Conference Speakers and Bios

Cyndi Young Square

Cyndi Young-Puyear

Director, Brownfield & Ag Operations for Learfield IMG College

Presentation Topic: The Importance of Associations

During her farm broadcast tenure, Cyndi worked for Oklahoma Agrinet and was Farm Director for WTAX Springfield, Illinois. She joined Brownfield as Regional Farm Director in 1998, and in October of 2001, was promoted to Director of Brownfield and Ag Operations.

Cyndi has traveled extensively throughout the United States and to 16 different countries covering agriculture for Midwestern farmers and ranchers. Her work has earned her dozens of honors from agriculture groups and associations. A member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting for nearly 35 years, Cyndi was recognized as Farm Broadcaster of the Year for the nation in 1997 and received the coveted Oscar in Agriculture in 2009.

Cyndi grew up on a 6th generation family grain and livestock farm in west central Illinois. She and her husband own Rocking P Ranch near Jamestown, Missouri where they raise Simmental cattle and have a branded beef business.

In addition to managing the largest ag radio network in the country, Cyndi produces a daily radio commentary program and pens a popular weekly column in both Illinois AgriNews and Indiana AgriNews.

Don Nikodim

Don Nikodim

Executive Director, Missouri Pork Association

Presentation Topic: The Importance of Commodity Groups

Don Nikodim has served as Executive Director of the Missouri Pork Association since
December 1983. In this position he provided oversight for fund raising and construction
of the new office facilities in 1985 and the Pork Place restaurant at the Missouri State
Fair in 2009. In addition to traditional programs of promotion, research and consumer
information, a major focus has been placed on leadership, youth activities and producer
education. He serves as a registered lobbyist at the state level to represent the Missouri
Pork industry on legislative and regulatory issues. He has served on numerous
committees and task forces for the National Pork Producers Council, National Pork
Board, US Meat Export Federation, University of Missouri, Missouri Department of
Agriculture, and related agencies.

Previously, he has worked as an Extension Farm Management Specialist at the University
of Missouri, Executive Secretary for the Poland China Record Association, Inc. and as a
Vocational Agriculture Instructor for the Liberty and Odessa school districts.

Don and his wife Betty live near Hallsville, MO and his primary hobby is collecting and
restoring old farm tractors.

Andy Huston Square

Andy Huston

CEO, American Hemp Research

Presentation Topic: 2020 Growing Experiences

Andy is a 6th generation farmer and founder of American Hemp Research. Andy and his brother Frank were one of the first legal hemp growers in Illinois. American Hemp Research works with universities and other groups to research high CBD hemp varieties and their success in Illinois. They are working to provide stable hemp seed and resources to those interested in growing hemp. Andy has been featured on numerous media outlets for his efforts in the hemp industry and has spoken at numerous industry events.

Jeff Limbaugh Square

Jeff Limbaugh

Lifelong Farmer

Presentation Topic: Hemp Fiber Production

Jeff is a lifelong agricultural professional and owner/operator of multiple successful agri-business operations based in the Missouri Bootheel. Jeff has spent 40+ years building a diversified portfolio of agricultural related businesses. Through these operations Jeff has created a process to take large corporation’s waste streams and convert them into sustainable fertilizer which improves regional farm yields. He has spent years developing this sustainable method to help move corporations towards a land-fill free process and improve farmland production to feed a growing population.

Additionally, Jeff operates a cattle feeding operation, farms vast acreage, and runs a company that uses a patented process to convert imported coconut shells into organic kitty litter. Most recently Jeff has established himself as a thought leader in the young, Missouri hemp industry by developing the protocols necessary to successfully raise industrial hemp throughout the state.

Lincoln University Logo

David Middleton, Dr. Babu Valliyodan, & Eleazar Gonzalez Ph.D.

Lincoln University Hemp Institute

Presentation Topic: Updates on Research, Workshops, Field Days, and More

Lincoln University Hemp Institute provides several services to hemp producers, including screening industrial hemp varieties for agronomic and value-added characteristics, developing crop management practices, providing standard operating procedures for hemp farmers, offering certification courses in hemp production & other helpful workshops and field days, and much more.

Dr. Gonzalez is an Assistant Professor and State Extension Specialist in Agriculture Economics and marketing at Lincoln University. His formal education includes an interdisciplinary background in agriculture, economics, and sociology. Since 2011, he has been developing and implementing agricultural programs among limited resource producers in Missouri supported by multiple funding agencies. His educational programs’ main goal with farmers focuses on improving sustainable production methods, community involvement, and agribusiness capacity. Dr. Gonzalez’s active developing-capacity programs receive funds from the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA-USDA). At Lincoln University, he directly collaborates with other community-support agriculture initiatives related to food security, food safety, and the Lincoln University Hemp Institute by delivering educational webinars and on-site workshops focused on previous evaluation assessments.

Brian Kurz & Corey Plank

Native Prairie Research Hemp Subdivision, LLC

Presentation Topic: 2020 Autoflower and Photoperiod Trials

Native Prairie Research Hemp Subdivision exists to give growers interested in the hemp industry the opportunity to learn about hemp production hands-on without having to supply all of the machinery and labor. They provide license consulting, seeds / clones, planting, crop maintenance, harvesting, and drying of the crop. They work with CBD extractors to create both wholesale and retail products from the crop grown. The project started in the 2020 growing season and will be offering 1/4th and 1/8th acre plots in the 2021 growing season.

Tim Lawrence

Tim Lawrence

Xtracts High Performance Botanicals

Presentation Topics: Quality Assurance & Product Handling, Cryptocurrency and the Ag Industry, Discussion with End Buyers

Ken Anderson

Ken Anderson

Legacy Hemp

Presentation Topic: Discussion with End Buyers (Grain and Fiber)

Ken Anderson is a pioneer in the rebirth of the American hemp industry. He was successful in legally importing hemp planting seed to enable Kentucky’s first hemp crop in more than six decades. Ken was also the first legal import into the United States under 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill. In doing so he has paved the way for many others and has brought his knowledge of the legal importation process to multiple states.

Ken not only works with state agriculture departments, he also works with the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) to bring seed standards to farmers and the industries they serve. And the forward thinking politicians who help bring hemp farming to their states and soon nationwide. Ken is working with all agencies to bring the protection of intellectual property to all states who are becoming involved with hemp farming. Until hemp is covered by the U.S PVP, IP protection must be done at the state level.

John Read

John Read

Whitefield Hemp

Presentation Topics: Hempsurance 2021 Crop Insurance Options, Discussion with End Buyers (Grain and Fiber)

Connor Choice
David Cable

Connor Choice and David Cable


Presentation Topic: Discussion with End Buyers

Hempire was founded by lifelong friends and Kansas City area locals, Connor Choice and David Cable to service the needs of the hemp industry at large throughout the state of Missouri. We believe hemp can serve as a low-cost, high-quality substitute for numerous construction, manufacturing, and consumer products. Most importantly, industrial hemp offers a smaller carbon footprint and unrivaled sustainability compared to traditional products made from wood, cotton, or petroleum. We want to make Missouri the centerpiece for this enormous opportunity for economic growth.

Connor has been a ‘boots on the ground’ leader across several industries, helping to manage the creation and launch of several businesses. Working for 3 years helping to build Colorado’s legal cannabis market, Connor brings in knowledge of the work necessary to help develop a business in a newly formed market under rigorous scrutiny. His degree work in Botany and Criminal Justice from the University of South East Missouri helped him lend a scientific and practical approach to building the foundations for our business.  A former Eagle Scout, Connor has been an avid outdoorsman since childhood. Spending much of his time on his hobbies of ancient history, woodworking, and spoiling his dog Annie. A man who has never met a stranger.

David brings a variety of management experience including front-line and senior management, from restaurants to corporate finance. With a strong analytical mindset, David has helped scale businesses at nearly every level, whether opening a new restaurant or profitably growing a call center team by 10x. David graduated with honors from Park University with a degree in Economics. He has an entrepreneurial spirit and a penchant for personal finance & finance education. Married to his high school sweetheart since 2017, he is an avid fan of Sporting KC and when not cheering them on, spends his free time with a ‘menagerie’ of pets, puzzling, and cooking.

Greg Wilson


Presentation Topic: Discussion with End Buyers (Fiber)

Greg Wilson has spent his career as an engineer in the building materials industry. Educated at both Frostburg and Harvard, Greg has worked in China, Europe, Australia, and North America developing new products and establishing the factories to convert plant fiber into wood composites to replace solid wood. An outdoor enthusiast and serial entrepreneur focusing on environmentally sustainable projects. HempWood has been Greg’s homecoming to reaching his dream of “Made in USA” being stamped on his products! The idea of using hemp as a sustainable wood substitute came to Greg while he was working for a bamboo flooring company years ago. Fibonacci, LLC is an Ag Tech company operating in the eco-friendly building materials space. By using the algorithm of a tree, HempWood has reverse engineered the natural growth cycle of plant-based materials and utilized bio-mimicry to transform hemp fibers and protein based bonding agents into a viable wood substitute that grows 100 times faster and is 20% stronger than oak.

Jamie Campbell

Jamie Campbell Petty

Midwest Hemp Council

Presentation Topic: Hemp Industry Roundtable, One Voice for Ag Reception

Jamie Campbell Petty built her career as a successful litigation paralegal that continued to evolve over 20 years, while also volunteering in various service roles to support youth, as well as her own military community. Jamie now resides on a small, but ever-expanding farm in rural Indiana, where she and her husband are learning to depend upon smaller living systems.

Jamie’s lifelong appreciation for agriculture shows in her countless victories for industrial hemp in Indiana and nationally. Coupled with her desire to serve, Jamie founded the Indiana Hemp Industries Association (INHIA) in 2014 and assembled a strong team of volunteers. INHIA became the recognized leader in education and networking.

In 2018, Jamie teamed with long time hemp advisor, Alan Kimbell and Attorney Justin Swanson to form Midwest Hemp Council. Through tireless effort, Midwest Hemp Council has successfully lobbied for Indiana’s hemp legislation, contribute to regulatory development and continues to support efforts to remove unnecessary barriers for Hoosier farmers. Jamie has fostered partnerships with Midwest agriculture leaders, while building out the Midwest Hemp Council that interconnects businesses, organizations and community outreach. Midwest Hemp Council continues to educate and communicate, while focusing on building a strong economy in Indiana and beyond.

Along with serving as Executive Director for the Midwest Hemp Council, Jamie is a Policy Specialist at Bose Public Affairs Group. She was named “100 People to Know in Hemp” by Hemp Connoisseur Magazine 2018. Jamie currently serves on the Board of Directors for Friends of Hemp and the US Hemp Growers Association.

Blain Becktold

IHemp Michigan

Presentation Topic: Hemp Industry Roundtable, One Voice for Ag Reception

Blain is a founding member and President of iHemp Michigan which is a member-based organization representing hemp farmers, seed cultivators, processors, manufacturers and hemp businesses statewide. Their members are engaged in defining industrial hemp’s path to success, from seed to sale and beyond. We are committed to empowering hemp farmers, fueling industry leaders, and educating consumers to ensure hemp flourishes in the Midwest. They work to promote responsible and fair regulation, provide grower education, and enable full access to the evolving marketplace. iHemp Michigan advocates for wellness in people and the planet through hemp…and it begins with the farmer.



Rachel Berry

Illinois Hemp Growers Association

Presentation Topic: Hemp Industry Roundtable, One Voice for Ag Reception

Rachel Berry is the founder and CEO of the Illinois Hemp Growers Association, a women-led benefit corporation and grassroots organization representing over 700 members.  Rachel is a first-generation regenerative farmer raising poultry, growing heirloom vegetables, native medicinal plants, and industrial hemp with her family on their 13 acre homestead. Her work is dedicated to building the resources and relationships necessary to grow a sustainable and equitable Illinois hemp industry.  Rachel has experience in many areas of the hemp industry including Secretary on the board of directors for the U.S. Hemp Building Association, client relations / superintendent on a 25,000 plant startup grow in 2019 and has participated frequently as a speaker/panelist at Illinois Extension, Farm Bureau, SBDC, and many other hemp industry and community events.  In addition to being the CEO of a grassroots hemp organization and regenerative farmer, Rachel is a community organizer, educator and dedicated volunteer. She serves on the board of directors for the Illinois Stewardship Alliance. She believes local food matters and that hemp should be a part of local food systems in the future. Rachel is also experienced in hemp-lime construction.



Hunter Buffington

Hunter Buffington

Hemp Feed Coalition

Presentation Topic: Hemp Industry Roundtable, One Voice for Ag Reception

Hunter Buffington is the Executive Director of the Hemp Feed Coalition, a diverse set of stakeholders from across the United States and Canada. The Coalition will play a historic role in the recognition of Hemp as animal feed and creates an opportunity to work across other industries to create new markets and gain FDA approval.  As the Executive Director, Hunter utilizes her experience working with regulators, policy makers, nonprofits and businesses to implement strategies for developing our emerging hemp industry. “I believe by celebrating enterprise, supporting our farmers, capitalizing relationships and working together we can change the world.”

Zachary Maxwell

Texas Hemp Growers Association

Presentation Topic: Hemp Industry Roundtable, One Voice for Ag Reception

Texas native Zachary Maxwell is the founder and president of Texas Hemp Growers, which represents almost 250 industry professionals across the hemp supply chain. Texas Hemp Growers has educated over 1,000 Texas farmers on hemp cultivation, and continues to set the bar for education and advocacy. In its first year, Texas Hemp Growers raised and donated $16,000 toward a lawsuit to challenge an unconstitutional smokable hemp ban. With state and federal regulators grinding out rules, Texas Hemp Growers continues to advocate for common-sense regulations, lesser fees, and more access.



Melissa Nelson-Baldwin

South Bend Industrial Hemp

Presentation Topic: Grain & Fiber Production, Hemp Industry Roundtable, One Voice for Ag Reception