Featured Speakers

Rosanna Bauman

Rosanna Bauman

Rosanna Bauman is a farmer and serial ag entrepreneur from Garnett. Together with her parents and five siblings, Bauman has developed businesses that expand opportunities for local food production in eastern Kansas through USDA-inspected poultry and meat processing facilities and a non-GMO feed hub. During Friday’s lunch banquet, Bauman will reflect on how a family without an agricultural background has had a significant impact on expanded opportunities for diversified, family farms and direct marketers.

Robert Gipe

Robert Gipe

Robert Gipe is a novelist/playwright and serves as the director of the Appalachian Program at Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College in Cumberland, Kentucky. For more than 25 years, he has helped connect communities to the culture of their region. Gipe will share his insights on rural revitalization and connection through arts and culture during Friday’s convention banquet.

Duane Goossen

Duane Goossen

Duane Goossen is the Kansas Center for Economic Growth’s Senior Fellow. Before joining the Center, Duane was a seven-term member of the Kansas House of Representatives and a budget director for 12 years under three governors. Goossen will provide an update on the Kansas State Budget on Thursday evening.

EPA Region 7 Administrator Mark Hague

Mark Hague

Mark Hague serves as the Administrator for Region 7, which consists of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and nine tribal nations. He is responsible for overseeing the overall operations within the region, and the implementation of federal environmental rules and regulations. As Regional Administrator, Hague serves as a liaison with the public, elected officials, organizations, and others. Hague has 35 years of experience with EPA. Hague has served Region 7 in a variety of leadership roles, which have included Deputy Regional Administrator (DRA), Director of the Enforcement Coordination Office (ECO), as well as Acting Assistant Regional Administrator for the Office of Policy and Management.


Ron Brown

Ron Brown is a farmer in Bourbon County near Fort Scott, Kansas. He has been producing for the Fort Scott Farmers Market for 15 years and has farmed his entire life. His production includes strawberries, blackberries, potatoes, tomatoes, and many other vegetables. His primary crop is pumpkins and fall decorations. He was appointed chairman of the Farm to Food Task force by Gov. Sam Brownback in August 2014. He [...]

Patty Clark

Patty Clark currently serves as USDA Rural Development State Director in Kansas. She oversees five field offices and the state office located in Topeka, Kansas. Rural Development administers and manages more than 40 housing, business, and community infrastructure and community facility programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities. Prior to her current appointment, Clark served as a Division Director for Ag Marketing and Community Development in the Kansas Department [...]

Bill Dorsett

Bill Dorsett began installing solar thermal systems with the Carter administration and with the collapse of that era’s tax credits, switched to passive attached solar greenhouses. With the construction of Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Station, he began installing remote photovoltaic pumping and power supplies. In 2005 he installed one of the first string inverter grid-connected system in Kansas. The advent of micro-inverters opened the field to safe installation to [...]

Thomas Driscoll

Tom Driscoll works on environmental, conservation, energy and climate issues on behalf of family farmers with National Farmers Union. Before joining NFU, he contributed several articles to the online news outletAgri-Pulse and submitted a successful USDA Local Food Promotion Program grant application for Grow Youngstown. He was also a summer law clerk with Midwest Environmental Advocates, in Madison, WI and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C., and served as a [...]

Tom Giessel

Tom Giessel is a farmer in Pawnee County near Larned, Kansas. He raises wheat, corn, milo, and alfalfa in partnership with his brother, Jay. Tom has been active in Farmers Union all of his life, serving as vice president of the Kansas Farmers Union for nearly two decades. He has also served Farmers Union on a national level as chairman of the policy committee, testified at congressional hearings, and [...]

Sarah Green

Sarah Green is a writer, editor and consultant with experience communicating with diverse audiences, from farmers to chefs to government officials. A graduate of the University of Kansas journalism school, she has written for local and national publications including The Hutchinson News, the KHI News Service and Saveur magazine. She is also a consultant to non-profit foundations, managing a broad portfolio of projects related to food access, communications, and civic involvement. From [...]

Cherri Harrington Harper

Dr. Cheryl (Cherri) Harrington Harper, PhD, LSCSW, BCB, is the Vice President and cofounder of the Flint Hills Renewable Energy and Efficiency Cooperative, Inc. (FHREEC). Cherri grew up in southeast Kansas and is the great-granddaughter of a homesteading farming family near Devon, Kansas in Bourbon County. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a Board Certified Biofeedback Therapist and a small business owner who is in her 33rd year [...]

Tom Hawk

Tom Hawk is currently serving as State Senator, District 22, representing Riley, Clay and parts of Geary Counties. Prior to election in November 2012, Dr. Hawk served as the Executive Director of the Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board (BSRB) of Kansas. From 2005 until 2010, Dr. Hawk served three terms in the Kansas House, representing Manhattan, Ogden and Riley County in the 67th District. He is a proud graduate of [...]

Gary LaGrange

Gary LaGrange is the CEO of Soldier Agricultural Vocation Education (SAVE), a 501C3 corporation in the process of developing a training farm for veterans and transitioning military. While the 155 acre farm is being designed by Kansas State University, he arranges soldier tours of farms and supporting farm organizations to facilitate their transition into farming. He also teaches beekeeping to soldiers in Fort Riley’s Wounded Warrior Battalion bringing them [...]

Missty Lechner

Missty Lechner graduated from Washburn University with her bachelor’s degree in Health Education and Promotion. She was the Worksite Wellness Specialist and Program Manager for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for 5 years managing cardiovascular health, arthritis management, and worksite health promotion efforts before starting her currently position in 2013 at the American Heart Association where she is the Advocacy Project Director managing the Kansas Alliance for [...]

Tatiana Lin

Tatiana Lin, M.A., Senior Analyst and Strategy Team Leader, joined the Kansas Health Institute in 2007, and directs KHI’s work in community health improvement. This includes leading efforts to incorporate a “Health in All Policies” approach to policymaking, and conducting Health Impact Assessments (HIA). The focus of her work on HIAs has included casino development, transit planning, retail liquor sales, corporate agriculture and medical marijuana. Tatiana serves on multiple state [...]

Pete Lorenz

Pete Lorenz has extensive experience in grain market analysis, and his rural roots enable him to quickly understand the nature of individual producer challenges. Specializing in national grain marketing, he is dedicated to improving returns for American grain producers. Lorenz is a consulting grain marketing expert and senior grain marketing analyst for National Farmers with four decades of experience. Lorenz assists farmers in using the National Farmers flagship grain [...]

Josh Roe

Josh Roe is a native of Republic County, Kansas. He was raised on a family crop and cattle operation that he holds financial interest in today. He holds B.S. and M.S degrees in Agricultural Economics from Kansas State University and Iowa State University. Josh worked for eight years in the Department of Agricultural Economics at K-State. His specialties include water quality and quantity, agricultural finance, farm management and bio [...]

Bill Wood

Bill Wood is a Project Developer for Cromwell Solar, located in Lawrence, with the mission of taking solar to the entire State of Kansas.  His background includes working as a County Extension Agriculture Extension Agent for 34 years in four counties, where he helped citizens identify and solve problems for their farms, homes, and communities. In the 1980s he helped organize two workshops in Wabaunsee County where people built [...]