2014 Conference Speakers

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Mitchell
Honorary Chairperson: Senator George J. Mitchell

Sen. George J. Mitchell was appointed to the United States Senate from Maine in 1980 to complete the un-expired term of Senator Edmund S. Muskie, who resigned to become Secretary of State. Mitchell was elected to a full term in the Senate in 1982, and reelected in 1988. He left the Senate in 1995 as the Senate Majority Leader, a position he had held since January 1989. Sen. Mitchell chaired the Peace Negotiations in Northern Ireland that led to the historic 1998 Good Friday peace accord and, in 2009, President Obama appointed him Special Envoy for the Middle East. Senator Mitchell has fought for clean air and water throughout his political career. Specifically, he was the impetus for the 1990 reauthorization of the Clean Air Act, including new controls on acid rain toxins, and he authored the first national oil spill prevention and clean-up law. The Senator George J. Mitchell Center at the University of Maine is the home of Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative, as well as Maine’s congressionally-authorized Water Resources Research Institute. Mitchell was born and raised in Waterville, Maine and graduated from Waterville High School, Bowdoin College, and Georgetown University Law Center.


Keynote: Frederick Kirschenmann

Fred Kirschenmann has been involved in sustainable agriculture and food issues for most of his life. He currently serves as both a Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, and as President of the 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 south central 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. He has held numerous appointments, including the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board and the National Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production operated by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and funded by Pew Charitable Trusts. Kirschenmann also has been advisor for several documentaries including American Meat and Symphony of the Soil. 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. Kirschenmann served as the Leopold Center’s second director from July 2000 to November 2005 and has been recognized widely for his work. He 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.

John Piotti
Moderator: John Piotti

John Piotti is President and CEO of Maine Farmland Trust, an award-winning statewide non-profit organization that has helped over 125 Maine farms remain viable and helped protect over 25,000 acres of Maine’s best farmland. John has worked on agriculture issues for the past 16 years. Through 2006, he managed all the farm programs for Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), Maine’s premiere community development organization. His has served as chair of the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) and a director of the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture. From 2002 to 2010 John also served in Maine’s citizen Legislature, where he chaired the Agriculture Committee and served as House Majority Leader. In 2005, John was one of only eight Americans awarded a prestigious Eisenhower Fellowship. He spent time in Sweden and Brussels exploring European models for using agriculture as a vehicle to advance sustainable community development. John holds three degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in engineering, public policy, and management. He lives in Unity, Maine with his wife Susan and children Anna and John.

David Gustafson
David Gustafson

Dave Gustafson is a Senior Science Fellow at Monsanto Company, where he serves as the Regulatory lead for Water Quality and Agricultural Sustainability. His research on the environmental challenges surrounding agriculture has now spanned nearly 30 years. The initial focus of his work was the development of new computer models for predicting the environmental behavior of crop chemicals, especially their potential impacts on water quality. Among the models he developed for this purpose is the GUS-Index, which is now used by regulatory agencies worldwide to determine the potential of pesticides to contaminate ground water supplies. In subsequent years, Dave developed new modeling approaches to pollen-mediated gene flow and the population genetics of insect and weed resistance. In 2007, Dave served as an inaugural member and lead for the Monsanto Fellows Climate Change Panel, which reported back to the company on the degree of scientific certainty in global climate modeling, and how it is likely to impact agriculture around the world. He now serves on various Monsanto teams looking at the new imperatives and constraints placed on agriculture by man-made global warming, hypoxia, and other environmental challenges. Dave holds a B.S. and Ph.D., both in chemical engineering, from Stanford University and the University of Washington in Seattle.

Andrew Guzman

Berkeley law professor Andrew Guzman is author of the widely acclaimed book Overheated: The Human Cost of Climate Change from Oxford University Press, which argues that climate change will be a social and political disaster of the first order, bringing unprecedented migrations, famine, war, and disease. Professor of Law and Director of the Advanced Law degree Programs at Berkeley Law School, University of California, Berkeley, Professor Guzman holds a J.D. and Ph.D. (economics) from Harvard University. He has written extensively on international trade, international regulatory matters, foreign direct investment and public international law, and served as editor on the recently published Handbook of International Economic Law (Elgar Publishers) and authored How International Law Works (Oxford University Press). Guzman is aksi a member of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration’s Academic Council and is on the board of several academic journals. He has taught as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, the University of Chicago Law School, the University of Virginia Law School, Vanderbilt Law School, the University of Hamburg, and the National University Law School in Bangalore, India.

Jim Harkness

Jim Harkness recently became the Senior Advisor on China for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and was President of the organization since 2006. Previously he served as executive director of the World Wildlife Fund in China from 1999-2005, where he expanded the organization’s profile from a strict focus on conservation of biodiversity to also addressing the consequences of China’s economic growth on a broader sustainable development agenda. From 1995-1999, Jim worked as the Ford Foundation’s Environment and Development Program Officer for China. He has written and spoken frequently on China and sustainable development, and has served as an advisor to the World Bank and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Jim earned a B.A. in Asian studies from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s in development sociology from Cornell University.

Calestous Juma

Calestous Juma is Professor of the Practice of International Development and Director of the Science, Technology, and Globalization Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He directs the Agricultural Innovation in Africa Project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and serves as Faculty Chair of Innovation for Economic Development executive program. Juma is a former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and Founding Director of the African Centre for Technology Studies in Nairobi, Kenya. He is co-chair of the African Union’s High-Level Panel on Science, Technology and Innovation and a jury member of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. He was Chancellor of the University of Guyana and has been elected to several scientific academies including the Royal Society of London, the US National Academy of Sciences, the World Academy of Sciences, the UK Royal Academy of Engineering and the African Academy of Sciences. He has won several international awards for his work on sustainable development. He holds a doctorate in science and technology policy studies and has written widely on science, technology, and environment. Juma serves on the boards of several international bodies and is editor of the International Journal of Technology and Globalisation and the International Journal of Biotechnology. His latest book, The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa, was published by Oxford University Press in 2011.

Andreas Merkl

Andreas Merkl is the President and CEO of Ocean Conservancy which educates and empowers citizens to take action to tackle the ocean’s biggest challenges with science-based solutions. Prior to taking the helm at Ocean Conservancy, Andreas served as a principal at California Environmental Associates, a San Francisco-based think tank and consultancy that works on the management of the natural resource commons, ranging from fisheries to freshwater, forests, air and biodiversity. Andreas’ particular interest has been the deeply connected challenges of ocean ecosystem decline and climate change. He has worked with the major U.S. foundations, multi-laterals and corporations on developing market-based incentive systems for responsible resource stewardship, ranging from catch-share systems for commercial fisheries to green growth development mechanisms for developing countries. Earlier in his career, he Merkl was a founding member of McKinsey & Company’s Environmental Practice and served as Vice President and co-founder of the CH2M HILL Strategy Group, a leading provider of environmental management consulting services worldwide. Andreas has broad experience in environmental management consulting, venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, and business strategy. He holds an MBA with distinction from Harvard University, a master’s degree in Regional Planning and Natural Resource Analysis from the University of California at Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Kathleen Merrigan

Kathleen Merrigan is the former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture where she oversaw its daily operations and served on the President’s Management Council, working to improve accountability and performance across the federal government. Merrigan managed the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative to highlight the critical connection between farmers and consumers and support local and regional food systems that increase economic opportunity in rural America. In 2009 she made history as the first woman to chair the Ministerial Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and, in 2010, was named by Time magazine as among the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Robert Paarlberg

Robert Paarlberg, Adjunct Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, is an independent scholar and consultant specializing in global food and agricultural policy. He is the Betty Freyhof Johnson Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College and an Associate at Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. He received his BA in government from Carleton College and his PhD in government from Harvard. Paarlberg has recently been a member of the Board of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the National Research Council and a consultant to the National Intelligence Council (NIC), USAID, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the World Bank, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2009 he presented testimony on U.S. agricultural development assistance policy to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. His 2008 book from Harvard University Press was titled Starved for Science: How Biotechnology is Being Kept out of Africa. His 2010 book from Oxford University Press is titled Food Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know.

August “Gus” Schumacher, Jr.

Gus Schumacher is the Vice President of Policy at the Wholesome Wave Foundation in Westport, Connecticut, an organization that links local farmers around the country to supply healthy, sustainably grown produce at farmers’ markets to under-served neighborhoods. As the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services at United States Department of Agriculture from 1997 to 2001, Gus oversaw the Farm Service Agency, the Foreign Agricultural Service, and the Risk Management Agency. Prior to his appointment, Schumacher served as Administrator of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, worked as a senior agri-lender for the World Bank, and served as Commissioner of Food and Agriculture for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Schumacher is a member of the 21st Century Sustainable Agricultural Task Force of the National Academy of Sciences and was recently honored with the James Beard Foundation’s Leadership Award. He holds a degree in economics from Harvard College, studied at the London School of Economics and was a research associate in agribusiness at the Harvard Business School.

M. Ann Tutwiler

M. Ann Tutwiler is the Director General of Bioversity International, an international research for development organization that is a member of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Consortium. As the Director General, Tutwiler is responsible for leading Bioversity International, forging effective research partnerships and overseeing the organization’s strategic priorities and research agenda. Tutwiler has almost 30 years of experience in agricultural policy and development working in the public and private sectors. Tutwiler was formerly the Special Representative of the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) in Geneva. She served as Deputy Director General, Knowledge, at FAO from January 2011 through November 2012, where she coordinated the development of cohesive Rome food agency positions on Rio+20 for FAO, with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Programme (WFP) and Bioversity International. From June 2009 to January 2011, she worked for the Secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), leading and coordinating USDA’s participation in the President’s ‘Feed the Future’ initiative and developing USDA’s international research strategy. Previously, she served as Senior Advisor of International Affairs for the U.S. Agency for International Development. Tutwiler holds a master’s degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College, where she received the John W. Kuykendall Award for Community Service in 2005. She holds certificates in Agribusiness from Purdue University and Harvard Business School.