Chris is Head of Fertilizers, leading a global team of 26 dedicated, curious and experienced market analysts and reporters.
He oversees the full portfolio of fertilizer pricing, market outlook and cost services and works closely with the other leaders of the CRU analysis business unit.Prior to this Chris was Head of Phosphates analysis and the fertilizer demand analyst/agricultural economist, having joined CRU in 2014.He has a background in agriculture and holds a BSc in Agricultural Science from the University of Adelaide.
Matt Foley leads The Combine AgTech Incubator and assists in investments, diligence and management of the venture portfolio. Recent incubator alumni of The Combine include Sentinel Fertigation, Bluestem Biosciences, and GrainWeevil. Matt graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a B.S. in Economics and Management as well as studying International Economics at Oxford University. He previously helped found a start up in the ag-tech space and assisted in their capital raise receiving a National Science Foundation SBIR Grant. He served as the American delegate for the United Nations UNLEASH Innovation conference and was the US Regional Coordinator for The Thought for Food Foundation.
Paula Uniacke is Director of Impact at DBL Partners, which she joined in January 2022. Previously, Paula was Senior Program Officer at The Asia Foundation, an international nongovernmental organization, where she worked with nonprofits, tech companies, governmental agencies, and philanthropists to strengthen gender equality, social inclusion, and climate resilience in Asia-Pacific. Her work included developing research on the future of work, managing a multi-country project on women’s climate resilience and access to green jobs, and building capacity on integrating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion approaches into high-impact projects, such as disaster-ready infrastructure. Before The Asia Foundation, Paula worked for several health, sanitation, and social equity nonprofits in India.Paula received a BA in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an MA in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley.
Saurabh Suri is the Managing Partner and Chief
Investment Officer at CerraCap Ventures. He has over 20 years of experience in
the technology industry focused on creating, growing, and sustaining technology
products and solutions in a global operations environment; having lived and
worked in 4 continents.
Prior to co-founding CerraCap, he served as
Vice President, Emerging Solutions at UST Global where he conceived & led
UST's investment arm and launched its Cyber Security subsidiary. Saurabh has
pioneered several models for startup growth and investing centered around
unique value-driven approaches: producing significant returns. Saurabh has also
helped large Fortune 500 organizations establish and run highly successful
innovation units by creating an ecosystem that foster turning ideas into value.
With a specific focus of investing in Cyber
Security, AI, Healthcare and Agri-tech he has several published articles,
whitepapers and talks on the applications of these technologies in the
enterprise space. Saurabh has a degree in Neuro-computation and a research
background in High Performance Computing from the UK. Saurabh has helped mentor
and grow several successful tech companies where he serves as an advisor and
Sam is Executive Director of research for Rabobank, North America, leading the global analysis of the farm inputs space. Prior to joining Rabobank in 2019, he worked for a boutique broker dealer, covering North American agribusiness equities as a sell side analyst. Before moving to the US, Sam worked in project finance within the renewable energy space, primarily in Europe, focusing on the synergy between agriculture and energy transition. Sam has an undergraduate degree from the University of Manchester, a Masters from the European Business school in London and studying for a further postgraduate degree at Imperial College London. Sam has been involved in agriculture all his life, coming from a European farming family.
Zach Hedge is Director, Innovation & Analytics at OCP, a leader in plant nutrition and the world’s leading producer of phosphate-based fertilizers. In this role, Zach steers North American Innovation and Strategic Analysis efforts. He drives innovation efforts from ideation to launch through collaboration with companies ranging from startups to multi-nationals and through partnership with OCP’s Morocco based university, UM6P, and corporate venture capital fund, Bidra Innovations.
Zach brings more than 15 years of experience in strategy, innovation, business development and strategic analysis in the agriculture and biotech industries. Prior to joining OCP, he held various Marketing, Commercial and Strategy roles at GreenVenus LLC (formerly Intrexon Corp), Novozymes and Syngenta focusing on biologicals, renewables and supporting the launch of the industry’s first gene edited lettuce product. Zach holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and a Master of Business Administration.
Hadar brings both an extensive experience in incubation and investments, innovation scouting, global business development, licensing, sales & marketing in international sectors of Foodtech, Water technologies, Sustainable Agriculture and Consumer Health, as well as an in-depth scientific approach.
Hadar is VP External Innovation at ICL group one of the top tier corporates in the field of agriculture, food and engineered materials, she is leading Open innovation practices as well as dedicated to establishing and managing the ICL PLANET Startup Hub which is the vehicle which ICL choose to invest and work with innovative companies, in the domains of Crop nutrition & Food, to synergize with their novelty and to short-cut their way to global play.
Before joining ICL she was Managing Partner in Aquagro Fund which is a dedicated impact investment management firm that seek to generate strong financial returns by deploying capital in game changing technology companies that address critical global needs in the fields of smart agriculture, food and water. Among her responsibilities, she implemented impact investments strategies to the Aquagro Group.
Along her professional path Hadar lead Innovation scouting in areas of AgriFood & Sustainability for the Global Unilever Open Innovation Hub, she was Global Segment Manager and Corporate Open Innovation Leader at Frutarom, a global leader of flavors and fine ingredients for the foodtech industry and the 2nd largest Israeli “exit,” of approximately $7.1 billion.
Hadar holds both an MBA in Business and MSc in Molecular Microbiology & Biotechnology from the Tel Aviv University. On her free time Hadar volunteers as a certified Yoga teacher to contribute to the community, she is married and lives in Tel Aviv.
Ruan Boezaart is the Senior Vice President, Digital Ag Solutions at Yara International ASA, currently based in Berlin, Germany.
He is responsible for the development and commercialisation of digital agricultural solutions globally.
He has 19 years’ experience in business strategy, digital & agricultural technology innovation . The latter half of his career has been focused across the agricultural value chain starting in sub Saharan Africa, expanding globally.
Mr Boezaart has extensive experience in reaching rural, disconnected consumers throughout the emerging world; and addressing optimization and sustainability challenges of more advanced large farmers across the developed world.
He has led the innovation, development and scaling of numerous digital products and business ventures across Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.
Mr Boezaart holds an MBA from the University of Stellenbosch.
Kim Nicholson grew up in the heart of the Midwest in Indiana, graduated with a degree in agronomy from Purdue University, and has dedicated over 30 years to the agribusiness industry. She has proven experience in the areas of strategic planning and innovation, brand development, sales leadership, general management and operations.
Kim joined The Mosaic Company in 2019 to serve on the Global Strategy Team focused on R&D and innovation related to Mosaic products and services.
Before joining Mosaic, Kim founded NFocus Partners a boutique consultancy in 2009. She served both small start-up companies bringing technology, products and services to the industry and established companies looking for creative and pragmatic strategy and solutions to growing their business.
Prior to NFocus, Kim led the consumer products division of Chemtura corporation, where she managed the global enterprise with 900 employees and 5 dedicated manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. During her tenure, she served as a change agent to re-structure and reduce division costs, improve margin and focus resources on the most profitable segments of the enterprise. Prior to her appointment as Group President, she led the US sales team for the BioLab division.
Before joining Chemtura, she held the position of VP of Sales and Marketing of Nutra-Park, Inc., a biotech firm specializing in plant growth regulators. She developed and executed the comprehensive sales and marketing plan for the launch of the company’s product portfolio and designed an innovative “grower to grocer” revenue strategy.
Kim served as Director of Global Supply Chain for BASF, where she managed project groups in Europe, North America and Latin America. She optimized projects and processes in the manufacturing and supply chain organization. She joined BASF as National Sales Manager for the US crop protection division, post acquisition of American Cyanamid, leading the integration and restructuring of the team.
Kim began her career with American Cyanamid’s crop protection division, taking on increased levels of responsibilities for market and brand development, including the launch of two brands and revitalization of two others. She managed the promotions and programs for the company’s 2000+ member AgriCenter™ dealer network in her role as Director of Retail Distribution.
Kuide (“Kwey-duh”) Qin currently works for Verdesian Life Sciences in Cary, North Carolina as the Chief Science Officer. At Verdesian, he leads R&D, regulatory, and new product development for nutrient use efficiency technologies to make farming more efficient, more sustainable and more profitable. Prior to Verdesian, Kuide held scientist and leadership roles at Dow AgroSciences, and at Bayer Crop Science for development and applications of agricultural input products. His background also includes novel technology and IP assessment, product positioning and business development, initiating innovation programs and launching programs to improve return on R&D investment. Kuide graduated from University of Florida with a PhD in Chemical Engineering. He has strong interests and more than 20 years of experience in the research and development in agricultural inputs that contribute to sustainable agriculture and modern farming.
1. The role of plant physiology and soil chemistry in improving nutrient use efficiency
2. Fertilizer innovations in stabilized fertilizers and naturally derived alternatives
3. Novel biofertilizer and its adoption in ag practices
Growing up on a small farm in southwestern Ohio and with a long and successful career in the agronomy and fertilizer industry, Greg has extensive knowledge and experience in helping farmers and growers improve production efficiency and profitability.
Greg has been with Koch Agronomic Services since 2011, beginning as the Director of Agronomy. In that role, Greg built the world-wide agronomy team from a single agronomist to a ten-person team, supporting business in North and South America, Europe, Southern Africa, and Asia to provide education and sales support. Prior to joining Koch, Greg served as a faculty member at both the University of Kentucky and Washington State University.
Progressing to the role of Senior Director of Technology and Innovation in February 2019, Greg was responsible for leading Koch Agronomic Service’s global agronomic research efforts on technologies in the innovation pipeline and on the existing portfolio of enhanced efficiency fertilizer products.
In early 2020, Greg moved to the role of VP, Agronomy and Innovation and since then has led the innovation team, which is focused on growing Koch Agronomic Service’s product portfolio outside of the fertilizer space, as well as leading the global agronomic team.
Greg has been involved with agricultural production and research all over the world, including the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Brazil, Argentina, Guatemala, France, United Kingdom, Ireland, Netherlands, Belarus, Ukraine, Republic of Georgia, Canada and the United States.
Dr. Jacob Jones is the Kobe Steel Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Director and Principal Investigator of the Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS) Center (www.steps-center.org, a U.S. NSF Science and Technology Center), and Director and Principal Investigator of the Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network (www.rtnn.org) at NC State University. Jones’ research involves developing functional materials such as materials for phosphorus sorption, primarily through the use of advanced X-ray and neutron scattering tools. Jones has published over 275 peer-reviewed academic journal articles and delivered well over 200 invited lectures on these topics. Jones is a Fellow of the IEEE Society and the American Ceramic Society and has received numerous awards for his research and education activities, including an NSF CAREER award, a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from President Obama, the NC State College of Engineering George H. Blessis Outstanding Undergraduate Advisor Award, and the 2019 NC State Alumni Association Outstanding Research Award.
Edwini Kessie has a Doctorate Degree in Law from the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia and Masters' Degrees in Law from the University of Toronto, Canada and the University of Brussels, Belgium and a Bachelor's Degree in Law from the University of Ghana. He is admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Courts of England & Wales, New South Wales, Australia and Ghana. He has practised Corporate and Commercial Law in Sydney, Australia and International Trade Law and European Community Law in Brussels, Belgium.Dr. Kessie has been a staff member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) since January 1995. He has worked in different Divisions, including the Council and Trade Negotiations Committee Division, Development Division and the Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation. He is currently the Director of the Agriculture and Commodities Division and Head of the WTO Delivery Unit. Between June 2012 and May 2017, Dr. Kessie took leave from the WTO to become the Chief Trade Adviser of the Pacific Island Countries and Chief Executive Officer of the Office of the Chief Trade Adviser located in Port Vila, Vanuatu. In this capacity, he provided technical advice on a broad range of trade and investment issues to the Pacific Island countries and supported them in the free trade negotiations (PACER Plus) with Australia and New Zealand.
Dr. Kessie has participated in many international conferences on international trade and written a number of articles on international trade issues. His principal areas of interest are regional integration, agriculture, trade and development and dispute settlement.
Peyton Harper is the Director of Retail & Field Sustainability at The Fertilizer Institute (TFI). He assists with developing and directing TFI’s stakeholder outreach programs to promote nutrient stewardship at the field level.
Peyton is a past Tennessee State FFA President and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee at Martin in agricultural business.
Nico Pinkowski is co-founder and CEO of Nitricity, a company electrifying and distributing the production of fertilizer. As it is done today, fertilizer emits as much as 5-7%/yr of total global GHG emissions. Nitricity and Nico have received numerous awards and grants from Stanford, MIT, Caltech, ASU, Forbes 30 under 30, NSF, USDA, and ARPA-e SBIR, and a recent $20M venture finance round. Prior to Nitricity, Nico received a PhD in Mechanical engineering from Stanford.
I started on the fertilizer and agrochemical world 10 years ago joining Mezfer as New Project Director, in 3 years of management of the department production grew 50% by the acquisition and startup of 3 new production lines and one new factory (Biological Products). Also, we created a primary research laboratory where we develop novel ingredients for patent and production/distribution purposes. I’ve been CEO of the company for 7 years, in my management, the company became one of the top 5 companies of our country (Mexico), we expand our business to all Central and South America (including Brazil), getting registrations and direct distribution of our products. This year we started our growth to North America with registrations in 5 states of USA. Our middle term plan is to establish ourselves in both Brazil and USA market as a trustworthy supplier for the farmers.
Novel alternatives to reduce the use of nitrogenous fertilizers without affecting production or yield.
- Macro and micronutrient fertilization to crops.
- Alternatives for high cost and low supply of nitrogen base fertilizers.
Diego Angelo is a native of Argentina living in North Carolina, USA.
He is passionate about how technology can help us tackle some of the most pressing global sustainability issues with focus on food production and the protection of the environment.
Over the last 3 years, he has focused on AgTech startups; initially in C-Suite commercial roles and currently as investor, board advisor and consultant. As the Chief Commercial Officer for Sound Agriculture, he successfully engineered the launch of the first commercial product in the US while closing multiple global deals in the Crop Enhancement and Epigenetics spaces.
In the previous 20 years he held multiple commercial leadership roles at BASF, Bayer and Monsanto in the Crop Protection and Seeds and Traits businesses in Argentina, the US, Germany and France.
Keith Driver has served in leadership positions in several
environmental technology companies over the past 15 years. His experience
includes senior marketing, technical and management roles, focused on emerging
products or technologies. Many of these opportunities have focused on
processing organic feedstocks and marketing the end-products, such as compost
and biochar. Keith holds two degrees in engineering and an MBA, and serves as a
sessional instructor at the University of Calgary.
Michael Borg is a two-time startup founder and two-time first technical hire, leading to one IPO and two acquisitions. As an entrepreneur and software/data engineer, Michael identified the opportunity to link a physical product to its digital supply chain, and leads Index’s vision to leverage biology for improved supply chain traceability.
My journey as an entrepreneur didn’t begin in a classroom - it started on a polluted beach. A post-rainstorm surf rendered me sick and stagnant as a result of wastewater issues and land-management. What began as a bug turned into a persistent pursuit of ways to help solve water and environmental issues. I built a non-profit to map waterways, think Street View for rivers.
I built (and sold) an environmental consultancy to turn adversaries into allies and fund clean water infrastructure. Ultimately, I discovered the potential to turn organic waste products into environmental commercial gold. Upcycle combines the benefits of fertilizer, chemical, and soil amendment products into one, helping soil break free from chemical dependency.
It is truly profit and principle working in harmony.
Hunter Swisher currently serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Phospholutions, Inc. Mr Swisher graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Plant Sciences, where he was recognized as Top Entrepreneur within the University. He sits on the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Advisory Board for the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State University. Mr Swisher founded Phospholutions, Inc. in 2016 to develop and commercialize solutions to improve efficiency of global phosphorus use. Phospholutions, Inc. is headquartered in State College, PA.
Previously at S&P Global, ADM and ED&F Man, Joe Brooker leads Stable's research team in London. Focusing on fundamental market data, commodity reference price assessment and content creation, the research team identifies and analyses key trends within the opaque markets Stable operates in. Stable uses advanced technology to deliver price risk management solutions and liquidity into commodities where no futures markets exist. Stable is currently rolling out across the US, with teams in NYC and Chicago together with offices in London, Singapore and Bermuda. Stable's current focus is on agri-food commodities where no liquid futures markets exist, with a view to expanding rapidly to help other industries.
Gaji Balakaneshan is Chief Operating Officer of Midwestern BioAg, a sustainable ag solutions company and CropLife 100 retailer. He develops and leads strategic and commercial opportunities to drive nutrient use efficiency through holistic assessments of soil health. He first joined the company as Vice President, Finance.
Previously, Balakaneshan worked with CF Industries in multiple roles including Product Manager, UAN; Manager, Corporate Strategy; and Senior Financial Analyst. Prior to that, he was a Financial Analyst at a venture capital-backed renewable chemicals startup and an Equity Research Associate covering chemical and agricultural companies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Tufts University.