Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thank you to all the speakers, panelists and sponsors for making the 35th Annual Rural Legislative Forum a big success! A special thanks to those who attended. There were great conversations about the key issues facing the rural economy and potential solutions. Hope to see you in December!

About the Speakers

Keynote Joe Mahon, Director, Regional Outreach, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Joe Mahon is a regional outreach director at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Prior to that, he served as a regional economist and as a staff writer and analyst for Minneapolis Fed publications the Region and fedgazette. Mahon’s primary responsibilities involve tracking several sectors of the Ninth District economy—an area that covers Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Montana and portions of Wisconsin and Michigan—for the Fed. Sectors he follows closely include agriculture, manufacturing, energy and mining. He holds degrees in economics and journalism from the University of Minnesota.

Minnesota Economic Conditions February 2018

Ag Credit Survey

Paul Connors, Consul General of Canada in Minneapolis, United States

Paul Connors is a career Foreign Service Officer specializing in economic policy with a focus on natural resources. He has been posted to Switzerland, Germany, Mexico and twice to Washington D.C. At Headquarters, he has served in the Nuclear Policy Division, including as Canada’s representative on the G-7 Nuclear Safety Working Group, and the G-8 Summit Division. In 2016, Mr. Connors was appointed as Consul to Minneapolis to lead the foreign policy and public affairs team covering these aspects of Canada’s relations with Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. In November 2017, Mr. Connors became Consul General ad interim.

Minnesota State Fact Sheet 2018

Trade Free Fair Balanced

Minnesota-Canada Agricultural Trade

Jay Johnson, CEO Revol Greens

Jay grew up working the summers on a dairy farm near Albert Lea, before graduating from Mankato State University with degrees in Business Management, Industrial Relations and Agricultural Economics.

In 1989 he founded Bushel Boy Farms in Owatonna MN, which grows, and markets greenhouse grown tomatoes to retail food stores and restaurants in the Midwest, which he was President of till 2011.

Today Jay is married and has three children and enjoys his time off spending it outside on all types of skis. In addition, he is President and Partner of Revol Greens of Medford MN. They are growing and marketing locally grown greenhouse lettuce and spinach to retail within 200 miles.

James Curren, Founder of Java Cycle

James Curren is founder and CEO of JavaCycle – a Minnesota company that makes and markets organic fertilizers from recycled coffee chaff and other organic ingredients.  James left a career in commodities to start an organic coffee company.  During this time he became aware of how much waste coffee production generates and started JavaCycle to creatively repurpose that waste in useful consumer products.  One of these coffee roasting by-products is chaff – a nitrogen rich husk that blows off during the roasting process.  James worked with AURI and the UMN to develop a line of organic fertilizers that is currently being sold in over ten states in the mid west and will be expanding to a nationwide sales program for 2019.

Todd Golly, Co-Founder of AKER

Todd Golly is an owner-operator of Golly Farms, a 6,000-acre corn and soybean farm located near Winnebago, MN.  Todd graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering.  Since then he has been applying his education and technology experience on his family farm for over 25 years. Todd is also the co-founder and current Chief Operating Officer of the agtech start-up Aker Technologies, Inc.  Aker is a software and services company that uses proprietary software and hardware to monitor crop stresses, such as insects and diseases, under the canopy of the crop.  Aker software and data solutions are used by thousands of users, from over 20 countries, ranging from individual growers to ag retailers to large chemical suppliers. 

Senator Bill Weber, Chair, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development and Housing Policy

Senator Weber was raised on a farm in Rock County, Minnesota.  He is a graduate of Luverne High School and Nettleton Business College, where he earned his degree in Professional Accounting in 1976.

Senator Weber is the president and owner of Jensen Management Service, Inc., a real estate appraisal, brokerage, management and consulting firm.

From 1984 to 1992, Senator Weber served as a member of the Luverne City Council.  He was elected Mayor of Luverne in 1992 and served until 2001.

On November 6, 2012, Senator Weber was elected to serve as Senator for Minnesota Senate District 22.  He was officially sworn in on Tuesday, January 8 in St. Paul.

Representative Rod Hamilton, Chair, House Committee on Agriculture Finance

Click here for more information about Representative Rod Hamilton.

Representative Paul Anderson, Chair, House Committee on Agriculture Policy

Click here for more information about Representative Paul Anderson.

Representative Jeanne Poppe, DFL Lead, House Committee on Agriculture Finance

Click here for more information about Representative Jeanne Poppe.

Amber Hanson Glaeser, Policy Director, Minnesota Farm Bureau

Amber Hanson Glaeser is the Director of Public Policy for Minnesota Farm Bureau, primarily working on federal issues relating to agriculture and rural America. Prior to her time at Farm Bureau, she worked at AgriBank, FCB as the Government Affairs Specialist.  

After growing up on a corn and soybean farm in Mower County, Amber attended Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Communication Studies. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Public Policy and Administration at Northwestern University and was a member of Class VIII of the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership program.  

Amber resides in Lakeville with her husband, Scott. 

Dan Dorman, Executive Director, Greater Minnesota Partnership

Executive Director Dan Dorman joined the GMNP staff in 2013. Prior to his work with the Partnership, Dorman was executive director of the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency from 2007 until August 2013. In addition, Dorman served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1998 until 2006.  

In his final term, Dorman was the chair of the Capital Investment or Bonding Committee. He also served as vice-chairman of Jobs and Economic Development Finance Committee and was a co-author of the JOBZ legislation. Dorman was recognized five times by the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities for his work on behalf of Greater Minnesota, including receiving their Legacy Award when he chose not to run for re-election in 2006. 

During his tenure in office, Dorman was able to get the Albert Lea local option sales tax passed and secured funding for the cleanup of the closed landfill at Edgewater Park, funding for the Blazing Star Bike Trail, a grant to the City of Albert Lea for library improvements, a $500,000 grant to Freeborn County for County Road 46, and a grant to Freeman Township for improvements to the road into the Exol development park. 

Dorman, an Albert Lea native, is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in political science.  He is currently a member of the boards of the Riverland Community College Foundation and the Albert Lea Community Foundation. 

Dorman is a co-owner of Hanson Tire Service in Albert Lea and was an active manager of the store since 1988. He now has very limited day-to-day responsibility and devotes his energy to the Partnership. 

2018 Rural Legislative Forum Sponsors: