2021 Speakers – Updating Continuously

Thorsten Arnold photo

Thorsten Arnold - Ecological Day

Thorsten holds degrees in environmental science, agricultural economics and watershed management.  He co-owns Persephone Market Garden in Grey County with his wife Kristine and their three children.  He works on a transition to a regenerative food system through writing, and teaching about an agriculture that feeds people and simultaneously promotes rural economies and a healthy biosphere.  He was in instigator and founding manager of Eat Local Grey Bruce online farmers market.  He now consults on the developing alternative food chains educates about the role of agriculture in biosphere regeneration.

Fred Baker - Sheep Day

Fred has 30 years of experience producing lamb and sheep in Ontario, 20 years experience on the (Ontario Sheep Federation) OSF Board of Directors, many of those as Chair.  He is a former Chair of the Canadian Sheep Federation (CSF), current member on the NFACC Board of Directors, and current member of the CSID advisory committee

Michael Barrett photo

Michael Barrett - Dairy Day

Bio coming soon

Andrew Barrie photo

Andrew Barrie - Crops Day

Andrew Barrie is an Environmental Specialist with Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) based in Walkerton.  Andrew maintains his CCA (Certified Crop Advisor) designation and is a Past Chair of the Provincial Soil Health Team.  He has worked with OMAFRA for 22 years in positions including Soil & Crop Advisory, Rural Water Quality Program Coordinator and Nutrient Management Specialist.  Andrew grew on up on a beef feedlot farm in Waterloo County and for 12 years operated a seasonal fruit & vegetable farm her Hanover (Grey County) with value added products sold across Ontario.  Andrew and his wife Jennifer reside in Kincardine where they are renovating an 1880 heritage home.

Cathy Bauman - Goat Day

Laurie Bishop photo

Laurie Bishop - Horse Day

Laurie Bishop has been Top Feed Advisor with Brooks' Performance Horse Feeds for over 15 years and in the horse industry for over 40.  Keeping on top of the current trends in equine performance and breeding nutrition is Laurie's passion.  Each year she evaluates the feeding requirements of 100's of horses, from basic companion to top performance athletes across multiple disciplines, including boodmares, stallions, and young horses.  Always actively expanding & sharing her knowledge in the field of equine nutrition, Laurie attends yearly conferences, with Kentucky Equine Research, and keeps up to date with the most current equine nutritional studies. In partnership with Brooks Feeds, she enthusiastically customizes feed programs for her clients.  Laurie's extensive experience from her years with Brooks as well as knowledge incorporated from her experience managing warmblood breeding, thoroughbred and standardbred farms have made Laurie a sought after equine nutritional advisor, trusted client partner, and well-respected veteran of Brooks Performance Horse Feeds.

Lee Breise photo

Lee Briese - Crops Day

Lee Briese (BREEZ) is an independent crop consultant from central North Dakota.  He provides agronomic advice to help farmers build customized systems to grow and manage crops profitably.  He specializes in helping farmers adopt practices to protect and improve their soil and local environment including reduced till, notill, cover crops, crop rotation and increased plant and economic diversity.  He is a Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) and the current chair of the international CCA Board.  Lee earned his Doctor of Plant Health from the University of Nebraska.

Travis photo

Travis Busman - Dairy Day

Bio coming soon

Deb Campbell - Crops Day

Deb is a Certified Crop Advisor with many years of experience in Agronomy and Precision Ag.  She holds multiple specialties and has worked across the Ontario Ag Industry helping producers achieve their agronomic and business goals.

Rob Campbell - Ecological Day (Moderator)

Rob spent most of his career as an actuary where he set actuarial reserves or priced just about every kind of property or casualty insurance you can think of. In 2011 he realized that economics is leading humanity to make decisions against our best interests and switched to farming to test his ideas of sustainability in the face of climate change and energy descent. Better Together Farms is a small diversified farm in Grey County producing beef, pork, and vegetables.

Cindy Cook photo

Cindy Cook - Horse Day (Moderator)

Cindy Cook has been working in the feed industry for 29 years. First in animal feed research, and since 1999, has worked in the Purina family.  She started her Purina career at the dealership level and then moved onto head office in southwestern Ontario as a technical support for the Maritime provinces.  Cindy was the first female dairy salesman hired by Purina and combined her sales and technical support to diary and horses.  Over the past 16 years, her focus has been on horses covering the southwest Ontario market, offering sales and nutritional support to her dealers, points of sales and direct customers.  Her horse customers range from racing, western, and English disciplines, as well as driving and hobby pleasure riders.

Cindy has her own cow/calf operation and farms with her husband.  The farm was also home to a race horse lay up business for many years as well as a home to her children's show horses.  As her children grew up and show season came to an end, they happily enjoy their pleasure riding horses.  Cindy has farmed her whole life and enjoys all aspects of agriculture.

Cindy is the Lead Facilitator of the Purina RETECH TEAM which supports the technical solutions behind the Purina Equine Portfolio on a national basis.  Cindy had enjoyed longevity in her market and is well connected to her territory customers, dealers and colleagues.  When work and farming is done for the day, she likes to hit the trails with her favourite horse or her favourite dirt bike, and in the winter months hits the ice for some pick up hockey.

Joan Craig photo

Joan Craig - Beef Day

Joan Craig is a beef farmer near Arthur in Wellington County, Ontario.  She and her husband Elgin, own and operate E & J Craig Farms.  They established their Red Maple Speckle Park cow/calf herd in 2015 following her career as an elementary teacher nd his career as a dairy farmer.  Along with farm team responsibilities Joan take s major role in direct marketing their farm-raised "Blue Sky Beef".  She specializes in marketing an providing successful customer experiences.  Her interests in people, food trends, social media and photography have been significant in developing the Craig Family Farm business.

Travis Cranmer photo

Travis Cranmer - Ecological Day

Travis grew up on a farm in Bright's Grove, Ontario propagating, growing and selling various vegetables.  In 2017 he joined the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.  He received his B.Sc. in Biology and M.Sc. in Plant Production Systems with an emphasis on plant pathology from the University of Guelph.  His graduate work focused on clubroot of Brassica crops.  After receiving his degree, Travis worked as a technician at Vineland Research in a plant pathology lab testing biopesticides and biostimulants on vegetable crops in hydroponics.  With OMAFRA, Travis provides assistance to growers, consultants, industry and researchers as a Vegetable Crops Specialist focusing on production and crop protection of vegetable crops including Alliums, Brassicas and leafy greens.  He is conducting surveys for leek moth, cultivar trials, testing biological controls as well as elevating the efficacy of a sterile fly release program for onion maggot management.

Dr. Rex Crawford photo

Dr Rex Crawford, DVM - Sheep Day

Bio Coming Soon

Greg Dimmers - Beef Day

Mike Dougherty - Beef Day

Jason Emke photo

Jason Emke - Sheep Day (Moderator)

Talia Fletcher photo

Dr. Talia Fletcher, DVM - Goat Day

Owen Goltz photo

Owen Goltz - Ecological Day

Owen's carrier spans over 35 years in the arboriculture industry as an arborist, mentor, innovator, teacher and consultant.  Recipient of the Maple Leaf Award in Agriculture for Leadership in Research, Education and the Theory and Practices of Arboriculture. in 2009 Owen left his private practice to pursue a childhood dream of becoming a farmer and currently lives and farms with nature on 60 acres in the center of Inglewood, developing an internal nutritional system for his farming needs called ZERO BUDGET NATURAL FARMING.

  • 10 years of custom online ordering for a 40-person membership
  • Farms 12, 40*300' strips, of a variety of vegetables, dry beans and grain crops
  • Orchard in Pears, and Sea Buckthorn
  • Maple Sugar Operation - Manitoba Maples
  • Developed on farm Static Composting and Soil Inoculation System
  • Active member of Soil Health Coalition of Erin Transition
Lindsay Grice photo

Lindsay Grice - Horse Day

"Is it me or my horse?" Horse show judge, certified riding coach, trainer and specialist in equine behaviour and learning.  Lindsay Grice loves to help riders solve their horse puzzles, prepare for competition and enjoy the process of riding, not just the result!  She shares keys from the fascinating science and research of how horses think & learn.  Lindsay holds judging certifications with AQHA, Equestrian Canada.  She's a provincial Hunter/Jumper and dressage judge & also judges multiple breeds & Extreme Trail/obstacle events.  She's taught classes and seminars for courses offered by the University of Guelph, equine associations and therapeutic riding facilities.  Lindsay loves to share her own insights and stories from 25 years as a competitor & horse trainer.  "Why do horses do what they do?"  Lindsay says, "in the horse world, our traditions & the evidence sometimes collide.  I love to communicate the WHY's behind the HOW's of riding "Equitation Science" - it makes live better for horses when we speak in a language they understand!"  www.lindsaygriceridingcoach.com

Mark Hamel - Dairy Day

Luke Hartung photo

Luke Hartung - Crops Day

Luke has worked as a Crop Specialist at NWC's Harriston Branch since 2011, and covers area of Grey, Bruce, Wellington, Huron and Perth Counties.  At home he cash crops with his parent and runs a market garden business with his wife

Amy Hellyer - Sheep Day

Allison Henkell photo

Allison Henkel - Dairy Day

Julie & Ethan Higgins photo

Julie & Ethan Higginson - Beef Day

Julie & Ethan are a young married team passionate about beef production.  They own and operate a 65-cow herd in Meaford, ON; with a strong focus on direct to consumer sales.  Their beef is marketed as grass fed and grain finished.  The farm slogan is “Know your famer, know your food” - It is important for them to educate our customers about daily farming adventures on social media via facebook and Instagram.  Cows calve on pasture starting early May.  They farm around 600 acres, all rented land, no owned properties.


Robert Hodgkins photo

Robert Hodgkins - Sheep Day

'Kaiapoi', Robert’s farm name, is Maori meaning 'food over water'. Rob and Jo Hodgkins have imported Romney Rams from New Zealand to create the ultimate outdoor lambing ewe for the UK climate. Rob and Jo set up Kaiapoi in 2013 with 200 ewes on 60 rented acres of grass. They have driven the business forward hard and now run 2250 ewes across 1000ac semi improved grassland and solar panels and farm 1600ac of arable crops around North Hertfordshire.

Dave Hooker - Crops Day

Becky Hunt - Daily Presentation on Mental Health

Becky's rural roots began on a family farm in Wellington County.   She currently resides with her husband and 2 young children on a small cash crop farm just outside Walkerton.  They are also part owners of a dairy equipment business that provides service to Grey, Bruce and neighbouring counties. Becky also works full time as a  Mental Health Counselor with CMHA Grey Bruce where she supports individuals with mental health concerns.  Her infectious smile and positive nature create a ripple effect of happiness for everyone that crosses her path.

Brett Israel - Ecological Day

Peter Johnson - Crops Day

Peter (@WheatPete) is the resident agronomist with Real Agriculture, where he posts a weekly podcast “Wheat Pete’s Word”. He is a regular on “Agronomy Monday” on Real Ag radio, Siruis Satellite Radio 147. Peter spent 30 years as the Ontario Cereal Specialist, and loves to talk anything agriculture, especially wheat! He leads Middlesex Soil and Crop Improvement Association research and directs the strip till project for Veritas. Peter operates a small farm near Lucan, Ontario, where he constantly tries out new production ideas. He is enthusiastic and passionate about agriculture, and loves to be challenged by growers.

Amy Kitchen - Ecological Day

Amy Kitchen co-owns Sideroad Farm with her husband Patrick Kitchen.  They grow certified organic vegetable, cut flowers and pasture raised poultry on their farm in Walter’s Falls.

Rob Lipsett - Beef Day

Rob lives in Annan, Ontario and runs a 150 head cow-calf operation and backgrounds all of his own calves.  He has recently expanded his land base with plans to increase the backgrounding division of his farm in the near future.  Rob studies Business at Georgian College and represents the Beef Farmers of Ontario as a Director for the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and the Beef Cattle Research Council.

Merrin MacRae - Crops Day

Jennifer MacTavish photo

Jennifer MacTavish - Sheep Day

While studying International Development at the University of Guelph, Jenn became enamored by agriculture and food. She completed her MSc in Animal Science in 2001 and now has over 17 years of experience working with producers, processors, and industry leaders.  Jenn has been with the Ontario Sheep Farmers (OSF) - formerly known as Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency (OSMA) as the General Manager of since 2013.  Prior to joining OSMA, she spent 9 years as the Executive Director for the Canadian Sheep Federation and for a two years.  During that time, she also worked as the Canadian National Goat Federation’s General Manager.  She is currently the Chair of the Canadian Animal Health Coalition, Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Livestock Research Innovation Corporation, and a volunteer mediator with Community Justice Initiatives in Kitchener.  Jenn is an avid knitter, reader, and traveler. She lives in Cambridge with her husband and son.

Janine McGowan photo

Janine McGowan - Ecological Day

Janine has over a decade of beekeeping and apiculture experience and knowledge.  She spends her personal time expanding on her knowledge of native /wild pollinators (bees, birds, butterflies, etc.) and focusing on regenerative agriculture and gardening.  Less grass more habitat please!

John Molenhuis photo

John Molenhuis - Beef Day

John has been with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) as the Business Analysis and Cost of Production Specialist for 20 years. He has led several benchmarking projects with Ontario dairy, beef and sheep producers as well as the lead for the OMAFRA cost of production budgeting information.

Megan Moran photo

Megan Moran - Crops Day

Meghan Moran is the Canola & Edible Bean Specialist with OMAFRA.  In this role she provides information on best management practices to Ontario's producers of dry edible beans, spring canola and winter canola.  Recent projects she has been involved with have focused on variable rate seeding of dry beans, surveying for beneficial insects that parasitize swede midge, and overwintering success of winter canola.

Christine OReilly photo

Christine O'Reilly - Horse Day

Christine O’Reilly is the Forage and Grazing Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs.   Her areas of focus include the benefits of forages and grazing within cropping systems, forage production and grazing systems for northern Ontario, and improving the productivity and profitability of forages.  Christine joined the Ministry in 2017 and is based out of the Lindsay office.  No, she hasn't drank too much coffee; she's actually that excited about grazing management.

Marlene Paibomesai picture

Marlene Paibomesai - Goat Day (Moderator)

Dr. Marlene Paibomesai is a dairy specialist at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculutre, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).  She works as a prodution specialist for the dairy cattle, dairy goat, and dairy sheep branch.  In this role she works with farmers, producer organizations and other stakeholders witha  focuon on breeding dairy cattle for disease resistance.  Prior to this she completed a Bachelor of Science at McMaster University, Markene is a member of Whitefish River First Nations of Birch Island, Ontario.  She grew up off reserve in Kemptville, Ontario and is currently living in Guelph, Ontario.

Wendy Pearson Photo

Wendy Pearson - Horse Day

Wendy is a life-long horse enthusiast. She has worked in the thoroughbred racing industry in Canada and New Zealand, and spent 5 years training with one of Canada’s top Olympic dressage riders and international FEI dressage judges. She also owned and operated Lindenfarne Horse Park in Campbellville Ontario, a boarding and equine research facility, for 12 years. Wendy completed an MSc (Nutritional Toxicology) and a PhD (Biomedical Toxicology) at the University of Guelph with specialization in medicinal herbs and nutraceutical supplements for horses.  Prior to her graduate work, she worked as a researcher at the Equine Research Centre (Guelph Ontario Canada) for 6 years, as well as at an international research and development consulting firm for 2 years. Her 20+-year career in equine science has focused on evaluation of nutritional interventions and supplements for optimizing equine health and performance.  She has delivered instructional seminars and research presentations on clinical equine nutrition and equine physiology in the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, China, Ireland, Australia, the Netherlands, Italy, Central Africa, USA and Canada. Since 2016 Wendy has been an Assistant Professor of Equine Physiology in the Department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph.

Ellen Polishuck photo

Ellen Polishuk - Ecological Day

Ellen is a full time farm consultant and workshop leader.  She leverages her 35 years of biological vegetable farming experience to help growers ar0ound the country to achieve more satisfaction and better profitability from their farm businesses.  Ellen was one of three owners of Potomac Vegetable Farms in Northern Virginia where she grew Ecoganic produce for 7 farmers markets, a 550 member CSA and two roadside stands.  Ellen is co-author of the book "Start your Farm" and writes the farmer-to-farmer profile column for Growing for Market magazine.  She lives in suburban Maryland with her husband, where she gardens like crazy.

Matthew Pot photo

Matthew Pot - Crops Day

Matt is an economic consultant and author of the "Grain Perspectives" commentary and analysis.  As a consultant his involvement in the industry ranges from one-on-one consulting helping producers manage price risk to international export market recommendations and analysis for government entities such as the United States Grains Council.. He completed his Master's Degree in economics from the University of Guelph in addition to multiple futures, options and technical analysis certificates from the Canadian Securities Institute.  His rural roots growing up on a mixed dairy, boiler and cash crop farm in the Niagara Region, coupled with his intuitive approach to markets, make this a presentation you won't want to miss.

Courtney Pranger - Goat Day

Born and raised on a dairy cow, hog (farrow to finish) & crop farm, Courtney is the youngest of two girls.  She is married to Josh and they have two amazing young boys, Spencer and Hayden.  Courtney has held the a few positions:  small animal Registered Veterinary Technician (5 years), on farm farrowing technician (2 years), milking goats (5 years), summer working with nurses in rural South Africa.  Her hobbies include drawing, painting (when she has free time) and reading about new animal related topics.

Jackie Ralph smiling photo

Jackie Ralph - Daily Presentation on Mental Health

Jackie has been with the CMHA staff for 14 years.  She does an average of 620 presentations/awareness training sessions a year to 7000 children, 7500 youth and 6000 adults.

Bailey Reiger photo

Bailey Regier - Daily presentation on Farm Safety

Bio coming soon

Romy Schill photo

Romy Schill - Sheep Day

Romy and Ryan Schill farm near Elmira.  We raise 900 commercial prolific ewes and pure dorset ewes.  Accelerated lambing schedule and TMR feed.  We sell meat lambs and breeding stock.  We grew the flock from 25 initial ewes and spent time on many projects and improvements around the farm to make life more efficient and productive.

Johanna Scott photo

Johanna Scott - Sheep Day

Kathleen Shore - Beef Day

Mary C Smith photo

Dr. Mary C. Smith - Goat Day

Dr. Mary C. Smith is currently a professor in the Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences at Cornell.  She has been a clinician in the Ambulatory and Production Medicine Clinic at Cornell since graduating from the New York Sate College of Veterinary Medicine in 1972 and takes veterinary students on farm calls.  Although all large animals are fascinating, her special interests include the 'miscellaneous species' (sheep and goats, camelids), gross pathology, and poisonous plants.  Dr. Smith has coauthored "Goat Medicine" (with David Sherman, third edition in preparation) and is moderator of the American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners listserv and editor of its newsletter.

Tatiana Stanton picture

tatiana Stanton - Goat Day

tatiana graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 1976 with a BS in Crop Science followed by a stint in the Peace Corps as a goat extensionist for the Jamaica 4-H.  While getting her MS in Dairy Science & Tropical Soils from Cal Poly, she was herdsperson for a large commercial goat dairy.  After graduation she worked as a goat/sheep specialist for Heifer Project International in the Caribbean and Central America training both new and experience farmers and was herdsperson for the International Dairy Goat Center at Prairie View, Texas.  In 1990, she obtained a PhD in Animal Breeding at Cornell University studying genotype x environmental interactions in dairy cattle  in Latin America and the US.  tatiana has been the Cornell small ruminant extension specialist since 2000 conducting applied research on low input lambing/kidding, small ruminant parasite management, etc. Although she has raised almost every breed of American dairy goat, she currently manages her own pasture based meat goat herd.

Mike Steele photo

Mike Steele - Dairy Day

Bio coming soon

Pal Stewart photo

Paul Stewart

Paul Stewart has worked in the Artificial Insemination (AI) industry for 31 years.  He began his career with Eastern Breeders Inc. based out of Kemptville, ON.  His roles with EBI included overseeing the corrective mating programs, directing young sire sampling programs, company and client genetic support and corporate communications.  EBI and the Guelph based Gencor amalgamated in 2011 to become EastGen.  Paul joined the new EastGen corporate team at that time and amongst other roles, Paul was tasked with directing every aspect of the expansion of the EastGen small ruminant program.  The program has completed four genetic line-up expansions and goat semen has been exported to over 10 countries since its inception.  Paul lives with his wife Darlene in Richmond Ontario.  The Stewarts have two boys, Blair and Quinn.  In his spare time, Paul manages his 177 year old stone house, volunteers for his local fair board and dedicates time as President and Coach of his local football association.

Mike Swidersky photo

Mike Swidersky - Sheep Day

Mike graduated with a Diploma in Agriculture from the University of Guelph in 1998.  He farms with his wife Amber and two teenage children in Melancthon Township in north Dufferin County.  Their farm business consists of a commercial flock of annual pasture lambing ewes, custom grazing groups of steers and heifers and a cut flower business which is operated by Amber.  100% of their farm is perennial pasture with no hay or crops grown.  His particular interest is with intensive grazing and extensive pasture management.  He has managed the local community pasture (Grey Dufferin Community Pasture) for the past 8 years.  In 2020 they grazed a total of 750 steers and heifers as well as 300 ewes and their lambs.

Jackie VandenBrink photo

Jackie VandenBrink - Horse Day

Jackie VandenBrink is a Nutrituionist based out of Niagara Peninsula.  She operates a growing feed business, and also works as a nutrition consultant.  She has well over 20 years experience in the feed business and has a M.Sc. in Horse Nutrition from the University of Guelph.  Her spare time is spent tending to her warmblook breeding operation.  She stands an Oldenburg stallion and produces 2 - 4 foals per year.

Megan Van Schaik photo

Megan Van Schaik - Beef Day (Moderator)

Courtney Vriens photo

Courtney Vriens - Sheep Day


Courtney is no stranger to agriculture.  She got her education at the University of Guelph and has worked in ruminant nutrition since graduating in 2015.  She now operates her own business, Vriens Nutrition Consulting where she works with both sheep and cattle.  Courtney resides on a dairy farm in Arthur with her husband Mike.  She is passionate about agriculture and highly values helping producers reach their goals.

Christoph Wand - Dairy Day (Moderator)

Christoph received his Bachelor of Science (Nutrition Sciences) and Master of Science (Animal Science - Ruminant Nutrition) from the University of Guelph.  He joined OMAFRA in 1998 as the Beef Cattle and Sheep Nutritionist.  His most recent work assignment began in August  2014 in the Elora OMAFRA office as Livestock Sustainability Specialist.  His previous technical work in nutrition focused on economic sustainability including labour reduction, feed and nutrient use efficiency, alternative forages, Green House Gas mitigation and most recently value chains.  Christoph has been on several national and industry-led committees. In 2014 he was appointed an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science recognizing his involvement at the Ontario Agriculutre College

Marcus Wand - Sheep Day

Anne Wasko photo

Anne Wasko - Beef Day

Anne Wasko has been a market Analyst for 25 years focusing on the Canadian cattle & beef industry.  She is currently the Market Analyst for Gateway Livestock Exchange based in Taber, Alberta.  Anne is also the president of Cattle Trends Inc., and consults for companies and individuals in the cattle business making numerous presentations to conferences across the country.  She is a regular contributor to RealAgriculture.com and RealAg Radio on SIRUS.  Prior to Gateway Livestock, Anne was the Senior Market Analyst with Canfax for 21 years.  Anne is the Chair of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef and sits on the Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund Advisory committee.  She keeps her feet on the ground by working along side her husband at their ranch in Eastern Saskatchewan.

Scott Weese photo

Dr. Scott Weese, DVM - Ecological Day

Dr. Weese is a veterinary internist and a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He is a Professor at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Director of the University of Guelph Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses, and Chief of Infection Control at the Ontario Veterinary College Teaching Hospital.

Alan Willits - Crops Day

Tom Wright photo

Tom Wright - Dairy Day

Bio coming soon