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Meet I-LEAD Class 10

I-LEAD Class 10 started their two-year journey in November 2020. This group is made up of farmers, educators, agribusiness and governmental leaders from across the state of Iowa. 

Afton Holt

Afton is the President of CornerPost Marketing, an agriculture-focused marketing and communications agency, based in Fort Dodge that she founded in 2013. She continues to grow the services and lead her team to deliver exceptional marketing and communications support for some of the best companies in the agriculture industry and...

Anne Adam

Anne grew up on a diversified 6th generation crop and livestock family farm in Central Missouri, where today she serves as business partner and financial operator with her brother. She lives on acreage in Northeast Iowa City, where she and her family raise hay and some livestock. Anne and her...

Barb Kastner

Barb and her husband John have a corn and soybean grain operation located in Guthrie County Iowa. She has a BA degree in business from William Penn University and has a crop insurance license from the State of Iowa. She has a good knowledge of agriculture having four decades of...

Ben Heinzman

Ben is a Director of Operations for Eurofins Scientific where he focuses on grain testing operations that span 20 locations and commercial efforts that reach much of the Midwest. Ben has worked for Eurofins Scientific for 5 years in positions covering grain testing, acquisition integration, and finance. Prior to that,...

Ben Jahnke

Ben is an agronomy research scientist for Syngenta Seeds based in central Iowa. His role includes conducting focused corn and soybean research trials across the state. Ben grew up on a crop and livestock farm in south central Wisconsin that inspired him to pursued his passion for agriculture at the...

Brad Hayes

Brad owns and operates a real estate appraisal firm where he specializes in appraising agricultural real estate assets for clients. In addition to his appraisal business, Brad and his two brothers have been working to build and expand their farming operation near Panora that includes a cow/calf herd and raising...

Bria Miller

Bria is a Regional Account Manager for Titan Pro SCI where she represents the company in Western Iowa and Eastern Nebraska assisting dealers and growers manage their operations sustainably and efficiently. She graduated from Iowa State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business. Bria and her husband,...

Bryce Lidtka

Bryce graduated from Dordt College with a degree in Agricultural Business. During college he spent his time in sports, experimenting with hydroponics and volunteering at the NRCS. Post-graduation, his interest in soils and agricultural sustainability led him to work at an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) station in Cheyenne, Wyoming, then...

Izak Christensen

Izak is an investment analyst at Summit Agricultural Group where he focuses on sourcing, diligence and review of the firm’s private equity investments. Outside of Summit, he is involved in professional organizations such as the CFA Society of Iowa and Young Professionals in Agriculture (YPiA) as well as serving as...

Jared Preston

Jared is a fourth-generation farmer and cattlemen from North Central Iowa. He is in partnership with his father and brother as they operate the family farm raising corn, soybeans, beef cow/calf pairs, along with a feedlot. Jared graduated from Iowa State University in 2009 where he received his Bachelor of Science...

Jim Engler

Jim Engler is a Sr. Grain Merchandiser with Landus Cooperative where his main responsibilities are trading commercial corn and soybeans, as well managing the cooperatives risk in grain hedging and in fuels. Jim has spent the last three years with Landus but prior to joining the Landus team, he spent...

Joe Roberts

Joe grew up as the third generation on his family farm outside of Belmond where they raise corn and soybeans while implementing conservation practices like strip-till, no-till, cover crops and more. He attended Iowa State University and received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural business, agronomy with a focus on crop...

Joni Erwin

Joni Erwin serves as the District 2 Field Manager for Iowa Corn covering 11 counties in north central Iowa focusing on increasing membership and awareness of checkoff investments. She takes pride in being the boots on the ground for the organization by creating opportunities and connections with farmer leaders, agribusinesses...

Julius Schaaf

Julius Schaaf is a corn and Soybean producer in Fremont County, Iowa where he recently retired after 42 seasons. He has a BS degree from the University of Iowa. He joined the Iowa Corn Promotion Board in 2004 and served as the chair in 2007-2008. Julius chaired the US Grains...

Kristen McEvoy

Kristen is an Account Manager at CornerPost Marketing where she serves as a liaison between the company’s creative team and their agriculture-industry clients. Marketing and communications are her passion, and she enjoys using these skills and developing strategy for the benefit of hardworking agricultural businesses. An Iowa State Alumni, she...

Kye Cross

Kye is a store manager for Rueter’s Equipment based out of Grand Junction, Iowa where he is responsible for attaining all store and corporate objectives in sales, service, parts, administration and operations, to meet store location sales and service goals. Equipment lines carried by Rueter’s include, Case IH, Kinze, Kubota,...

Maison Bleam

Maison Bleam serves as the Legislative Liaison & Policy Advisor to Geri Huser, Chairwoman of the Iowa Utilities Board. The Board regulates the rates and services of electric, natural gas, and water utilities, the services of communications utilities, and generally supervises all pipelines and the transmission, sale, and distribution of...

Matt Rector

Matt Rector is currently serving as the Regional Director for Senator Chuck Grassley based out of the Waterloo regional office covering 18 counties in northeast and north central Iowa. This role encompasses meeting with chambers, groups, businesses, and individuals pertaining to all matters that involve the federal government or federal...

Michael Janssen

Michael grew up on a family farm near Ackley Iowa. He attended Northwestern college in Orange City, where he played baseball and majored in ag business. Following college, Michael worked for Servi-Tech serving central Iowa. After 7 years with Servi-Tech he moved back to the family farm to farm with...

Michael Ruffcorn

Born and raised in Mondamin, IA Michael Ruffcorn is a corn and soybean farmer located in West Central Iowa. He attended South Dakota State University where he graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Agronomy and a minor in Agriculture Business. Upon completion, Michael returned to his home area where...

Neil Krummen

Neil is a 3rd generation grain and livestock farmer from Northwest Iowa where he grows corn, soybeans, and alfalfa as well as raising commercial sheep and goat herds. He also manages a 4,000 head hog finishing site. Neil graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelors in agricultural business in...

Reed Burres

Reed is a third-generation farmer from Humboldt, Iowa where he farms with his father growing corn, sweet corn, and soybeans. He is founder of AgriPeril Risk Management, an agricultural risk management firm that specializes in crop and livestock insurance. Reed received a degree in Agricultural Business and International Agriculture from...

Shawn Assman

Shawn works full time for Syngenta Crop Protection as a Retail Sales Representative servicing Southwest Iowa where his responsibilities include working with customers to find solutions for pest, weed, and disease management in corn and soybean production. Shawn is also active in his 4th generation farming operation near Dunlap with his father where...

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