Kim McConnell is a founder and former CEO of AdFarm, one of North America’s largest agricultural marketing communications firms.
Over the years, McConnell has led national and international brand and marketing assignments for many respected national and international agriculture and food companies, and has been the catalyst behind many major industry ventures, including an initiative to build greater public trust in food and farming.
McConnell is the recipient of many national business awards, including Agri-Marketer of the Year and the Canadian Youth Business Foundation Mentor of the Year. In 2012, he was inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame; in 2017, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian award.
McConnell remains a director on a number of corporate, industry, and volunteer boards, and is a mentor to emerging executives and fast-growth companies. McConnell and his family live on an acreage on the edge of Calgary. He is passionate about agriculture, food, youth, and the entrepreneurial spirit.
Juan M. Piñeiro obtained his DVM degree in 2012 from the University of La Plata, Argentina, worked in dairy farms in Texas and Colorado for a year in 2013, and obtained his MS and PhD degrees at The Ohio State University in 2016 and 2018, respectively. Piñeiro is currently an assistant professor and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service dairy specialist in the Animal Science Department of Texas A&M University.
During his professional career, his research efforts focused on the impact, prevention, and treatment of transition period diseases of dairy cows. More recently, he has been involved in research to increase fiber and starch digestibility of forage sorghum hybrids.
He has taught as a guest lecturer for five animal science and veterinary medicine courses at three universities, is a faculty member for the US Dairy and Education Training Consortium, and has vast expertise in training dairy farm personnel. As the co-chair of the High Plains Dairy Conference and Southwest Dairy Day and a committee member of five associations, he is involved in organizing several conferences and field days for dairy farmers, allied industry members, academia, and local communities. Piñeiro participated in grants, contributions, and extension programs that received more than $2.6 million, of which $400,000 was credited to his program. He published 15 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 51 abstracts and proceedings, 1 book chapter, 41 extension articles, and has been involved in more than 50 extension and educational activities.
Bradford completed dual bachelor’s degrees at Iowa State University and a doctorate in animal nutrition at Michigan State University. He served on the faculty at Kansas State University from 2006 to 2019, and in 2020, he returned to Michigan State as the Clinton E. Meadows Chair in Dairy Management and Nutrition.
Bradford’s research focuses on dairy cattle nutrition and metabolism, including dietary utilization of byproducts in lactation diets, the physiological impacts of inflammation after calving, and the roles of nutrients as signals. In his current role, Bradford carries out research and works directly with dairy producers to find solutions to dairy management challenges.
Twig Marston is a field beef nutritionist for Hubbard Feeds, providing technical support to cattle operation and feed dealers in six Central Plains states. He received a BS in animal science and an MS in animal breeding and genetics from Kansas State University, followed by a PhD in animal nutrition from Oklahoma State University. He has held active roles in teaching, extension, research, and leadership at two land-grant universities and has served on national and state cattle organization boards of directors.
Marston operates Trademark Ranch and is active in nutritional consulting and beef cattle management. He has served as the executive director of the Beef Improvement Federation. Working closely with cattle operations, associations, and federations across the United States, he has contributed to increased beef production efficiency by integrating nutrition, genetics, and management. Through his past and current positions, he has championed advocacy and public value for the beef industry.
Anne Laarman completed his BS and MS at the University of Alberta and his PhD at the University of Guelph. From 2015 to 2019, Laarman was a faculty member of the University of Idaho in Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism. Since 2019, he has been an assistant professor of ruminant nutrition and physiology at the University of Alberta, where he also holds an Industrial Research Chair in Dairy Nutrition.
Laarman’s research program focuses on gut development, function, and health in cattle, with the goal of improving gut health and feed utilization. Currently, the research has three major themes: (1) the physiology of antibody absorption in newborn calves, (2) improving rumen development and lowering stress during calves’ early lives, and (3) gut adaptations in ruminants transitioning to highly fermentable diets. By developing new management, dietary, and supplementation (prebiotic and probiotic) strategies, Laarman’s research program aims to identify critical control points in nutrient absorption and gut adaptation that can be targeted by effective management and therapeutic solutions.
Since starting on the faculty in 2015, Laarman obtained more than $3 million in funding from government, industry, and nonprofit organizations in the US and Canada. Ultimately, his research aims to improve gut development, function, and health, thereby advancing our ability to raise healthy and productive cattle.
Duarte E. Díaz holds an MS and a PhD in nutrition and toxicology from North Carolina State University, where he studied under the supervision of Lon Whitlow, PhD. His research for the past 15 years has focused on the effects of mycotoxins on agriculture.
Díaz has given more than 40 invited presentations around the world and has published more than 70 articles in scientific journals, proceedings, and popular press magazines. In 2005, he served as the editor of The Mycotoxin Blue Book (Nottingham University Press), which focused on the applied impact of mycotoxins on agriculture. The book sold more than 5,000 copies and is widely considered an important reference on the subject.
Díaz has worked in academia at several institutions, including Utah State University and the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Italy. After several years of working in the private sector, he joined the faculty at the University of Arizona as an associate professor and dairy extension specialist.
Jennifer M. Duringer holds the positions of assistant professor (senior research) and director of the endophyte service laboratory at Oregon State University in the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, College of Agricultural Sciences. She earned a BS in zoology and a BA in international studies in 1998 before joining Oregon State University as a faculty researcher. She received her PhD in toxicology from Oregon State University in 2003.
Her research program focuses on food safety and examines the biochemical effects, mechanisms of toxicity, and ultimate biotransformation of plant and fungal compounds in humans and animals; investigates the potential of naturally produced fungal contaminants in plant hosts to act as pest deterrents; and delineates the molecular and chemical characterization of ecotypes of pathogenic fungi for improving disease management and safety in crops. Duringer also leads the testing program of the Endophyte Service Laboratory for endophyte mycotoxins in forages grown in the Pacific Northwestern United States destined for global distribution. She is a member of the Cannabis Lab Standards and Certification consortium of the Global Hemp Innovation Center for testing cannabinoids and other natural compounds of interest in industrial hemp.
Duringer has authored more than 30 peer-reviewed publications, mentors undergraduate and graduate students in research, and delivers lectures on toxicology, mycotoxins, and cannabis. She performs outreach for science, engineering, technology, and math education, attends career days, and participates as an active member of the Society of Toxicology, having held the positions of councilor and four years in the presidential chain for the Comparative and Veterinary Specialty Section.
Limin Kung, Jr., is a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, where he obtained his BS and MS degrees in animal science. He completed his PhD in dairy science at Michigan State University. Kung recently retired from the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at the University of Delaware.
His research centered on ways to improve the productive efficiency of lactating dairy cows through a better understanding of the fermentation processes that occur in silage and in the rumen of cows. His silage program is recognized nationally and internationally, and he is a sought-after speaker for dairy producer meetings worldwide.
Hugh Aljoe serves as the director of ranches, outreach, and partnerships for Noble Research Institute. In this role, he oversees the 13,500 acres of Noble ranches as well as outreach and partnership efforts with allied industries and organizations. He also serves as a subject matter expert in pasture and range stewardship and adaptive grazing management. Aljoe joined Noble Research Institute in 1995.
He has spoken on topics related to the intentional management of ranches, proper land stewardship, soil health of grazing lands, ranch sustainability, and regenerative ranching at national, regional, and state conferences, including Cattlemen’s College at the Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Trade Show. Aljoe currently serves on the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Environmental Stewardship Award Program selection committee, the US Roundtable for Sustainable Beef board of directors, the goal- and target-tracking working group and outreach working group, and the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research International Consortium for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Agriculture executive committee.
Before coming to Noble Research Institute, Aljoe was the ranch manager for Belvedere Land & Cattle Corp., a 3,900-acre, 1,500-head purebred and commercial cow-calf operation in East Texas that utilized adaptive multi-paddock grazing.
Aljoe attended Texas A&M University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in animal science and master’s degree in range science with a focus on grazing management.
Paul J. Kononoff is a native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. He holds a BSA and an MSc in animal science from the University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, SK) and a PhD in dairy and animal science from The Pennsylvania State University (University Park, PA).
Since 2005, Kononoff has been employed at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with a research, extension, and service appointment. Kononoff’s research program primarily focuses on solving problems related to feeding the lactating dairy cow. He has several major areas of dairy nutrition research, including (1) forage particle size and effective fiber, (2) feed characterization, (3) byproducts, and (4) energy metabolism. He is a co-inventor of the Penn State Particle Separator. He has built a program and research capabilities that use indirect calorimetry to explore the effects of diet on methane production and whole-animal energy utilization.
Kononoff serves the State of Nebraska as a board member of the Nebraska State Dairy Association and the Dairy Council of Nebraska, and is on the Western Dairy Management Conference Planning Committee. Kononoff is currently the editor in chief of the Journal of Dairy Science and served on the National Research Council committee to revise Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle (eighth revised edition).
Courtney Halbach is the outreach specialist for The Dairyland Initiative, an outreach program with the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine dedicated to providing dairy industry professionals with welfare-friendly housing recommendations and lameness-prevention tools through a web-based platform and workshops. She works with farmers and industry consultants around the world on calf and adult cow barn design, positive pressure tube ventilation systems, and automatic milking facility design.
Joseph W. McFadden is an associate professor of dairy cattle biology and the Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow in the Department of Animal Science at Cornell University. McFadden received a BS with distinction in research in animal science from Cornell University and an MS from the University of Illinois. He later served as a visiting scholar at the University of Arizona before completing his doctoral degree in dairy science from Virginia Tech. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Neuroscience and Center for Metabolism and Obesity Research at Johns Hopkins Medicine. In 2012, McFadden joined the faculty at West Virginia University. McFadden returned to Cornell in 2017, where he leads a program focused on dairy cattle nutrition and metabolism.
He has received approximately $12 million in external support from the National Science Foundation, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Global Methane Hub, and other sponsors. He has authored 56 peer-reviewed publications, presented 73 invited talks across the world, written 27 popular press articles, including op-ed features for Time and The Hill, and spoke at the United Nations COP27 Climate Change Conference in 2022. He has mentored 21 postdoctoral researchers and interns, 21 graduate students, and more than 80 undergraduate researchers. His recent awards include the Cargill Animal Nutrition Young Scientist Award and the American Society for Animal Science Young Scientist Research Award.
Currently, McFadden is leading efforts at Cornell to establish the necessary infrastructure and international engagement to identify next-generation dietary solutions that enhance the energetic conversion of dietary energy to milk energy and reduce methane emissions from cattle production. Such projects include rigorous efficacy and safety testing of feed additives that reduce ruminal methane production from cattle. McFadden is also leading efforts to build a feed library for the most populous country in the world, India, as a means to build better diets for more than 300 million cattle and buffaloes managed by over 75 million Indian smallholder farmers. In his spare time, McFadden and his wife manage Ithaca Maple Works, a 65-acre maple sugar operation in Ithaca, New York.
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