Tour Speaker Bios

Keynote Speakers

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Steve Hershner

Steve Hershner has served with the City of Cedar Rapids for 25 years and as Utilities Director since March 2013. He has held positions as the Environmental Coordinator at Water Pollution Control, Environmental Manager for Water Pollution Control, Utilities Environmental Manager, and Interim Utilities Director from October 2012 to March 2013.
Hershner is responsible for all Utilities Department Divisions, which include Solid Waste & Recycling, Water, and Water Pollution Control. He also serves as a staff representative for the City on the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency, Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization – Transportation Technical Advisory Committee, and Cedar Lake Study Committee.
Hershner was selected in 2013 to provide his expertise at the Mississippi River Nutrients Dialogue Series organized by the U.S. Water Alliance based on his participation as a member of the point source core team in the development of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. This Mississippi River dialog group is focused on developing working relationships among selected leaders in water/wastewater industries and other key stakeholder communities in an effort to reduce nutrients throughout the Mississippi River Corridor. As a result of the relationships developed during the Nutrients Dialogues Series, Steve and other key Utilities staff worked with 16 different partners on the $4.3M Middle Cedar Partnership Project that was selected for funding through the U. S. Department of Agriculture, NRCS - Regional Conservation Partnership Program. Nutrient reduction is a key environmental issue facing our region.
Hershner is a longtime resident of Cedar Rapids and earned his undergraduate degree from Iowa State University. He has served as president of the Iowa Water Environment Association and is a member of the Linn County Trails Association.

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Erin Hodgson

Erin Hodgson started working in the Department of Entomology at Iowa State University in 2009. She is an Associate Professor with extension and research responsibilities in corn and soybean. She has a general background in integrated pest management for field crops. Erin’s current extension and research programs are focused on improving corn and soybean production by using IPM tactics to protect yield and increase overall farmer profits. Among other projects, she oversees insecticide efficacy evaluations for soybean aphid, Japanese beetle, and aphids in corn. Erin also helps manage emerging field crop pests and invasive species.

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Al Kluis

Al has been a commodity advisor and broker since 1976. An introducing broker with Wedbush Futures, writes a column, Your Profit, which appears in every issue of Successful Farming magazine. Al has published two books on commodities trading, and is commonly quoted in major publications including the Wall Street Journal, and is a featured speaker at commodity conferences nationwide. He is a frequent market analyst for the Linder Farm Radio News Network and WHO on "The Big Show". Al is a Minnesota farm-boy and was awarded his degree in Ag Economics from the University of Minnesota. He was the executive director of the Minnesota Soybean Association before entering the markets full-time. Al's family still farms in southwest Minnesota and Al enjoys helping with fieldwork when the markets allow.
Al Kluis will be speaking at all locations on the 2019 Farmer Research Tour.

Staff

Suzanne Fey
Data Analyst, Iowa Soybean Association

Suzanne Fey joined ISA in 2010 and became a foundational member of the Analytics team in 2013. She came to ISA after careers in the financial services industry as a management consultant for a Chicago-based firm and then an analyst for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Financial Services. She assists the ISA research team with data wrangling, analysis and visualization, along with data application design and development. Fey is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Coe College in Cedar Rapids.

Theo Gunther
Resource Management Specialist, Iowa Soybean Association

Theo Gunther provides technical and planning assistance for ISA in the development and application of resource and environmental management systems. He works with farmers to develop conservation and nutrient management plans and assists with collection, review and analysis of farm management data. Gunther also helps develop and implement field research projects to measure and improve conservation cropping systems. He earned a bachelor's degree in environmental science and agronomy and a master's degree in crop production and physiology from Iowa State University.

Chris Hay
Chris Hay, PhD Senior Environmental Scientist , Iowa Soybean Association

Chris Hay, Ph.D., is the senior environmental scientist at ISA. He provides technical assistance to field planning/experimental operations, leads research efforts and oversees the certified water quality lab. Hay has more than 20 years of experience in agricultural water management and water quality in academia, consulting, industry and government. He has partnered with agencies, commodity groups, industry, agricultural producers and other stakeholders on research and educational outreach programs. Prior to joining ISA, Hay was an associate professor at South Dakota State University, focusing his research on agricultural drainage practices. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln after receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Colorado State University in agricultural engineering.

Matt Hoffman
Regional Agronomist, Iowa Soybean Association

Matt Hoffman is a regional agronomist at ISA. He joined the On-Farm Network team in early 2017 after nine years with Dupont Pioneer. He earned his bachelor’s degree in horticulture and a master’s in professional agriculture from Iowa State University and is a Certified Crop Advisor. Hoffman provides technical and logistical support for all the Iowa-based agronomic programs. He is involved in data collection, organization and analysis of the replicated strip trials as well as assisting with the guided stalk sampling program. He is responsible for coordination and communication with growers and service providers.

Adam Kiel
Operations Manager, Iowa Soybean Association

Adam Kiel is the operations manager of water resources at ISA. Kiel provides leadership, operational support and staff management for diverse water resources, watershed planning and environmental projects including development of action plans and EPS program development. He manages EPS efforts in watershed planning, assessment and monitoring activities. Kiel works closely with farmer groups in Iowa watersheds to focus on improving resource conservation, environmental performance and profitability. Prior to joining ISA in 2013, Kiel worked for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in watershed improvement.

Peter Kyveryga, Ph. D.
Director of Analytics, Iowa Soybean Association

Peter Kyveryga, Ph.D., is director of Analytics at ISA. He leads collaborative projects focused on collecting and analyzing data from agronomic and environmental studies, predictive modeling and remote sensing. Kyveryga earned his Ph.D. in soil science and soil fertility from Iowa State University. He is a technical editor in precision agriculture for the Agronomy Journal, is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, and a collaborator assistant professor in the Department of Agronomy at ISU.

Anthony Martin
Regional Agronomist, Iowa Soybean Association

Anthony Martin is a regional agronomist at ISA. He provides technical and logistical support for the ISA agronomic programs. Martin is involved in data collection, organization and analysis of the replicated strip trials as well as assisting with the guided stalk sampling program. He is responsible for coordination and communication with growers and service providers. Martin joined the On-Farm Network team in 2012 after earning his bachelor’s degree in agricultural business from Iowa State University, and is working on his master’s in agronomy at ISU.

Brett McArtor
Regional Agronomist, Iowa Soybean Association

Brett McArtor is a regional agronomist at ISA, providing technical and logistical support for the ISA agronomic programs. He is involved in data collection, organization and analysis of the replicated strip trials as well as assisting with the guided stalk sampling program. He is responsible for coordination and communication with growers and service providers. He is a Certified Crop Advisor and was recently elected as a director on the state CCA board. McArtor joined the On-Farm Network team as a field research specialist in 2013. He earned his bachelor’s in ag systems technology from Iowa State University in 2012 and is currently working on a master’s in agronomy at ISU.

Sean McMahon
Executive Director, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance

Sean McMahon is executive director of the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA), a clean-water initiative supported by the Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association and Iowa Pork Producers Association. He works to help increase the pace and scale of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy by encouraging Iowa farmers to adopt voluntary conservation practices aimed at reducing nitrogen and phosphorus in waterways. Previously, McMahon was North America agriculture program director of The Nature Conservancy, which is focused on strategies to make agriculture more environmentally sustainable through effective advocacy, strategic partnerships and agricultural supply chain initiatives.

Scott Nelson
Director On-Farm Network, Iowa Soybean Association

Scott Nelson is director of the On-Farm Network at ISA. He joined ISA in 2016 and leads the association's efforts in production research planning and execution across Iowa. He also plays a major part in partner contract research efforts and manages team personnel. Nelson earned his bachelor’s degree in agronomy and plant genetics from the University of Arizona and his master’s in crop physiology and production from Iowa State University. Prior to joining ISA, Nelson worked at Beck’s Hybrids and DuPont Pioneer, where he was a research scientist for more than 20 years.

Tony Seeman
Environmental Research Coordinator, Iowa Soybean Association

Tony Seeman is an environmental research coordinator at ISA. Seeman implements and maintains water monitoring project work and helps manage the ISA water quality lab. His responsibilities include overseeing field work, coordination of personnel, site selection and operation of water quality lab and field equipment. Seeman also maintains the water quality and research database. Seeman earned a B.A. in Environmental Policy from Drake University, Des Moines. Prior to joining ISA, Seeman worked for the Polk County Conservation Board and in the turf grass industry.

Rich Stessman
Operations Manager, Iowa Soybean Association

Rich Stessman is the operations manager of agronomic research at ISA. He is responsible for implementing and coordinating On-Farm Network agronomic programs, including replicated strip trials and guided stalk nitrate testing. He is responsible for ISA collaboration with Iowa State University and the Iowa Soybean Research Center. Stessman joined the On-Farm Network team as a field research specialist in 2013 and was promoted in 2016 to his current position. Stessman holds a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Iowa State University and a master’s in management from Bellevue University in Nebraska. He brings more than 25 years of experience in crop breeding and seed production research to the job, having worked with Golden Harvest, Monsanto and BASF at locations across the western Corn Belt.

Brad Wirt
GIS Developer/Data Analyst, Iowa Soybean Association

Brad Wirt is a GIS developer and data analyst at ISA. Originally from the Midwest, but having spent most of his time in Texas, Wirt earned a bachelor of science degree in atmospheric science and meteorology, with a minor in mathematics, from Texas A&M University, and a graduate certificate in GIS from Penn State University. His previous work experience includes working for NASA and in the petroleum industry.