Ag Symposium

Ag Symposium Logo

Not so long ago, families operated relatively small farms, and a farm of many hundreds of acres was considered a large operation. Today, an ag producer has to be much larger as the economies of scale dictate his or her standard of living; it’s not uncommon to encounter farmers working thousands of acres. The level of sophistication to keep pace has escalated dramatically.

But farming like this also demands smarts. Lots of smarts. Today’s producer is an economist, a broker, a banker, a transportation company and a very, very busy professional. Staying on top of the latest trends and innovations will ensure that he or she is able to keep pace with the rapid change facing the life of the 21st century farmer. At one time, attending conferences and seminars was viewed as a luxury or a nice to-do kind of thing. Not anymore. Professional development is the only way a farmer can keep a finger on the pulse of this dynamic industry and not neglect their business.

South Central College, the most respected name in Agricultural education in southern Minnesota, is embarking on a program to address the needs of the modern ag producer. Taking their cues from other top-flight national conferences, SCC will be hosting its ninth annual Agricultural Symposium in 2017.

Titled “New Tools for New Rules”, the conference will address highly relevant topics facing the modern producer.

And unlike other professional development seminars where the event’s profits go to the promoter, all net proceeds from New Tools will benefit student scholarships and agricultural programs at South Central College as well as the college’s non-profit Foundation. This will provide resources for ag-related scholarships, purchase state-of-the-art lab and instructional equipment, and more.

Vets Attend for Free!

The South Central College North Mankato Campus Foundation is providing veterans with complimentary tickets for a one-time guest attendance to the Ag Symposium. For veterans, the Ag Symposium will provide a special opportunity to learn about agriculture, network with industry partners about career opportunities and employment needs and visit with SCC faculty about their AgSPARK and Farm Business Management programs.

Veterans wishing to sign up for the Ag Symposium as a complimentary guest should call 507-389-7446 to pre-register by FEBRUARY 13 and provide their veteran status card or a dd214 form establishing official status when checking in at the event. Pre-registration would be appreciated, but walk-ins are also welcome.

Symposium Agenda Tuesday, February 14, 2017

8:00 a.m. Registration/Networking/Exhibits
8:30 a.m. Welcome
8:45 a.m. Keynote Address, Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh
Ag and Economic Policy Under
the New Congress and President
10:15 a.m. Break/Exhibits Open
10:45 a.m. Steve Peterson
Sustainability: Friend or Foe?
11:45 a.m. Lunch Break/Exhibits Open
12:45 p.m. Dr. Aaron Doering
From the Farm to the Top of the
World: Growing up on a Farm Prepared for
a Lifetime of Exploration
2:00 p.m. Dr. Michael Gunderson
Drivers of Change in the Ag Economy
2:45 p.m. Break/Exhibits Open
4:00 p.m. Conclusion


Steve Peterson
Photo Steve PetersonSteve Peterson was the director of sourcing sustainability at General Mills, starting in August, 2010 until his retirement in August, 2015. He led External Manufacturing at General Mills from 2005-2010. Peterson was a member of the Integration team creating the combined Supply Chain resulting from the General Mills and Pillsbury merger. Previously, Peterson was Senior Director Ingredient Sourcing at Pillsbury from 1995-2001.

Apart from his corporate career, Peterson has always been in production agriculture. Steve’s father was one of the founders of the MN turkey industry so he grew up working on the farms and mill. Currently, Steve owns and operates Peterson Farms a crop & beef operation located near Paynesville, MN. Over the past several years, Peterson has combined his decades of experience in food & agriculture to lead key industry sustainability organizations. Steve served as Board Chair of Field to Market 2014-2015.

Peterson currently serves as Board Chair of the MN AgGrowth. In late 2015, Steve formed SLP, LLC Consulting advising the food & ag industry. Peterson’s educational background includes a M.S. degree in Agriculture & Applied Economics from the University of Minnesota and a BA degree from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. He serves on several non-profit boards including, Park Nicollet Foundation and the Paynesville Area Community Foundation. Steve resides in Golden Valley, MN with his wife Dr. Mary Wilkens.

Barry L. Flinchbaugn, Ph.D.
Photo Barry Flinchbaugn, Ph.D.
Dr. Barry L. Flinchbaugh is a Professor of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University. A native of York, Pennsylvania, Flinchbaugh holds  B.S. in Animal Science (1964) and M.S. in Agricultural Economics (1967) degrees from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics (1971) from Purdue University.  Flinchbaugh joined Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, in 1971. He teaches a junior-senior level course in agricultural policy and lectures throughout Kansas and the nation on agricultural and economic policy.  Flinchbaugh has received the Outstanding Teacher Award from KSU College of Agriculture students on three different occasions.  From 1984 until 2004, Flinchbaugh served as the Kansas Extension Leader for Agricultural Economics.

Michael A Gunderson, Ph.D.
Photo of Michael Gunderson, Ph.D.Michael Gunderson joined Purdue University as an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics in August 2012. In addition to his responsibilities teaching in Purdue’s undergraduate and graduate classrooms on campus, Mike leads a quantitative methods course in the MS-MBA in Food and Agribusiness Management, a dual-degree, online program for working agribusiness professionals. He is also heavily involved in designing, developing and delivering non-credit, professional development programs through the department’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business. Mike serves as the center’s associate director of research, as well.

After earning his doctorate from Purdue in 2006, Mike spent six years in the Food and Resource Economics Department at the University of Florida (UF). While there, he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in agricultural finance, marketing and strategy. He has won teaching awards from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, the North American Teachers and Colleges of Agriculture, the UF College of Agricultural Life Sciences, and the Southern Agricultural Economics Association.

Mike’s research focuses on understanding the factors that influence the financial success of agribusiness firms. He has published 20 peer-reviewed articles on topics such as service quality in agribusiness input industries, agricultural land values and agribusiness management.

Mike also holds a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Cornell University and a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness, farm and financial management from the University of Illinois.

Aaron Doering, Ph.D.
Photo of Aaron Doering, Ph.D.
Aaron Doering is a professor in learning technologies at the University of Minnesota and the director of the Learning Technologies Media Lab. Aaron holds the Bonnie Westby-Huebner Endowed Chair in Education and Technology, is a laureate of the prestigious humanitarian Tech Awards, and is an Institute on the Environment (IonE) fellow. He is also a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Aaron has delivered education on sustainability and climate change to more than 15 million students by dogsledding and pulling over 5,000 miles throughout the circumpolar Arctic since 2004. One of his newer projects, Earthducation, is investigating the intersection of education and sustainability on all the continents over the course of four years.  Aaron was born and raised in Good Thunder, Minnesota.


Platnum Sponsor

  • CHS

Gold Sponsors

  • AgStar Financial Services
  • CFS - Central Farm Service
  • Christensen Farms
  • Crystal Valley Cooperative
  • Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council

Silver Sponsor

  • Bremer Bank
  • CliftonLarsonAllen