(803) 252-7128 afoa@fatsandoils.org

2024 speakers

Wednesday Speakers

Mark Borrett

Mark Borrett

Partner - LaSalle Group, LLC

Mark Borrett is a Partner at LaSalle Group, LLC, a Chicago based brokerage group in the Agricultural Futures Markets. Mark started his career on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade exchanging as a broker and floor based trader. Mark has an agricultural and finance background, serving grain processors, shippers and veg oil traders. In total, Mark has 39 years of experience in the fats and oils industry.

Mark will be this year’s Vegetable Oils speaker. His topic will be “Policy and Politics,” a fresh look at changing policy for vegetable oil and feedstock markets as we move into the new marketing year. His presentation will include:
– a review of biofuel policy
– changes due for 2025 as a result of tax credits and mandates in biofuel
– an overview of the agricultural markets, specifically soy oil, palm oil, and canola oil
– a generalized view on prices as we move into 2025, and possible bias for Biden versus Trump EPA

The Vegetable Oils Presentation will take place on Wednesday, October 16 at 9:50AM.

Dr. Dave Kohl

Dr. Dave Kohl

Professor Emeritus - Virginia Tech

This year’s Wednesday Keynote speaker is Dr. David Kohl, an academic Hall of Famer in the College of Agriculture at Viriginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.  Kohl has keen insight into the agriculture industry gained through extensive travel, research, and involvement in the ag business.  He has traveled over 10 million miles; conducted more than 7,000 presentations; and published more than 2,500 articles in his career.  Dr. Kohl’s wisdom and engagement with all levels of the industry provide a unique perspective into future trends.

Dr. Kohl will be presenting on Domestic and Global Economic Mega Trends.  Risk and opportunities in the agricultural industry are often aligned with economic and business trends in the U.S. and abroad related to geopolitics, military actions, export market volatility, and consumer and societal issues. Some trends are short term while others are disruptors that impact the industry for a longer duration. Central banks’ actions will impact profitability and the balance sheet as interest rates remain volatile.  Dr. Kohl has decades of experience in navigating these trends as an educator and agricultural business owner.

The Wednesday Keynote Presentation will take place at 12PM.

Mike McCartan

Mike McCartan

Category Manager for Land Animal Products - Alphia

This year’s Rendered Animal Proteins Presentation will be given by Mike McCartan, Category Manager for Land Animal Products at Alphia, one of the largest co-manufacturing pet food companies in North America.

Mike has been trading and buying agricultural products for the past 20 years.  He began his career as a grain trader and eventually migrated over to feed ingredients and animal proteins/fats and oils.  Mike has played a crucial role in the development and understanding of animal proteins in an international and domestic setting.  He developed trade lanes throughout Southeast Asia and South America along with assisting in the further application of animal proteins throughout the United States.  Mike has experience working with producers throughout the U.S. and abroad along with end users spanning feed, energy, fertilizer, and pet food.

At the 2024 Annual Meeting, Mike will share his knowledge both from trading and procurement in discussing animal proteins in the pet food sector, their current applications, and what the future may bring as the pet food industry continues to grow!

The Rendered Animal Proteins Presentation will take place on Wednesday, October 16 at 8:30 AM.

Ryan Standard

Ryan Standard

Managing Editor - Fastmarkets/The Jacobsen

Ryan Standard graduated from Monmouth College, a small liberal arts college in Western Illinois, in 2003 with a degree in English Literature and History while maintaining a parallel track in economics. With a background in sales and logistics, Ryan joined The Jacobsen in 2007 as an analyst for the Animal Fats and Feed bulletins and as a contributor to the biodiesel bulletin.

Ryan has more than 15 years of experience analyzing the animal fats, proteins, renewable fuels and broader commodity markets. He is currently the managing editor for the Americas Agriculture team for Fastmarkets, a price reporting agency that specializes in news, analysis and pricing in the agriculture, renewable energy, metals and forestry product markets. Ryan will be one of three panelists on this year’s Rendered Animal Fats Panel.

The Rendered Animal Fats Panel will take place on Wednesday, October 16 at 8:55 AM.  The panel will be themed “Headwinds and Tailwinds in Animal Fat Production: Current Year and Year Ahead.” This session will explore the challenges and opportunities facing the animal fat production industry, with insights on North America, Australia, and South America.

Trent Weatherly

Trent Weatherly

Director of Business Development - JST Global

Most recently Trent developed a procurement program for a start up renewables plant in Great Falls, Montana, for Calumet, known as Montana Renewables.  While at Montana Renewables, Trent held the responsibility for all purchases of feedstock and all logistics related to inbound products.  Trent recently accepted the position of Director of Business Development at JST Global.  Trent is known to be decisive and resilient, bringing an “old school” approach to trading and excelling in challenging scenarios. Trent will serve as the moderator for this year’s Rendered Animal Fats Panel.

The Rendered Animal Fats Panel will take place on Wednesday, October 16 at 8:55 AM.  The panel will be themed “Headwinds and Tailwinds in Animal Fat Production: Current Year and Year Ahead.” This session will explore the challenges and opportunities facing the animal fat production industry, with insights on North America, Australia, and South America.

Thursday Speakers

Tara Billingsley

Tara Billingsley

Partner - Massie & Partners, LLC

Tara Billingsley has been helping shape the U.S. energy and environmental agenda for twenty years, serving in senior positions in the White House, the Department of Energy, and on Capitol Hill.  She now uses that wealth of government experience to guide Massie Partners’ clients through the ins and outs of Washington policy making.  Before joining Massie Partners, Tara served in the White House as Special Assistant to the President, where she was President Obama’s interface with Congress on energy, the environment, and related issues. Her  return to the Executive Branch followed a decade of work in the Senate, where she was a Senior Professional Staff Member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. During this time, she was a key negotiator of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Tara has a strong technical background in the energy field, having served as an energy economist in the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, and as the energy intelligence briefer to two Secretaries of Energy and the Executive Office of the President (2003-2006). She also enjoyed several semesters of teaching a graduate-level Energy Security course in George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. She is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies and the American University’s School of International Service, and has lived in Israel, the United Kingdom, Italy, and France.  Tara now lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and daughter.

Tara will participate on the Biofuels Panel on October 17 at 3:30PM.

Kurt Kovarik

Kurt Kovarik

Vice President, Federal Affairs - Clean Fuels Alliance America

Kurt serves as Vice President, Federal Affairs for Clean Fuels Alliance America, leading members in advocating federal policies that support the industry’s growth. Since joining Clean Fuels Alliance America, Kurt has helped the industry secure a long-term extension of the biodiesel tax incentive, preserve important protections against unfair international trade and ensure the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard program. Kurt continues to organize the industry’s advocacy for equitable tax, infrastructure and environmental policies.

Prior to joining Clean Fuels Alliance America, Kurt worked for more than 20 years in the office of Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), leading efforts on the Renewable Fuel Standard, the biodiesel tax incentive and increased use of clean fuels. An Iowa native, Kurt graduated from Luther College with a degree in political science.  Kurt will be one of three panelists on this year’s Biofuels Panel.

The Biofuels Panel will take place on Thursday, October 17 at 3:30PM.

Anthony Reed

Anthony Reed

Partner - FGS Global

Anthony Reed advises a diverse portfolio of clients in their public affairs efforts across the food, agriculture, energy and sustainability policy landscape. Anthony’s work spans the FGS Global Energy & Sustainability and Food & Agriculture teams.

Anthony joined FGS Global following 14 years on the government relations team at Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), where he most recently served as the Interim Head of Global Government Relations. In this capacity, he handled issues spanning food, agriculture, energy, environment, climate change, sustainability, biotechnology and biofuels. His work included leading coalition efforts to create and extend clean energy tax incentives, negotiating high-level biofuel regulatory changes, serving as an expert witness on biotechnology policy in related litigation, and representing ADM’s interests in key trade associations in the energy, biofuels, biotech, and agriculture spaces.

Reed also served as the Deputy Associate Administrator for Congressional Relations at the Environmental Protection Agency where he focused on EPA’s Offices of Air and Radiation, Enforcement and Compliance, and Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

Prior to his time at the EPA, he worked on Capitol Hill for 11 years as Chief of Staff and Legislative Director, for then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and legislative assistant for Representative Tom Latham (R-IA).

Anthony holds BA degrees in Economics and Political Science from the University of Iowa. He lives in Arlington, VA, with his wife and two boys.  Anthony will be one of the panelists on the Biofuels Discussion Panel.

The Biofuels Discussion Panel will take place on Thursday, October 17 at 3:30 PM.

Jim Wiesemeyer

Jim Wiesemeyer

Pro Farmer / Farm Journal / Washington Policy Analyst

From his office near Washington, DC, Jim Wiesemeyer contributes daily to Pro Farmer’s online website at FarmJournalPro.com, providing members with the latest information on agricultural policy and trade developments. He also is a twice-weekly participant in FarmJournal’s Agri-Talk radio program and serves as a Washington analyst for Pro Farmer.

Since 1978, Mr. Wiesemeyer has frequently reported on and interviewed senior government officials, including Presidents Reagan and Carter, as well as USDA Secretaries since Earl Butz. He has traveled extensively in his assignments and is a frequent speaker on farm policy and trade issues. Wiesemeyer rejoined Pro Farmer in June this year, after serving as their Washington consultant for 19 years while at Informa Economics, and before that an employee of Pro Farmer, then owned by Oster Communications. Mr. Wiesemeyer also is one of the writers for the Agriculture Letter, formerly the Kiplinger Ag Letter, now owned by Farm Journal Media. Mr. Wiesemeyer also was the Washington bureau chief for Futures World News (FWN), formerly owned by Oster Communications. Prior to Pro Farmer, he was a Washington editor with Doane’s Agricultural Report and Washington editor and managing editor of the Washington Farmletter.  Jim will be Thursday’s Keynote Speaker.

Jim will provide an Agricultural Policy Update: How The Federal Election Results Will Impact Ag.  Jim has covered elections ever since the Carter/Reagan election in 1980 when he interviewed both candidates. Since that election, he looks at key topics that help predict votes for the White House, Senate and House contests and what the outcomes will mean for the economy and ag policy issues including: farm and food, trade, energy climate change, biofuels, and taxes.

The Thursday Keynote Presentation will take place at 12:15 PM.