Congress

program

Social Events

Welcome Party

A fun and informal get-together to enjoy local culture and network opportunities

Date: Monday, 16 May 2022

Time: 19:00 – 22:00
Venue: Fira Gran Via, Exhibition area
Dress code: Business casual

Photo: Fira Barcelona
Photo: Sanjeri/Getty Images Signature
Future Generation Event

Together with Rijk Zwaan and Syngenta, we are pleased to invite you to the Future Generation event, a brand-new feature of the World Seed Congress that creates a unique space for exchange among the different generations in the seed industry.

Date: Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Time: 18:00 – 19:45
Venue: Fira Gran Via, Exhibition area
Dress code: Business casual

Full program here

Don’t miss this chance to meet, network, and share knowledge in a fun and casual environment. This event will open with a presentation from MBA students of IESE Business School who will present studies they have done on the seed industry. Hot topics include climate change, intellectual property, and farmer extension programs.

This event is free for Congress delegates.

Kindly sponsored by:

           

Farewell Get Together

It marks the official close of the World Seed Congress. A modern event, with seated and standing tables to enjoy a last evening together. 

Date: Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Time: 18:30 (bus departure from Renaisasnce hotel) to 2:00

Venue: Cava Codorníu
Dress code: Business casual

Photo: ISF World Seed Congress, Nice, 2019

Thematic Day

Photo: Mercabarna
Photo: Cocina Hermanos Torres

ANOVE, the Spanish Seed Association, is proud to present a Thematic Day entitled “The role of plant breeding along the modern food supply chain: contributions, challenges, threats and expectations.”

The Thematic Day will be held in Mercabarna, the grandest 24-hour food hub and wholesale market for fresh food in Europe.

Date: Thursday, 19 May 2022

Time: 9:30-14:30 (Pickup from hotel at 9:00am)

Venue: Mercabarna, Barcelona

What you can expect: lively forums and panel discussions, cooking show. Please find the full program here

Unique gastronomic experience from Hermanos Torres

Two Michelin-starred Spanish chefs Sergio and Javier Torres will be presenting a live cooking show, focused on new crop varieties and innovative culinary techniques. The highly acclaimed chefs will be serving lunch for the attendants of the Thematic Day, so don’t miss this one-of-a-kind gastronomic experience! 

You may register for the Thematic Day with your congress registration for a fee of EUR 120. For those who have already registered to the congress, you may still indicate your interest to attend by emailing isfwsc@kit-group.org .

Price per person: EUR 120

Organized by:

Golf Tournament

Get involved! Join the fun!
The golf tournament will be held on Sunday, 15 May 2022
The program will be shared at a later stage.

If you have always been ‘afraid’ of joining the Golf Tournament, this year you will be able to enjoy the sport whether you are an amateur or a pro. If you sign up to our Golf Clinics, you will receive a series of golf lessons and discover more about this activity. The basic package consists of a green fee, lunch and transport. Clubs, caddies or anything else related to this fantastic sport can be rented or bought on-site according to your needs.

Prizes
Incotec will provide cash prizes to the top male and top female golfers. These will be donated to the winner’s favorite charity. In addition, there will be prizes for hole-in-one, closest to the pin and longest drive.

Registration
Register for ISF World Seed Congress 2022 Golf Tournament or Golf Clinics upon submitting your registration for the Congress. Please indicate your handicap by emailing our Core PCO K.I.T. Group GmbH at isfwsc@kit-group.org after submission of your Congress registration request.

Price for registered golfer is EUR 360 including green fees, transportation, and lunch.

A limited number of golf clubs can be rented as follows:
– Golf club rental – Full set standard RH – Lady
– Golf club rental – Full set standard LH – Lady
– Golf club rental – Full set standard RH
– Golf club rental – Full set standard LH
– Golf cart rental
– Golf trolley rental

Cancellation Policy
For information on cancellation requests and refunds, refer to the Cancellations section.

Location
The golf Tournament will take place at Club de Golf Vallromanes

The 2022 Golf Tournament is generously sponsored by:

Accompanying Persons

There is no accompanying persons program organized by ISF during the ISF World Seed Congress 2022 in Barcelona. However, the usual social events will take place, therefore you will have the chance to participate in the Congress if you wish. 

  • Opening Ceremony: Monday 16 May, Fira Gran Via, 09:30 – 11:00
  • Welcome Party: Monday 16 May, Fira Gran Via, Exhibition area. 19:00 – 23:00
  • Farewell Get Together: Wednesday 18 May, Caves Codorniu, 19:00 – 02:00

Price per Accompanying person: EUR 120

In addition, you can book any tours via Barcelona Tourism on your own. You can find all the information on this website: bcnshop.barcelonaturisme.com/shopv3/en/

Venue

An ideal place for business !

Photo: Fira Barcelona

The ISF World Seed Congress 2022 will provide many opportunities to conduct business in small or large group settings.

From the Trading Floor to the Exhibition area and Private Meeting Rooms, delegates will find exceptional meeting facilities that meet their needs.

During the annual ISF World Seed Congress, ISF organizes panel discussion on ISF key topics. These meetings are open to all ISF members and provide the participants with an update of what has been done over the past years.

These meetings also serve to set the positions that ISF will be taking in its outreach efforts to external stakeholders. Should you wish to make your voice heard, these would be the meetings to go to.

Congress venue

Located just 3 kilometers from Barcelona’s historic city center, Fira Gran Via is ideally situated in a newly redeveloped business district.

The expansive and modern venue, Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Toyo Ito, is conveniently linked by the local public transport network to both the metropolitan downtown and nearby El Prat International Airport (12 km).

Its outstanding features include renowned architecture, modern functionality, and commitment to sustainability.

The venue comprises an impressive rooftop photovoltaic installation stretching across its eight inter-connected pavilions. The inspiring South Entrance holds the acclaimed Nuclo Restaurant and leads exhibition visitors to the upper walkway.

This free-flowing design both maximizes connectivity and gives exhibitors and visitors unparalleled access to Fira Gran Via’s cutting-edge event services and logistics capacity. 

Venue address:

https://www.firabarcelona.com/en/gran-via/

Internet
Complimentary Wi-Fi will be available for all participants throughout the Congress venue.

Internet connection kindly sponsored by :

CHANNEL WORLD SEED

Channel World Seed 

Chanel World Seed is ISF’s own live broadcast platform with a studio set in the Congress venue. It will air content to both the onsite attendees (exhibition area) and the virtual audience. 

As a sponsor, you can book a 30-minute time slot on our programming schedule to broadcast your own content such as live interviews, product promotions, panel discussions on specific topics, and other content. 

Contact ISF Secretariat to have more information: infowsc@worldseed.org

Speakers

Opening ceremony

MICHAEL KELLERSecretary General , ISF
DONALD COLESPresident, ISF
JULIAN ARNEDOChair, National Organizing Committee (NOC)

panel 1 - "International seed trade: The road to a systems approach"

NATALIA FERNANDEZ ERASOSeeds & Traits Conosur, Bayer
MEREL LANGENSChair, ISF EG Systems Approach
JOANNE WILSONPrincipal Adviser, Plant Imports, National Plant Protection Organization, New Zealand
MARINA ZLOTINAIPPC Technical Director, USDA-APHIS
MARCEL BRUINSModerator

panel 2 - "International seed trade: challenges and opportunities
in the seed supply chain"

OSAMA EL-LISSYSecretary, International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC)
EDUARD FITÓDirector of Business Development and Corporate Affairs, Semillas Fitó
MICHAEL LEADERChair, ISF CG Phytosanitary
SHANE SELASNR Trade Facilitation Specialist, The World Bank Group
MELVIN SPREIJStandards and Trade Development Facility (STDF), World Trade Organization (WTO)
JEAN PAUL JUDSONModerator

panel 3 - "seed resilience: partnering beyond boundaries"

IAN BARKERCIP Global Potato Program Director, SeEDEqual, OneCGIAR
SHOSHAN HARANFounder President, Fair Planet
GIGI MANICADIndependent Consultant on Biodiversity for Climate Resilience
MARIEN VALSTARAgriculture Ministry, The Netherlands
MARCO VAN LEEUWENFirst Vice-President, ISF
MARCEL BRUINSModerator

panel 4 - "Plant breeding innovation: the need for internationally aligned and future-proof policies"

MARIETTE ANDERSSONCEO, SolEdits
MARC COOLGlobal Seed Policy Leader, Corteva
VONNIE ESTES VP of Technology and Innovation, International Fresh Produce Association
BERNICE SLUTSKYChair, ISF CG Plant Breeding Innovation
LISA ZANNONIVP Regulatory and Government Affairs, Inari
JEAN PAUL JUDSONModerator

panel 5 - "A REALITY CHECK OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE SEED SECTOR AND FARMERS"

BETH BECHDOLDeputy Director, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
LORENA BASSOPresident, Basso Seed
SIMON GROOTFounder, East-West Seed; World Food Prize Laureate 2019
ELIZABETH NSIMADALAPresident, Eastern African Farmers Federation (EAFF) & Pan-Africa Farmers Organization (PAFO)
MARK WATNEPresident, North Dakota Farmers Union
MARCEL BRUINSModerator

panel 6 - "TRANSFORMING FOOD SYSTEMS: THE ENGAGEMENT OF THE SEED SECTOR
WITH THE VALUE CHAIN"

MAURICIO GARCIA DE QUEVEDODirector General, FIAB; Vice-chair, Business at OECD Food and Agriculture Committee
AGNES KALIBATAPresident, AGRA; UN Special Enjoy for the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit
CHARLES MILLERCommercial Director, Solynta Hybrid Potato Breeding
VICENTE NAVARROSenior VP, BASF Vegetable Seeds; Vice-Chair, ISF CG Value Chain
JEAN PAUL JUDSONModerator

Michael Keller

Michael is a German national based in Nyon, Switzerland where the ISF headquarters is located. After his legal training at the University of Manheim, he completed a Master’s degree in European Law and post-graduate studies in Political Science.

Michael joined the French Senate (Paris, 1999) as Parliamentary Advisor then joined the Mayors Association of France as Head of European and International Affairs. He later became Director of Regulatory and Public Affairs at DuPont Pioneer (2008-2014). During this period Michael served in the Board of Directors of the Union Française des Semenciers (UFS).

As founder-member of the French seed trade association, Michael’s move to the International Seed Federation (ISF) was a natural progression. ISF represents the seed sector internationally, acting as the industry’s voice on global issues. As ISF Secretary General Michael brings extensive experience in agriculture and food chains and is a prolific speaker on public policy and regulatory issues.

Donald Coles 

Donald Coles is the Chairman and Managing Director of Valley Seeds Pty Ltd, and President of the International Seed Federation. He is an Australian citizen and holds a Diploma in Farm Management, and a Master of Business Administration.

He combines extensive experience and understanding of Australian and International agribusiness at the senior management level with an extensive understanding of food and fiber production.

Donald owns Valley Seeds Pty. Ltd. which is a leading Australian seed company with a significant portfolio of forage and turf seed varieties and other seed brands. This includes varieties bred by the company over which the company holds Plant Breeders Rights. In the past, the company has been investing in biotechnology and other related technologies in partnership with the University of Melbourne.

Donald was also the founder of Access Genetics Pty Ltd. Access Genetics specialized in breeding and evaluation of new varieties in cereal grain and other broadacre cropping species. Access Genetics was sold to a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nufarm Ltd, Nugrain Pty Ltd in late 2005 after a period of joint equity ownership. Nugrain was a Nufarm initiated consortium that also involved substantial shareholding from Landmark, Graincorp, Ausbulk, and CBH until 2005.

Julian Arnedo Díez 

Julian Arnedo is the President of ANOVE, the Spanish Plant Breeders Association, and in this capacity is the president of the National Organizing Committee (NOC) of the ISF World Seed Congress 2022.

Mr. Arnedo was born in Calahorra (La Rioja), Spain in 1956.  He studied Agricultural Engineering at the Universidad Politécnica of Madrid.  Over the last 20 years, he has been a member of the Board of Directors of APROSE, and a member of the Vegetable & Ornamental Crop Section of ISF until 2021. 

Currently, Mr. Arnedo serves as President of the company Ramiro Arnedo, SA (Calahorra, La Rioja – Spain), a company founded 75 years ago by his father, Mr. Ramiro Arnedo Eguizábal, and which is dedicated to the research, production, and distribution of vegetable seeds. 

Mr. Arnedo has also been President of ANOVE since nine years ago. ANOVE represents the plant breeding industry in Spain, promoting its interests and the awareness of its activities, and supporting the innovation and development of agriculture. It counts among its members 55 Companies and three Public Research Centres.

Natalia Fernandez Eraso 

Natalia is a passionate about innovation & applied science in seed to promote sustainable food production systems. She is a Molecular Biologist that started her professional career doing research on plant Biotechnology for 8 years (mainly focus on the molecular interaction between soybean and soybean rust) in Institute for Research in Genetic Engineering and Molecular Biology (INGEBI)- Buenos Aires University.  Natalia joined the seed industry 15 years ago, actively working on the regulatory scene for Biotechnology launches in Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina and deliver of new germplasm in the local markets. She also works on the seed movement to promote science-based regulations. She represents Bayer at the Argentinean Seed Association (ASA), Natalia is chair of the SAA Phytosanitary committee and represents Argentina at the ISF CG Phyto.  

Merel Langens, PhD 

Merel studied Plant Breeding at Wageningen University 18 years of experience in vegetable seed industry. She has a background in R&D as Manager of Seed Technology in two seed companies. She is currently the Global Manager Industry Affairs at BASF Vegetable Seeds with worldwide representation, coordination and alignment of industry affairs to secure global seed supply and seed trade. Her work focuses on the movement of (treated) seed and phytosanitary topics. She chairs and is one of the initiators of the ISF Expert Group on Systems Approach, which supports the development of an alternative system for phytosanitary certification of seed that is more predictable and efficient than the current system.

Joanne Wilson

Joanne Wilson (Jo) is a Principal Adviser in the Animal and Plant Health Directorate of the Ministry for Primary Industries, the National Plant Protection Organization for New Zealand. Jo has been with the Ministry for almost 30 years in roles spanning research, emergency response, trade negotiations and regulation. Currently she provides advice on the design of phytosanitary import and export systems and guides plant health teams making risk management decisions for the import and export of plants and plant products using her specialist knowledge of pests, phytosanitary systems and treatments, pathway assessment and auditing.

Jo is a South West Pacific region representative on the IPPC Standards Committee and is a member of the Asia Pacific Plant Protection Commission Standards Committee. Jo has contributed to and has lead several workshops on systems approaches in South East Asia.

Marina Zlotina

Marina Zlotina works as the IPPC Technical Director for Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) at USDA-APHIS. Part of her responsibilities is to serve on the IPPC Standards Committee and provide stewardship for International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) under development. Previously, she worked as a risk analyst, conducting pest risk assessments (PRAs) and providing leadership for a team revising the USDA PRA guidelines for imported fruits and vegetables. Marina served as an expert on the NAPPO PRA panel (2004-2014) and EFSA Plant Health Panel (2009-2012). She also worked at the IPPC Secretariat in Rome with the Standards Setting Unit. Marina received PhD from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, specializing in Entomology.

Osama El-Lissy, PhD

Mr. Osama El-Lissy was born in Egypt and is a national of the United States, Mr. El-Lissy holds a doctorate degree in management from the University of Maryland, a Master of Business Administration from Georgetown University, a Master of Public Administration from American University, and a Bachelor of Science in agriculture production and entomology from Cairo University.

Prior to his current appointment as the IPPC Secretary, Dr. El-Lissy worked for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for almost 22 years. For the past nine years, he served as Deputy Administrator of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. In that role, Dr. El-Lissy led the national plant protection organization of the United States and served as the country’s chief plant health officer. He also provided leadership to 3,000 employees in the United States and around the world.

Dr. El-Lissy held several other executive positions earlier in his USDA career. These included Associate Deputy Administrator, Director of Plant Health Emergency Programs, and National Coordinator of Cotton Pest Programs.

Before joining USDA in 2000, Dr. El-Lissy worked for the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation from 1994 to 2000, leading one of the largest pest eradication programs in the world. From 1986 to 1994, he worked with the Arizona Cotton Research and Protection Council, managing large-scale cotton pest eradication programs in Arizona and the southwestern region of the United States.  

Eduard Fitó 

Eduard Fitó was born in Barcelona and studied Agricultural Engineering at the University of Catalonia. He earned his Master’s degree in Agronomy at the University of Lleida, and attended business programs at the IESE Business School in Barcelona.

Eduard comes from generations of seed professionals. In 1994, he joined his family company Semillas Fitó in the seed production department and later in the research and development (R&D) department as plant breeder. After having taken different positions at Semillas Fitó, he became its Director of Business Development and Corporate Affairs in 2012.

He is active in the seed industry as a member of the board of ANOVE, the Spanish seed association and a member of the board of the Anti-Infringement Bureau. He also served as President of ISF in 2018-2020.

He is married with two children, and loves hiking, playing music (guitar), and photography.

Michael Leader

Michael Leader is the Head of Regulatory Scientific Affairs – APAC for Bayer across the Asia region for both vegetable and row crops, including seed movement; seed law development advocacy; seed treatment and seed packaging compliance; and variety registration. He is also currently Chair of the International Seed Federation’s Coordination Group Phyto. Michael has previously worked in the Australian government quarantine and biotechnology regulators as well as in international advocacy in Croplife International. He joined Monsanto in 2009.

Shane Sela 

Shane Sela is a Senior Trade Facilitation Specialist in the World Bank’s Global Trade and Regional Integration Unit, based in Washington, DC. He supports countries in the implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). He works principally with Sanitary and Phytosanitary agencies in assessing country capacities and in support of the implementation of the relevant articles of the TFA.

Areas of country support include implementation of electronic certificates such as the IPPC ePhyto Solution and other documentary simplification approaches, implementation of modernized risk-based inspection programs, implementation of border cooperation, procedures to support expediting the trade of perishables, et cetera.

He is a Canadian who joined the World Bank in 2018, following 32 years working at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) which is Canada’s competent authority for managing sanitary, phytosanitary and food safety risks.

Melvin Spreij 

Melvin heads up the STDF Secretariat, housed at the WTO. He oversees STDF’s Trust Fund, totalling more than US$80 million and supporting over 230 projects in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean. Leading a team of eight experts, Melvin manages STDF’s global knowledge platform, working closely with STDF’s partner agencies (FAO, OIE, World Bank Group, WHO and WTO), donors, developing country governments and the public and private sector.

Melvin has longstanding expertise in trade, development, agriculture and law, as a Counsellor in the Agriculture and Commodities Division of the WTO, and previously at FAO and other international organizations. He holds a civil and business law degree from the State University Leiden, The Netherlands and has published widely on leading policy areas covering sustainable development and natural resources.

Ian Barker 

With over 30 years of experience in agricultural R&D in both the public and private sectors, Ian Barker leads an innovative portfolio of research and development projects designed to intensify, diversify and strengthen the resilience of agri-food systems with potato-related technologies.

Within the emerging OneCGIAR structure, Ian leads an initiative team called SeEdQUAL with the aim of improving the delivery of genetic gains in farmers’ fields through improved seed systems. He is also the convener of the Crops to End Hunger Seeds Delivery Group.

Ian, a British national, holds a PhD from Exeter University and a BSc in plant sciences from Wye College, London University.

Shoshan Haran, PhD 

Dr. Shoshan Haran holds a Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in plant protection and was awarded a Fulbright grant for a post-doctoral fellowship at Rutgers University, New Jersey.

Until founding Fair Planet, Dr. Haran worked for 11 years for Hazera Genetics ( an Israeli global leader in the seed industry), initially as Head of Research Collaborations and IP, and later as Head of the Trait Exploration and Discovery Unit.

Dr. Haran served as the Head of the Upstream Technologies Expert Group of the Limagrain group.

Gigi Manicad 

Gigi Manicad has over 30 years of in-depth field and policy experience in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe in biodiversity management for sustainable food systems and climate resilience. She has worked for both research and civil society organizations. She has led and established successful and scaled- up multi-stakeholder programmes that bridge agricultural research with bottom-up development agenda. Gigi currently works as an independent consultant, leading the evaluations and development of programmes and strategies.

Marien Valstar 

Marien Valstar (1964) is Senior policy officer Seeds and Propagating Materials in the Directorate-General for Agro and Nature in the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of the Netherlands. His work focuses on national, European and global policies related to the Plant Variety protection, and registration and certification of plant varieties.

Current Responsibilities in the Netherlands: Seed Law, Plant Breeders Law, Plant Variety Board /Variety testing

Representative of the Netherlands in Standing Committees on Seeds of the European Commission and in Council Working parties

President of the Administrative Council of the European Community Plant Variety Office. This office grants plant breeders rights pan-EU.

President of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). UPOV is an intergovernmental organization. It’s mission is to provide and promote an effective system of plant variety protection, with the aim of encouraging the development of new varieties of plants, for the benefit of society.

Marien is a graduate of the Wageningen University and Research (1988), where he studied Horticulture.

Marco van Leeuwen

Marco van Leeuwen is Managing Director of Rijk Zwaan, a position he has held for the last 12 years. His areas of interest include commercial affairs, seed production, and logistics. He is an alumnus of IESE Business School.

After his agricultural business management study in 1993, Marco started working for the Dutch vegetable seed breeding company Rijk Zwaan. Since then he has held several roles related to seed operations, marketing & sales before he was appointed as Managing Director in 2009. In this position, Marco wants to contribute toward sustainable global food production and food security with healthy vegetables.

Next to his role in Rijk Zwaan, Marco holds several (board) positions in the seed industry. He is currently the first VP of ISF.

Mariette Andersson

Mariette Andersson is the CEO and one of the co-founders of SolEdits AB, a startup company in Sweden working with genome editing in potato.

SolEdits offer precise and efficient targeted mutagenesis to add one or a few traits in any potato variety without interupting the beneficial genetic context and without the need of downstream breeding like crossings. Popular traits asked for by customers are enhanced starch quality, tolerance to pests and elimination of unhealthy compounds. The company is a spin off from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), where Mariette also work part time as an associate professor. Her main research interest is to design plants to produce tailor made compounds with health- and/or environmental benefits, by using modern plant breeding methods like CRISPR-Cas9. Her work is centred on carbon allocation, especially starch, but oil, sugar and protein are also of research interest.

Prior her current positions, she was working 12 years in the plant biotech industry, focusing on the development of different potato traits and characterisation of GM elite events for deregulation in EU.

Mariette received her PhD in Biochemistry from Lund University in 2004.

Marc W. Cool, MSc 

Marc Cool is a fifth generation seedsman who attended the Agricultural University of Wageningen in the Netherlands where he graduated with a Masters Degree in Plant Breeding and Plant Pathology. His ~33 year professional career has spanned from working in the alfalfa seed industry in California where he developed new markets for proprietary varieties and technology on a global basis, to then moving to Oregon where he worked in the turf and forage grass industry and had sales, marketing and management responsibilities for North and South America, Pacific Rim and Asia. Afterwards, Marc worked as GM for an organic vegetable seed company, and then spent 4 years with his family in China with DuPont Pioneer as Director of Marketing and Product Strategy. He is now back in the USA in a role within the Corteva AgriscienceTM External Affairs group, leading global seed policy development, supporting the Seed Platform and leading the company engagements with global trade associations, particularly focusing on the global policy environment for genome editing as the latest technology driving innovation for farmers and society.

Bernice Slutsky, PhD 

Dr. Bernice Slutsky recently retired from the American Seed Trade Association. Before her retirement, Dr. Slutsky was the Senior Vice President for Innovation at the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA). In this capacity, she was responsible for coordinating and developing the domestic and international advocacy and policy efforts around plant breeding innovation for the U.S. seed industry. She is currently acting as a consultant to ASTA.

Dr. Slutsky joined ASTA in 2006 as the Vice President of Science and International Affairs to work on issues involving emerging technologies, intellectual property rights and international regulation and trade. Before joining ASTA, she was the Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture for Biotechnology and was the Science Policy Advisor for USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

Dr. Slutsky received her Ph.D. in biology at the University of Iowa.

Dr. Slutsky is the chair of the Plant Breeding Innovation Coordination Group of the International Seed Federation.

Lisa Zannoni 

Lisa, an attorney and pharmacist, is a recognized leader in the biotechnology policy and regulatory areas.  She is a former Senior Executive at Syngenta, and as Global Head of Regulatory and Stewardship, delivered innovative biotech products to the commercial market.  She has held leadership positions in several international industry organizations including CropLife International, the Global Industry Coalition and the Global Alliance for Ag Biotech Trade.  Her international leadership was recognized as a recipient of the TBJ Women’s Leadership Award. 

Lisa’s current and past appointments include the National Advisory Board of the Women in Agribusiness, WVU School of Pharmacy Leadership Council, Chair of the Business at OECD Expert Group on Biotechnology, USDA Federal Advisory Committee on Biotechnology & 21st Century Agriculture, Board of Directors of JapanBIO and Board of Directors of Syngenta Biotechnology, Inc.  Lisa has been active in STEM education for several years and developed a nationally recognized outreach program for teachers which contributed educational materials to USDA Ag in the Classroom. Lisa’s previous positions included:  Global Head of Regulatory and Government Relations at BASF; Attorney-at-Law at Hogan Lovells (Brussels); Administrator at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (Paris); and Senior Executive in the Office of the Secretary, US Department of Agriculture.

Beth Bechdol

Beth Bechdol is Deputy Director-General at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). In this role, she continues her service to food and agriculture – now on a global scale.

Ms Bechdol is responsible for FAO’s Partnership and Outreach work, including Partnerships and UN Collaboration, Resource Mobilization and Private Sector Partnerships, South-South and Triangular Cooperation. She also leads programmes in the area of Plant Production and Protection and oversees FAO’s main technical advisory committee on agriculture, the Committee on Agriculture (COAG) as well as the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat.

Before joining FAO, Ms Bechdol was President and CEO of AgriNovus Indiana, the Midwestern state’s economic development initiative focused on advancing the agbioscience sector and developing 21st century talent. Prior to her leadership of AgriNovus, Ms Bechdol was Director of agribusiness strategies at Indianapolis-based law firm Ice Miller LLP where she helped build the firm’s dedicated legal practice to food and agribusiness clients. She also was the former Deputy Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.

Ms Bechdol’s dedication to public service in agriculture and her extensive trade and farm policy experience started in Washington, D.C. where she served in key roles as Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and as Economist on the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Mark Watne

Mark Watne was elected president of North Dakota Farmers Union in November 2013. In his capacity, he serves as president of Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Company and Farmers Union Service Association, all headquartered in Jamestown.

Mark has a long history of Farmers Union involvement, first as a youth and young producer farming at Velva. In 1990, he was elected to the NDFU State Board of Directors. He served for six years and was also treasurer. In 1996, he began a 15- year-career in Jamestown at the Farmers Union headquarters as a development specialist, agricultural strategist and staff executive director. He has led the development of the organization’s farmer-owned restaurants and other innovative ideas.

As president, he serves on the board of directors for the National Farmers Union, and Farmers Union Enterprises. In 2018, he was appointed to USDA’s Grain Inspection Advisory Committee for the Federal Grain Inspection Service.

Mark has been a board chairman for the Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives, located at North Dakota State University, and is currently a board member for First Community Credit Union, Jamestown.

He continues to farm and resides in Jamestown with his wife, Michelle. They have three grown children and a granddaughter.

Mauricio García de Quevedo 

Mauricio García de Quevedo is the Director General of the Spanish Food and Beverage Federation (FIAB – Federación Española de Industrias de la Alimentación y Bebidas).  

He has extensive experience in corporate environments, the associative field and business management, having worked in the field of business management, as well as in the commercial and sales area. He was formerly general director of Kellogg Company and Elizabeth Arden for Spain and Portugal, and also commercial and sales manager in companies such as Colgate, Seagram, Rives Pitman and Carrefour. 

In the associative field, he has been president of the Spanish Association of Cereal Manufacturers (CEREAL) and of the European association (CEEREAL). He has also been a member of Promarca, Autocontrol and the Multisectoral Association of Food and Beverage Companies (AME). 

García de Quevedo has completed an Executive MBA at the IE Business School and has a degree in Economic Sciences from the Complutense University of Madrid. 

Agnes Kalibata, PhD

Agnes Matilda Kalibata is a Rwandan agricultural scientist and policymaker, and president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). She served as Rwanda’s minister of agriculture and animal resources from 2008 to 2014 and began her tenure as president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in 2014.

In 2020, Dr. Kalibata was appointed as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit, a role that involves working with the United Nations system and key partners to provide leadership, guidance and strategic direction towards the 2021 Food Systems Summit. She is responsible for outreach and cooperation with key leaders, including governments, to ensure the Summit serves as a catalytic process within the Decade of Action to improve food systems around the world to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Agreement.

Born in Rwanda to smallholder farmers displaced during the struggle for independence in the early 1960s, Dr. Kalibata grew up at a refugee camp in Uganda, where her parents grew beans and maize, and kept cows. The education of Dr. Kalibata and her siblings was funded through the family’s income from agriculture, ultimately allowing her to study entomology and biochemistry at Makerere University before earning her PhD from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Dr. Kalibata has a distinguished track record as an agricultural scientist, policymaker and thought leader. She has been awarded the Yara Prize, now the Africa Food Prize; an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Liège; an Honorary Doctorate from McGill University; and the Public Welfare Medal of the National Academy of Sciences for her work to drive Africa’s agricultural transformation through modern sciences and effective policy thereby improving livelihoods of smallholder farmers.

 

Charles Miller

As Commercial Director with Solynta Charles is responsible for the global business development strategy and sales network. His in-depth experience in the international seed industry will help bring Solynta’s revolutionary developments in potato breeding technology to the world market.

Before joining Solynta, Charles worked for Chromatin Inc. where he led the companies international business development and sales as Vice President. Prior to working with Chromatin he was a principal at the sorghum company MMR Genetics/Richardson Seeds. After its acquisition by NuFarm, he became the Global Development Manager for the sorghum business. Prior to that, Charles worked for Mars, Inc. for many years where he gained deep experience in trading, logistics, and treasuries.

Currently, Miller is serving on the Board of Directors of the American Seed Trade Association and is Chairman of the plant breeding and innovation committee, as well as vice-chair of the international executive committee. In addition, Charles is a broad member of the African Seed Trading Association.

Vicente Navarro Cortés

Vicente Navarro began his career at BASF Vegetable Seeds in 1985 as a Trial Specialist and has since held many positions in Marketing, Sales, Operations and Strategy. He currently leads the Crop Strategy and Marketing department as Senior Vice-President.

Vicente is active in seed associations and is currently the vice-chair of the ISF Advisory Group – Vegetable and Ornamental. Previously, he was the President of the Vegetable Crop and Ornamental Division of the International Seed Federation (ISF) and a member of the ISF Board of Directors from 2013 to 2021. He played an important role in the creation of the Spanish seed association ANOVE and led the vegetable section for many years.