David Beckmann

President, Bread for the World

David Beckmann will be giving the opening keynote address for the Global Agricultural Summit, focusing on the Biblical call to flourishing for all. World Food Prize laureate David Beckmann is one of the foremost U.S. advocates for hungry and poor people. He has been president of Bread for the World since 1991, leading large-scale and successful campaigns to strengthen U.S. political commitment to overcome hunger and poverty in the country and around the world. Beckmann is also president of Bread for the World Institute, which provides policy analysis on hunger and strategies to end it. He founded and serves as president of the Alliance to End Hunger, which engages diverse U.S. institutions—corporations, unions, religious institutions and universities—in building the political will to end hunger.

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Haron Wachira

Owner, Akili Holdings Ltd. and Ashoka Fellow

Haron Wachira will be sharing his experience in understanding the challenges and then taking action to transform agriculture for the small-scale dairy and crop farmers of Kenya. Wachira is an experienced business process/software developer who launched the first computer assembly plant in Kenya.  He has served as technical services and associate consultant in PricewaterhouseCoopers and chair of the Tana Water Service, where he worked closely with rural communities in Kenya. This led to the pursuit of innovative approaches to empower small-scale farmers.  As an Ashoka Fellow and a social entrepreneur, Haron has started several system changing initiatives in education and business. His current company, Akili Holdings Ltd. invests in value-adding entities and systems that facilitate access to market for small scale agriculture producers, some of them funded through carbon-offset funded partnerships.

Mary Vermeer Andringa

Chair of the Board, Vermeer Corporation

Mary Vermeer Andringa will be giving a keynote address on Thursday evening of the Global Agriculture Summit, focusing on the role of innovation and faith in the development of Vermeer Corporation, a global industrial and agricultural equipment company. Come to be inspired by the company’s work and investment in flourishing people and economies, locally and globally.Mary Vermeer Andringa now serves as Chair of the Board at Vermeer Corporation, a global industrial and agricultural equipment company headquartered in Pella, Iowa. From humble beginnings, Vermeer Corporation has grown to become a global organization with more than 3,000 team members at Vermeer and affiliated organizations. Today, Vermeer facilities are found in Latin America, Asia Pacific, China, Europe and the U.S.

Fred Kirschenmann

Leopold Center at Iowa State University

Fred Kirschenmann will share his own experience and insights as a farmer and philosopher on the role we all have as stewards of Creation. A longtime national and international leader in sustainable agriculture, he shares an appointment as Distinguished Fellow for the Leopold Center and President of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York. He also continues to manage his family’s 1,800-acre certified organic farm in North Dakota. He is a professor in the ISU Department of Religion and Philosophy and holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Chicago. In April 2010, the University Press of Kentucky published a book of Kirschenmann’s essays, Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays from a Farmer Philosopher, that trace the evolution of his ecological and farming philosophy over the past 30 years. In 2014 he received the One World Award for Lifetime Achievement. He also was one of the first 10 recipients of the James F. Beard Foundation Leadership awards in 2011 and received the 2012 Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award from Practical Farmers of Iowa.

Cheryl Broetje

Broetje Orchards

Cheryl Broetje is a keynote speaker at the Global Agricultural Summit on Friday. She will share her story of how her family built a flourishing orchard and immigrantcommunity in Washington that now touches lives around the globe. Cheryl will also share her passion for the power of servant leadership to lift and empower even the most vulnerable, as a servant leader and advocate on immigration. Cheryl and her husband Ralph founded, own and operate Broetje Orchards. Their label states: “First Fruits of Washington…a quality fruit company bearing fruit, fruit that will last.” In 1986 Cheryl founded a faith-based, non-profit organization, The Center for Sharing, with a focus on personal and corporate leadership development in order to assist both individuals and organizations in pursuing greater meaning and purpose by serving the common good. Ralph and Cheryl believe that their apple farm is a calling, a business/ministry that God has raised up and wants to work through in order to serve the common good, providing jobs at home while generating profits to invest in place-based, community development both locally and internationally.

Debi Durham

Director of Iowa Economic Development

Debi Durham will give an opening speech Thursday evening that focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship in the agriculture sector in Iowa. She will also highlight the emerging bio-tech industry in Northwest Iowa. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Marketing and Management degree from Missouri Southern State University and was appointed Director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development in January 2011.  As one of her first orders of business, Durham worked with the Governor and legislators to restructure the department to create a public-private partnership. That led to the creation of the Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress – the umbrella organization for the new structure.  Prior to leading Iowa’s economic development initiatives, she served as President of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce, President of The Siouxland Initiative (TSI), the economic development corporation serving the tri-state metropolitan area, and the Siouxland Chamber Foundation.  

Kevin Murphy

Owner, Food-Chain Communications

Kevin Murphy will be speaking Friday morning of the Global Agricultural Summit. urphy will focus on his vast experience in food-chain marketing and communications and the importance of our role as Christians in this communication. Since launching Food-Chain Communications in 2007, Murphy has introduced a stream of successful products:

 Truth in Food – a web site with 5,600 self subscribers shining the light of truth on farming and food related issues (

Truth in Food College Initiative – an educational effort designed to reach a future generation of food system leaders

Farmer Goes to Market – an email newsletter delivered in conjunction with state grocer associations reconnecting farmers & grocers

Ethics of Food Animal Production Roundtable – this first ever, one-of-a-kind event brought various stakeholders together to discuss what would comprise an ethical food animal operation

Murphy was recently awarded First Place for Best Essay in a Scholarly Journal for his work, Christians & the New Food Movement. Kevin and his wife Linda live in Lee’s Summit, Missouri with their five children.


This list is not complete, however will give you a idea of the great lineup of workshops at this event!

A Biblical Call to Agriculture and Flourishing for All

A Biblical Vision for Agriculture (Dr. Wayne Kobes, Dordt College)

Feeding 9.7 Billion, is it Possible? (Dr. Ronald Vos, Dordt College)

Are We Being Good Stewards? (Phil Grabowski, Michigan State University)

The Church and Agriculture Development (Rev. Thomas Lubari, Life Gospel Ministries of Uganda)

Engaging the Church to Celebrate Agriculture as a Calling to do God’s Work (Greg Elzinga, Partners Worldwide )

I was Hungry (Brian Oldreive, Foundations for Farming)

Producer and Agribusiness Innovations

New Crops for the Midwest: Pennycress and Hazelnuts (Dr. Don Wyse, University of Minnesota)

High Road to High Yields (Gary De Vries, Dordt College)

Sustainability in the 21st. Century & Large-Scale Crop Production (Matt Schuiteman, AJS Farms, MNM Shorthorns, and Diamond M Swine)

Perennial Grain Crop for Sustainable Production (Dr. Robert De Haan, Dordt College)

Global Climate Change (John Short, College of the Redwoods)

Best Practices in Global Conservation Agriculture (Panel)

Growing Haitian Agriculture (Brad Kinsinger, Hawkeye Community College)

Glyphosate Resistant Weeds – A Sustainable Response (Dr. Peter Sikkema, University of Guelph)

Soil Care and Management, (Lee Burras and Joel De Jong, Iowa State University)

Global Agriculture Trends for 2016 and Beyond, (Brad Kooima, Sioux Center, IA)

Strategies for Navigating and Managing the Farm During Times of Thin Margins, (Tom Thaden, Iowa Farm Business Association)

Equipping and Training in Agriculture

Taking the Risk: Encouraging Innovation (Lynda Dykstra, World Renew)

Dialogue on Agriculture Development Best Practices (Panel)

Idolizing Technology in Agriculture (Dr. Nick Breems, Dordt College)

Global Food Security and Community Development

State of Food Insecurity (Patrick Plonski, Books for Africa)

Balancing Accountability and Flexibility in Agriculture Development (Bev Abma, Consultant, Overseas Development Monitoring and Evaluation, retired from Food Resource Bank)

Community-based Agriculture and Food Security-Northern Uganda (Kilaga Atifu, Partners Worldwide)

An Assessment of Amaranth Development in East Africa (Tom Post, World Renew)

Lessons Learned in Northern Honduras Helping Churches Help Others: 1992 to 2015 (Dave Seehusen, Retired COO of Land O Lakes/Winfield Seed)

Village Savings and Lending (Angela Boss, World Renew)

Cooperatives in the Midwest and in Africa:  Benefits, Limitations and Opportunities (Greg De Haan, Geneva Lake Farm)

Growing Food in Unsuspecting Places (Rev. Craig Broek, Christ Community Church)

Agriculture as Economic Development

Agriculture as Economic Development: Partnering in Africa, Asia, Latin America-Caribbean, and North America (Partners Worldwide global staff)

Impact of Fairtrade Certification on Smallholder Coffee Farmers (Angela Magnusson, Fairtrade America)

Creating a Field of Hope (Brandy Young, John Deere)

Value-chain Development for Micro-producers (Haron Wachira, Akili Holdings)

Appropriate Technology for Developing Nations (Dr. Justin Vander Werff, Dr. Joel Sikkema, Dr. Nolan Van Galen, Dordt College)

Empowering India: Hydroponics and Micro-dairy (Dr. Sanjeev Sable, Agri Seva India, and Nikhil Ratnam, Quidditas Farms Pvt. Ltd.)

Innovative Products for Global Flourishing (Lou Haveman, Business Connect)

The Economics that Matter (Jeffrey Bloem, Michigan State University)

Global Investing: Challenges and Opportunities (Scott Oakes, Real Estate Development Company)

Access to Capital and Partnerships for Impact (Doug Seebeck, Partners Worldwide)

Agriculture and Advocacy

Consuming as Christians: Considerations, Preferences and Implications (Panel)

Christian Perspectives on Immigration in the Agriculture Sector (Panel)

Promoting Living Wages (Wilbert Flinterman, Fairtrade International)

Food-chain Communications: Realities, Cautions and Opportunities (Kevin Murphy)