Expert Panel

We will have four rooms of expert panels discussing the different aspects of production agriculture in coming climate changes:


Plant Pathology

Debby Samac - USDA-ARS

Debby SamacDeborah Samac is a Research Plant Pathologist with USDA-ARS in St. Paul, Minnesota where she also serves as the Research Leader for the Plant Science Research Unit. She received a Ph.D. in plant pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison then conducted postdoctoral research with Monsanto before joining ARS in 1993.  Her areas of expertise include alfalfa pathology and biotechnology.  Current research in her laboratory includes identifying disease resistance genes in alfalfa, developing disease resistant germplasm, and using gene editing in alfalfa.



James Bradeen - UMN Twin Cities

James BradeenJim Bradeen is a Professor and Department Head of Plant Pathology at the University of Minnesota. He is also Co-Director of the Stakman-Borlaug Center for Sustainable Plant Health, an interdisciplinary center that solves complex plant health problems at home and around the world. Jim and his research group study how crop plants recognize and defend against pathogens. Jim is especially interested in the potential to use genes from wild plant species to develop disease- and environmental stress- resistant crop plants that need fewer chemical inputs. Jim’s research was featured in the University of Minnesota’s Driven to Discover campaign this past fall. Jim teaches or co-teaches several graduate courses in molecular plant pathology and scientific communication. An avid Twitter user, you can follow him @JimBradeen. Jim is also passionate about issues of diversity and inclusion in higher education and he has been an active advocate at the University of Minnesota and in his professional society.


Nutrient Management

Dan Kaiser - UMN Twin Cities

Dan KaiserDaniel Kaiser in an associate professor in the department of Soil, Water, and Climate is the current state extension specialist in soil and plant nutrient management at the University of Minnesota.  He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degree from Iowa State University.  His current research in Minnesota focuses on developing research and extension programming related to soil testing and fertilizer management for the development of fertilizer guidelines for major field crops in Minnesota.  Current research focuses on soil test correlation/calibration research for phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur, nutrient cycling in corn, soybean, and wheat cropping systems, starter fertilizer utilization and placement options for corn and soybean production, and utilization of remote sensing technology for detection of nutrient stress.


Fabian Fernandez - UMN Twin Cities

Fabian FernandezDr. Fabián G. Fernández is an Associate Professor in the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Fernández was born and raised in the Pampas region of Argentina. He earned his Ph.D. degree from Purdue University in 2006, and M.S. and B.S. degrees from Brigham Young University in 2002 and 2000, respectively. Before joining the University of Minnesota in 2013, he was an assistant professor at the University of Illinois since 2006. The research and extension education programs of Dr. Fernández are focused on soil nutrient management and plant mineral nutrition. His current work at the University of Minnesota concentrates primarily on environmental issues related to nutrient management for corn cropping systems. He seeks to identify and implement nitrogen management practices that are sustainable both in terms of minimizing environmental impacts, specifically water quality, and improving crop yields. Fernández graduated 6 graduate students and currently is advising 3 students. He is an associate editor for Soil Science Society of America Journal, has published more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles, co-authored 3 book chapters, over 30 proceedings papers, more than 60 abstracts for scientific conferences, over 120 extension publications and research reports, and hundreds of local, national and international presentations.


Weeds and Herbicides

Mark Jeschke - DuPont Pioneer

Mark JeschkeMark Jeschke currently serves as Agronomy Information Manager at DuPont Pioneer. Mark earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Ph.D. in Agronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Mark joined the Agronomy Science group at Pioneer in 2007. His primary role is development and delivery of useful and timely agronomy information based on DuPont Pioneer and university agronomy research. Mark authors and edits many of the agronomy resources available in the DuPont Pioneer agronomy library and through the Pioneer® GrowingPoint® agronomy app. Mark is originally from northern Illinois and is actively involved in the family corn and soybean farm near Rock City, Illinois.


Jared Goplen - UMN Morris

Jared Goplin

Jared Goplen is an Extension Educator in Crops with the University of Minnesota Extension based at the Morris Regional Extension Office. Goplen focuses primarily in the areas of forage and small grain production. He earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in Agronomy and Agroecology from the University of Minnesota, with a focus in weed science. He grew up and continues to be involved in his family’s crop and livestock farm in southwestern Minnesota. 





Precision Ag and other Ag Technologies.

Ian McRae - UMN Crookston

Ian McRaeDr. Ian MacRae is a Professor with the Dept. of Entomology at the University of Minnesota.  He has extensive experience in insect management of field and row crops, small grains, oil seed crops, sugarbeet, and tree fruits.  His primary research interests are related to the spatial and temporal distribution of insect pest species which include remote sensing.  Dr. MacRae’s lab has an active research program on remote sensing, utilizing small Unmanned Aerial Systems to detect insect damage and plant pathogens.





Eric Galdi - DuPont Pioneer

Eric GaldiEric Galdi is a native of Wisconsin and obtained his B.S. degree in Soils and Crop Science from University of Wisconsin – Platteville and is currently pursuing an M.S. degree in Agronomy from Iowa State University.  He provided nutrient/manure management and precision agriculture services to growers in Wisconsin before joining DuPont Pioneer in 2009.  His role at DuPont Pioneer started in agronomic testing of newer corn herbicide transgenic traits within the research department.  He then transferred to supporting the field staff during the launch and development of Encirca® Services Nitrogen, Fertility, Seeding, and Images offerings.  His current role is with the Agronomy Science department focused on supporting trials and data collected to characterize product performance across North America.  In addition, he aids in implementing projects utilizing newer precision agriculture technologies (UAVs, mobile apps, etc.) field staff use to provide growers information to make management decisions.