2020 Iowa Women Agribusiness Panelists Announced!

Industry Panelists Will Dive Into the Force of Iowa Ag on the World Stage at the Iowa Women in Agribusiness Leadership Forum in February

DES MOINES – In 2020, the Agribusiness Association of Iowa (AAI) will hold its first Iowa Women in Agribusiness Leadership Forum in Des Moines in an effort to bring Iowa together and drive connections. This new event is on February 11, 2020, at 2:00 PM, and a networking hour at 4:30 PM with a reception to follow.

This new forum provides a space for topics relevant to all agribusiness sectors and a platform for women in agribusiness to discuss common challenges. An all-new event for the 2020 Agribusiness Showcase & Conference, the Iowa Women in Agribusiness Leadership Forum brings together high impact leaders and ag professionals in Iowa. Gain powerful insights from the industry panel, moderated by Iowa Minute Host Laurie Johns, and joined by leaders from the manufacturing, retail/wholesale, government, and biotechnology sectors.

Featured speakers include State Executive Director for the USDA Farm Service Agency Amanda De Jong and Executive Director of 50-50 in 2020 Melissa Gesing.

De Jong most recently held the position of Senior Policy Advisor at the Iowa Corn Growers Association, a position she assumed in 2011. She also served in prior roles with U.S. Senator Charles Grassley and the USDA. De Jong was raised on a corn and soybean farm in Dubuque County that has been in her family for 158 years. She earned degrees from Iowa State University College of Agriculture and the University of Iowa Law School.

Gesing, a Simpson College political science graduate and served most recently as president of the Iowa Federation of Republican Women, joined 50-50 in 2020 as a board member in 2016 before becoming Executive Director in 2018. Following a long career in medical research at the University of Iowa, Miller worked professionally as a fundraiser and organizational consultant before being hired by 50-50 in 2020. Established in 2010, 50-50 in 2020 is a nonpartisan, issue-neutral, not-for-profit organization working to help Iowa women from all political parties be successful candidates.

2:00 – 5:30 PM | Tuesday, February 11, 2020


Registration includes:

  • Two-day conference pass
  • IWA learning materials
  • Tuesday Reception
  • Wednesday Breakfast & Lunch
  • All Open Sessions Wednesday

2020 Agenda

2:00 – 4:30 PM – Welcome & Introductions
– Shelly Kruse, AAI Board of Directors & Executive Director of Strategic Relationships, GROWMARK, Inc.

2:15 PM – Iowa, A Global Force in Ag – Panel Discussion
– Laurie Johns, Iowa Minute Host, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation – Moderator
– Julie Kenney, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, IDALS
– Emily Schmitt, General Counsel, Sukup Manufacturing
– Biotechnology Industry Representative (invited)
– Liz Hobart, Government Affairs, Growmark, Inc.

3:00 PM – Breaking the Mold – How one person can make a big difference
– Melissa Gesing, Former Executive Director, 50-50 in 2020

3:30 PM Rising to the Top
– Amanda De Jong, State Executive Director, USDA Farm Service Agency

4:00 PM Understanding Land Values
– Kyle Hansen, President, Iowa Chapter of REALTORS® Land Institute

4:30 – 5:30 PM – Networking Hour (optional)

4:30 – 7:00 PM – All Industry Reception
Join us on the showcase floor and main stage after our IWA networking hour for the evening. Food and beverages provided.

View more information and register today at https://agribizshowcase.com/iwa. The media can contact Rose Ayers 515-868-0314 or [email protected] for admission.

The Agribusiness Showcase and Conference provides a unique venue to explore the innovative tools required to agricultural businesses, now and into the future. The industry’s innovation and technology will be showcased through featured speakers, presentations, and exhibitors. Workshops and exhibits provide value to everyone in the industry – agribusiness senior management, Certified Crop Advisers, grain professionals, pesticide applicators, and more.