Sustainability & Tech
Afternoon Breakout Session
August 12, 2020
 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Ironically, the definition of "meat-and-potatoes" is becoming infinitely more complex.  With an increasing global population comes increased demand.  Challenged by finite natural resources and changing climate patterns, agribusiness is undergoing a change our grandchildren will find in their textbooks.  Sustainably grown food demand continues to reframe marketing and farming practices.  How do agribusiness and food processors use Ag Tech to rise to the challenge of doing more with less?  Come and see.

Panel Moderator:  Ben Wicker, Indiana Agriculture Nutrient Alliance

Ben Wicker is the executive director of the Indiana Agriculture Nutrient Alliance (IANA), a partnership of agriculture groups, government agencies, conservation organizations and academia working to improve soil health and nutrient management practices on Indiana farms. Before assuming this role, Wicker held positions as an independent crop consultant and agronomist, and spent time with Indiana Pork Producers as the director of producer outreach. Most recently, Wicker held the position of agribusiness specialist at The Nature Conservancy where he worked with agribusinesses to expand services that promote nutrient management and soil health.  Wicker holds a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and crop science from Purdue University and is an active member of his family’s diversified grain, forage and cattle operation in east central Indiana.   


 Panelist:  Andrew Utterback, Ingredion

Andrew is responsible for leading global sustainable sourcing activities for Ingredion.  This includes coordinating global sourcing targets, working with local procurement teams to meet expectations, coordinating field level projects with customers and raw material suppliers focused on commercial value creation, and growing sustainable sourcing as a point of differentiation for Ingredion.  Andrew is the Chair of the NGFA's Crop Protection Committee and serves as the subject matter expert in commercial interactions for non-GMO and organic sourcing as well as Ingredion's traceability and identity preservation systems.

 Panelist:  Chris Fennig, MyFarms


Chris' unusual background in farming, physics, and supply chain integration inform his no-nonsense approach to delivering sustainability solutions.  As the founder of MyFarms, a cloud-based software company, Chris is passionate about building market-leading strategies that combine field data owned by farmers with the IT infrastructure of global agribusinesses and consumer brands.  The MyFarms platform is used by thousands of farmers and dozens of enterprises across the US.  Chris studied physics and engineering at Taylor University and earned a master's of science in physics and entrepreneurship from Case Western Reserve University.

Panelist:  Mickie French

Mickie French is a Global Marketing & Sustainability Communications Vice President with more than 18 years' experience driving growth while shifting brands to purpose-driven positioning throughout the food chain including the CPG, ingredient and agriculture sectors.  As a strategic innovation partner to the C-Suite, she leads business transformations, drives cost agendas, and builds new markets.  Her career has spanned B2C, B2B, digital, advertising and PR agency roles.  Most recently Mickie served in the Innovation and Commercial Development Division of global food ingredient company, Tate & Lyle.  She positioned the brand as an industry leader through driving marketing across four regions and creating first sustainable agriculture program with Land O'Lakes Sustain.

Mickie holds an MBA in international business from Thunderbird School of Global Management and a BA from University of Nebraska.  Multilingual in Spanish and French with a working knowledge of German, Hungarian, Mandarin, Russian, Mickie currently lives Stateside in the Chicagoland Area where she can be found year-round on the shores of Lake Michigan.

 This breakout session is sponsored by: