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2022 AOF Opening Program

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Secretary's Fireside Chat
A discussion of U.S.-China agricultural trade relations and prospects for the Chinese agriculture market

Secretary Tom Vilsack

Elizabeth Economy
Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce

Elizabeth Economy is Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce (for China). She is on leave from Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, where she is a senior fellow. She was previously the C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director, Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations for more than a decade. She is an award-winning author and internationally renowned expert on Chinese domestic and foreign policy and U.S.-China relations. She is the author of four books, including The World According to China (2021), The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State, (2018), By All Means Necessary (with Michael Levi 2014), and The River Runs Black: the Environmental Challenge to China's Future. (2004, 2010) and her writings have appeared in Foreign Affairs, foreign policy, the New York Times, the Washington post, and the Wall Street Journal. She is a frequent guest on nationally broadcast radio and television, and in 2018, Politico Magazine named her one of "the10 names that matter on China policy." She received her B.A. with honors from Swarthmore College, her A.M. from Stanford university, and her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

Plenary Panel
Growing Market Opportunities for Climate Smart, Sustainable Agriculture Systems

David Allen is currently the Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer for PepsiCo Foods North America (PFNA), which includes Frito-Lay North America (FLNA) and Quaker Foods North America (QFNA). In this role, he is responsible helping PFNA execute its sustainability vision of building a more sustainable food system and reducing environmental impact. The company’s pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) sustainability commitments span three key pillars: Positive Agriculture, Positive Value Chain, and Positive Choices.

David began his career with PepsiCo as an engineer in 1996. Over the next 20 years, he held various leadership roles in both plant manufacturing and shipping & distribution in multiple locations across the US. Prior to his current role leading the sustainability agenda, David served as the Senior Director of Quality and Food Safety for PFNA.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University.

Dr. Glenda Humiston was appointed vice president of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Aug. 3, 2015.

Humiston was born in California and raised on a cattle ranch in Colorado, where she was a member of 4-H. She came to UC ANR with more than 25 years of experience working on public policy development and program implementation supporting sustainability.

She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia, as executive director of a nonprofit organization advocating farmland preservation and value-added agriculture development, and several years as a consultant on environmental and agricultural issues throughout the West.

She served President Clinton as deputy undersecretary for natural resources and environment at USDA from 1998 to 2001. She managed the Sustainable Development Institute at the 2002 World Summit for Sustainable Development in South Africa and the 2006 World Water Forum in Mexico City. In 2009, Humiston was appointed by President Obama to serve as the California State Director at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Rural Development.

Humiston produced a widely acclaimed guidebook on “Access to Capital” and has led efforts to bring rural issues to the forefront of the state’s Economic Summit and policymakers throughout California.

Humiston earned her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in Environmental Science, Policy and Management in 2009 with research focused on U.S. Farm Bill policy. She has a master’s degree in international agricultural development from UC Davis and a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Colorado State University.

Dr. Mike McCloskey is Co-Founder and past CEO of Select Milk Producers, one of the largest dairy cooperatives in the country. He is also Chairman of the Board for Fair Oaks Farms, a popular agritourism attraction located in NW Indiana. Mike, and his wife, Sue, are the Founders of fairlife, a dairy based health and wellness company now owned by The Coca Cola Company. Dr. McCloskey is a partner in Curtis Creek Dairy Farms, which milks 15,000 cows living in free-stall barns in addition to a 12 robot, 800 milking cow barn in NW Indiana. Curtis Creek Dairy Farms harvest their cow manure and use digesters to create electricity that powers their farms and creates biobased CNG to fuel 42 milk trucks, thus displacing 2 million gallons of diesel use annually. Dr. McCloskey also serves as Chair for the Sustainability Initiative for the Innovation Center for US Dairy.

Dr. Elena Rice joined Genus PLC, a world-leading animal genetics company, as Chief Scientific Officer in July 2019. At Genus, Dr. Rice is driving efforts to enhance the effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of animal protein production through a portfolio of R&D projects and pioneering technologies. Prior to joining Genus, she spent 18 years within Monsanto and Bayer, where she was responsible for a pipeline spanning seeds, traits, and biological products (among others) across all phases of development. She has led the development and introduction of new genetic improvement technologies and nurtured a portfolio of gene editing projects.

As CEO of Growth Energy, Emily Skor leads the country’s premiere biofuel trade association, representing over half of the nation’s total ethanol production and tens of thousands of ethanol supporters around the country who work to bring consumers cleaner-burning, healthier, and more affordable fuel choices at the pump.

Since joining Growth Energy, Skor has led initiatives to grow the retail footprint for higher biofuel blends across the U.S. – which has expanded across 30 states under her leadership.

In 2016, Skor launched the organization’s first consumer education initiative—Get Biofuel—to redefine ethanol as a cleaner, more affordable fuel choice, which has helped lead to over 25 billion miles driven by Americans on higher ethanol blended fuel.

In 2018, Growth Energy executed a successful public affairs campaign which secured a historic win in the granting of year-round sales of E15—the highest priority for the industry and rural America for over a decade.

Most recently, Skor’s leadership in promoting biofuels’ emissions reduction benefits has repositioned ethanol as a critical tool in decarbonizing the transportation sector and reaching net-zero climate goals by 2050.

Growth Energy’s membership has grown under her leadership to a total of 92 plant producers and 91 innovative businesses that support biofuel production, including the largest ethanol producers in the country – POET, ADM, Marquis Energy and The Andersons.

Prior to joining Growth Energy, Skor served as Vice President of Communications for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) and as the Executive Director of the CHPA Educational Foundation. Before joining CHPA, Skor served as senior vice president at a nationally recognized crisis management firm.

Skor graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wellesley College and is a trustee of Aidan Montessori School. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and two children.

Sarah Mock is a freelance agriculture writer and researcher, author of Farm (and Other F Words), and host of the 2021 podcast AEI Presents Corn Saves America, which explores agriculture's environmental solutions from ethanol to carbon markets.