General Session Speakers

January 14, 2019

Keynote Address

Shannon Ferrell, Oklahoma State University

Big Data, Blockchain, and the IoT: Technology Challenges and Opportunities in Risk Management Education

Shannon Ferrell holds the rank of Professor in the Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Economics, where he specializes in Agricultural Law.  He grew up on a cattle and wheat operation in Western Oklahoma, and obtained his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Agricultural Economics from OSU before obtaining his Juris Doctorate from the Oklahoma City University School of Law with endorsements in Estate Planning and Business and Financial Services Law.  Shannon has been an attorney for 16 years, spending a number of years in full-time private practice before joining OSU in the summer of 2007.

Since joining Oklahoma State University, he has provided over 400 extension seminars and workshops throughout North America with a cumulative audience in excess of over 27,000 while authoring over fifty publications, including ten books, articles in the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law and the Journal of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, and serving as coauthor for the handbook Managing Farm Risk Using Big Data.  Shannon’s work on Big Data applications testimony before both the House Committee on Agriculture and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, as well as numerous Congressional staff briefings regarding data use in agricultural production, farm data ownership, and privacy issues.

Luncheon Address

Jennifer van de Ligt, Food Protection and Defense Institute

Protecting Your Lunch: Intentional Adulteration Hazard and Risk in a Complex Global Food System

Dr. Jennifer van de Ligt serves as the Director of the Food Protection and Defense Institute and as Associate Professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota where she focuses on building collaborations to advance food and feed security, safety, defense, and supply-chain resilience.

Dr. van de Ligt also serves as Director of the Integrated Food Systems Leadership program, an online learning program dedicated to improving the leadership and systems thinking capabilities of early to mid-career professionals affiliated with any aspect of the food system. She has an extensive background in animal feed and human food production, nutrition, modeling, and regulations, with academic, industry, and global perspectives.

Prior to joining the University of Minnesota, Dr. van de Ligt held numerous leadership positions at a global food company operating in 70 countries and provided nutrition and regulatory expertise for a variety of food and feed novel ingredient and claims innovations. Dr. van de Ligt has more than 130 global patents and patent applications covering specialty ingredients, processing technology, packaging innovations, and biology-based dynamic modeling formulation systems. Dr. van de Ligt completed her Ph.D. in Nutrition at the University of Kentucky.

Capstone Address

Patrick Westhoff, Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, University of Missouri

Agricultural Trade Issues and Uncertainties

Patrick Westhoff is the director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) and the Howard Cowden professor of agricultural and applied economics at the University of Missouri. He grew up on an Iowa farm, has degrees from the University of Iowa and the University of Texas, and obtained his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Iowa State University. He served in the Peace Corps in Guatemala, and was an economist with the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry before joining MU in 1996.