 he was appointed Agricultural Attaché at the Mission of Mexico to the European Union in Brussels, promoting Mexico’s agricultural trade with EU Member countries, the Russian Federation, Israel and Turkey. Senties is an Agribusiness and Management alumna from Tarleton State University.

Head of Agricultural Economics / JBS 

In October 2015, Dr. Karl Skold was named Head of Agricultural Economics for JBS USA.  Most recently, he was named the global lead for livestock & poultry analysis as part of the newly formed Global Risk Management & Market Intelligence group.  Skold has an M.S. and Ph.D. from Iowa State University in Agricultural Economics.  He holds a B.S. degree from Colorado State University in Economics.  He resides in Fort Collins, CO with his wife, Molly.  

Realtor & Land Sales Broker / Peoples Company

Travis Smock is a land broker and shareholder of Peoples Company, an industry-leading, Iowa based firm that focuses on land brokerage & auctions, land & energy management, land investing and appraisals throughout the nation. Since joining the company in 2013, Smock has evolved into a versatile member of the team, contributing to diverse projects across the country. Additionally, Smock has helped expand the company’s footprint with the opening of a remote office in eastern Iowa. Smock is actively involved in the Iowa Chapter of the REALTORS® Land Institute where he is a past president. After graduating from the University of Northern Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in business management, Smock has continued his education by working towards obtaining the Accredited Land Consultant designation from the REALTORS® Land Institute as well as receiving Real Estate licenses in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota & Wisconsin.  As a top performing agent within the firm, Smock is well versed in all types of land transactions from tillable farmland to recreational properties and is focused on land brokerage, land auctions and land investing throughout the United States.

EVP Chief Credit Officer / Bank Midwest

Kent Stensland has dedicated his career to helping people find success in planning and achieving goals for themselves, their business and their community. Helping others succeed has been the focus of his 35 years in community banking. He currently leads Bank Midwest, headquartered in Spirit Lake, Iowa, as Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer responsible for credit portfolio management, customer development, and innovative project and program management. Stensland's commitment to helping others naturally led to his involvement in the Iowa communities that he’s called home. For 35 years, he’s been sharing expertise and leadership with several local and state foundations, boards, trusts and committees and currently serves the Okoboji Foundation Board as Director and Treasurer.  Originally from Radcliffe, Iowa, Stensland and his wife now live in Spirit Lake. He’s an avid sports fan and long-time season ticketholder for Iowa Hawks football.

Grain Marketing Economist & Author / Center for Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota 

Edward Usset serves as a Grain Marketing Economist for the Center for Farm Financial Management (CFFM) at the University of Minnesota, the developers of FINPACK software. Working with colleagues at CFFM and in extension, Usset developed several workshops including “Winning the Game” and “How to get $4 Corn.” He manages Commodity Challenge, an online marketing education game that uses real-time cash and futures data. Usset also teaches "Commodity Markets" and “Futures and Options Markets” at the University and is a regular contributor for Corn and Soybean Digest and Farm Futures. The 3rd Edition of his book, “Grain Marketing is Simple (it’s just not easy),” was released in October 2023. 

Agricultural Advisor / Agriculture Office of the Embassy of Mexico in Washington D.C.

Brenda Martinez Vergara has more than 15 years of experience working as part of the team of the Agricultural Office of the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, D.C., specializing in Mexico-U.S. agricultural trade policy, including market access, supply chain development, barriers to trade and food safety and security. She helps with coordination efforts and initiatives between Mexican and U.S. government agencies and serves as liaison with agricultural associations, members of the diplomatic community and private stakeholders. As the office’s Economist, Vergara conducts economic research and analysis and monitors and evaluates agricultural and food policy agendas of the North American region. A native of Mexico, Vergara earned a bachelor’s degree in International Economics and International Affairs and a Master’s degree in International Economic Policy from American University and received a Master of Science degree in Agriculture and Life Sciences from Virginia Tech.

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