Corinna Baban serves as CEO and President of Agreeta Solutions USA, headquartered in Peachtree Corners, GA. Corinna’s experience includes over 15 years in Global Supply Chain, Foreign Supplier Verification Regulatory Compliance (FSVP), Product Commercialization and major brands CPG private label program development and commercialization (end-to-end supply chain management). Corinna has been instrumental in developing and expanding the reach of Agreeta’s footprint in the rice industry, traceability technology development and infrastructure investment deals, including a partnership between the State of Louisiana, Louisiana Economic Development, Southern Louisiana Rail Facility and its 200+ Co-Op members, and Agreeta, along with a similar keystone project in Texas. Corinna oversees a U.S. based team that works with major retailers on private label program development with an emphasis on sustainable crops allowing vertical integration for growers in U.S. communities.
Mollie Buckler is the Chief Operating Officer for US Rice Producers Association, overseeing USRPA’s communications strategy and supporting both domestic and international programs. Residing in southeast Missouri, she also serves as USRPA’s liaison for delta area producers and works extensively with the Missouri Rice Council. A native of the Missouri Bootheel, Mollie’s agricultural roots run deep on both sides of her family including rice production. Mollie is a two-time graduate of the University of Missouri, earning a bachelor’s degree in Classical Studies in 2010 and a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration in 2012. She has extensive experience in event planning, legislative advocacy, board planning and succession, and relationship building with a wide variety of constituents.
Norris Bond graduated in 1970 from The University of Southwestern Louisiana, with high distinction with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.
Norris was initially employed as a design engineer by Baker Oil Tools of Houston, Texas, where he, was responsible for the design and prototype testing of various types of “down-hole” oil well equipment.
At Philip Rahm International, he was responsible for the complete design of cereal processing plants, including wheat debranning processes. In addition, he was responsible for the sales and service of the company’s line of Satake rice processing machinery. It is during this period that he gained considerable knowledge of and experience with various techniques for removing the husk and the bran layers from cereal grains with a minimum of damage to the endosperm.
In 1992 Norris formed Grain Technology Systems, a consulting engineering firm that specialized in diagnostic analysis of rice processing systems and in the design and implementation of “state of the art” bran removal systems. During this time he also offered personnel training services for rice milling customers, developing the courses that would later serve as the basis for the “Satake Milling College”.
In 1994 Norris joined Satake USA Inc. as Vice President of Technology and remained with Satake until the spring of 2004. During his tenure, he served, in addition to his original position, as Vice President of Rice Processing Operations, Vice President of Cereal Milling Operations, Vice President of Latin American Marketing, Chief Engineer of The Satake Group, and Vice President of Engineering. Norris also provided process evaluation consulting services for Satake clients and lectured on various cereal processing methods in Europe, Central America, South America, and Australia.
In June of 2004, Norris and other investors established Applied Milling Systems Inc. In addition to engineering consulting services for the rice, corn, and wheat milling industries, the company offers complete design and supply services that make revolutionary processing systems more widely available at lower costs to the cereal processing industry. He served as president of AMS until his retirement from day-to-day operations in January of this year. He currently serves as the chairman of the company’s board of directors.
Today he is involved in consulting and training for rice milling companies around the world and in the development of new technologies for rice milling equipment and for improved utilization of rice by-products.
Augusto Carhuallanqui was born in the city of Chiclayo located in northern Peru. He completed his undergraduate studies at the Pedro Ruíz Gallo National University in Lambayeque where he obtained the degree of Electrical Mechanical Engineering, specializing in Industrial Automation.
He worked in the private sector for the National Industrial Work Training Service SENATI, an institution specializing in educating and qualifying professionals for the productive technical sector.
Since 2001 he is the founder and General Director of CARHUATECH SAC, an agro-industrial company dedicated to the production of Maquina Añejadora de Arroz under its own brand, registered and patented, which is sold with great success in Peru. They also specialize in developing technological solutions for the sector and focus on the design, assembly, supervision and support of rice processing plants in Peru and Central America. CARHUATECH is the commercial representative of the world brand AGCO – GSI.
Fred Clark, former chief counsel to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry under Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), returned to Cornerstone as a senior consultant focused on servicing the firm’s agriculture clients. After working at Cornerstone from 2003-2013, Clark served on the Senate Committee from 2017-2022.
During his tenure with the Senate Agriculture Committee under Chairman Roberts, Fred served as principal draftsperson for several bills enacted into law, including several titles of the 2018 farm bill, the U.S. Grain Standards Reauthorization Act of 2020 and the Agriculture Relief provisions of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of FY 2021. During 2021-2022 Fred helped lead the transition of the Committee Republican staff from Chairman Roberts to Ranking Member Boozman and directed the Committee Minority’s work to ensure the compliance of budget reconciliation legislation with Senate rules.
Fred originally spent 10 years with Cornerstone between 2003 and 2013, first as a partner in the business and then as a senior consultant. Fred was an integral part of the team during those early years and contributed significantly to our growth and development in many ways, including serving as general counsel and a managing partner. Fred left Cornerstone in 2013 to pursue his passion in international mission work, until he returned to the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry in 2017. Prior to his joining Cornerstone, Fred represented agriculture, finance, and trade clients before Congress and the Executive branch, after having served as a staffer in the House of Representatives for over a decade, including as both associate counsel and deputy chief counsel to the House Committee on Agriculture.
Fred is a native Californian with a B.S. in agriculture business management from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He moved to Washington, D.C. in 1983, where he earned a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Dennis DeLaughter, a professional farm manager, investment advisor and commodity broker, operated and managed over 5000 acres of rice, corn and wheat along the Texas gulf coast, southwest of Houston for over 40 years. He was a licensed floor trader on the Chicago Board of Trade and a frequent speaker at agri-business marketing meetings throughout the U.S. rice belt and the Midwest grain growing region. Specializing in commodity hedging and market analysis service for trading strategies, Mr. DeLaughter has served by appointment from the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee during the Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden administrations. He is vice president of the Texas Rice Council and the former chairman of the US Rice Producers Association. A graduate of Texas A&M University, he holds an MBA from A&M with an undergraduate degree is Agricultural Economics.
María Fernanda is a Brazilian Nutritionist, with a master’s degree in public health and PhD in Nutrition Science from the University of Sao Paulo. She is the academic mentor of the Sustentarea project of the University of Sao Paulo.
María is a member of the Sustainability Committee of the Brazilian Food and Nutrition Society (SBAN) and serves as the Lead Scientist and Sustainability Champion at DSM Health, Nutrition & Care in Latin America. With more than 20 years of experience in the nutrition and health market, she also holds certifications in Marketing from the Escuela Superior de Propaganda y Marketing (ESPM), in “Fundamentals of Lifestyle Medicine” by Rush University, and in “Improving Business through a Culture of Health” by Harvard University.
Marcela Garcia, President and CEO of US Rice Producers Association, graduated from the University of Houston with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing with a minor in Spanish and Entrepreneurship. Garcia began working with USRPA as an intern in September 2008 and joined the USRPA team in May 2009. In addition to developing and implementing USRPA’s current International Promotions Programs, Garcia has been in charge of the annual Rice Marketing & Technology Convention, which brings together rice industry from throughout the Western Hemisphere, promoting international trade and networking. Garcia currently heads the logistics, planning and development of RMTC and serves as the first point of contact for RMTC Sponsors. Garcia has traveled throughout Latin America and Europe, attending events and meetings, representing the US Rice Producers Association and promoting the U.S. rice industry. Marcela Garcia is fully bilingual and currently resides in Katy, Texas.
Engineer Sergio García is Guatemalan and graduated in 1988 from the Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico with a degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering.
He is a founding partner and current president of the Central American Rice Federation-FECARROZ; founding partner and current director of the Guatemalan Rice Association, and founding partner and current vice president of the Guild of Guatemalan Rice Millers -GREMARROZ-.
Mr. García has 33 years of experience in the rice industry, he is a director of Grupo Albay and founder of PRALSA.
He has participated in the processes of negotiating trade agreements in the consultation mechanism and continues to be active in the processes of formulation of national and regional public policies, in the commercial area and development of the sector.
Stuart Hoetger is a managing partner and founder of The Stogan Group, an agricultural business firm engaged in commodity trading and market analysis. Before assuming management of Pinnacle Rice Cooperative and launching an online rice brokerage platform, Stuart’s sole focus was providing market analysis and strategy to global traders, merchandisers and end-users.
He manages the rough rice trading strategy as well as international business development for Pinnacle Rice Cooperative, a grower-owned, medium grain coop in California. He also manages the State’s online rice brokerage, CashRice Network. Between these two capacities, Hoetger’s office markets or brokers rice for some 40,000 acres of medium grain rice. In addition, he is a part-owner and contributor to Medium Grain Report, a weekly rice market report whose subscribers consist of international governments, banks, traders, millers, and growers. Thru these roles, Stuart has conducted extensive business in Asia and Latin America.
Leandro Lombardi is a Commercial Manager at PEST CONTROL ARGENTINA S.A. since 2010. He received his B.S from UBA (University of Buenos Aires) and he received his title in industrial engineering from UADE (Business University) before accepting the position of Operations Manager in a fumigation family company Agrofum in 2000. During his ten-year career as a supervisor there, his colleague and friend Cesar Altamirano invited him to create a fumigation company in Florida, where they shared best practices for two years. In addition to his job, Lombardi is a contributor to United Nations in the program SEMARNAT-ONUDI (program to eliminate methyl bromide) and an enthusiastic River Plate Soccer team fan. He travels the world making new alliances to develop new fumigators through sustainable, safer techniques. He currently resides in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Ricardo Mendoza is originally from Mexico City. He completed his undergraduate studies at the Chapingo Autonomous University obtaining the Agroindustrial Engineer Degree in 1990.
He has a master’s degree in Agribusiness Strategy that he obtained at the Center for Economic, Social and Technological Research on Agroindustry and World Food, of the Chapingo Autonomous University in 2014.
He worked in the private sector in 1992 and later in the Ministry of Agriculture, where he worked from 1994 to 2003, holding positions of Head of the Department of Foreign Trade, Deputy Director of Fruits and Vegetables and Director of Basics and Oilseeds.
He is currently the General Director of the Mexican Rice Council since 2007 with extensive experience in this sector.
Luiz obtained his master’s degree and Ph.D. in Agricultural & Horticultural Plant Breeding from Iowa State University. He has worked both in Brazil and in the United States. Over the years, Luis has assisted in the development of corn hybrids in both countries as well as in Asia.
With the experience of working in the different areas of the world, in 2018, Luis started a corn breeding program with the goal to develop hybrids adapted to the use of Nitrogen Fixation Bacteria.
He also began working for AGROCETE US in 2018 as the Technical Manager for the United States and Canada. Since then, they have had great progress in the evaluation and adaptation of their inoculants and fertilizers used in rice as well as in other major crops.
Mark Pousson, a rice farmer from Welsh a city located in the southwestern part of the state of Louisiana. Mr. Pousson attended McNeese State University and currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the US Rice Growers Association (USRPA), and the Louisiana Independent Rice Growers Association (LIRPA).
Pousson, was instrumental in the organization and leadership of the more than 200 members that led to the development of the South Louisiana Rail Facility (SLRF). SLRF is currently the newest and most modern rice rail freight facility in the United States and is located in Lacassine, Louisiana at Interstate 10 between Houston and New Orleans.
Pousson also manages raw rice export activities for the SLRF from IFG’s new grain loading facility at Lake Charles Port, built in November 2015. Both the rail site and ocean port facility have provided to farmers in the area new alternatives to the foreign market that did not exist previously. The system allows the export of identity preserved raw rice according to the preference of the buyer.
With over 40 years in the seed industry in research and management roles, Jim oversees Product Development for Cibus, a leading company using gene editing to develop traits in plants. Prior to joining the company, Jim served as Global Temperate Corn Breeding Leader for Dow AgroSciences and before this served as a member of the Mycogen Seeds management team where he managed plant breeding programs of multiple crops. At Agrigenetics, he created the work plan and led the effort to develop the first corn Bt transgenic product sold in the United States. Jim also worked at Sungene Technologies where he developed competitive corn inbred lines, which led to commercially significant hybrids. Jim began his career in 1981 with Northrup King. He is long active in the American Seed Trade Association and is currently the Chair of the Innovation and Policy Committee. Jim holds a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics from the University of Minnesota and a B.S. and M.S. from the University of Wisconsin. He is based in a home office in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Jose Re is Vice President of Research and Global New Product Development Lead for RiceTec. He began his career with the company in 2004 and has held several positions of responsibility in plant breeding for both the U.S. and South America. During Jose’s 30-year career in the seed industry, he has led the development of new hybrids for a variety of crops. Jose has served on several industry boards, including the American Seed Trade Association and U.S. Plant Variety Protection (PVP).
Jose holds a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics from Oregon State University.
Dwight Roberts, Senior Advisor to the US Rice Producers Association, has spent the last 30 years working in agriculturally related international activities both in the private sector and as the director for international marketing at the Texas Department of Agriculture. He also spent 10 years living and working in the grain and cattle business in South America. Roberts received his bachelor’s degree from Abilene Christian University.
Jonn Slette is the Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Trade Office in Mexico City. Prior to his current posting, Mr. Slette served as Agricultural Attaché in Warsaw, New Delhi, and Jakarta. Mr. Slette joined the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service in 2006 as an Agricultural Economist in the Office of Capacity Building and Development. He also worked in Office of Country and Regional Affairs as the Desk Officer for Central America.
Mr. Slette is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps where he served with distinction at the U.S. Embassies in Brussels and Addis Ababa. He is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, following two years of Peace Corps service in Ecuador. Mr. Slette was raised on a family corn and soybean farm in southern Minnesota and is an alumnus of the University of Minnesota and the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He is joined in Mexico City by his wife, Nikki, and their two young daughters.
Shashikumar Thimmaiah is Chairman & Managing Director of APIT, responsible for the company’s strategic decisions, business expansion and new technical innovation.
Thimmaiah is a Mechanical Graduate from University of Mysore and a certified food technologist. He was seasoned under one of the best rice research minds in the world, Dr. K.R. Bhattacharya, who was instrumental in modern parboiling technology research.
Thimmaiah, with the APIT Team, holds four patents for innovation in ageing and parboiling as well as AI-powered recipe intelligence for parboiling. Known as the “Rice Doctor“ in South Asia , he has worked very hard over the last two decades to improve the process of parboiling and drying systems, as well as an accelerated aged rice processing system. APIT is currently launching a revolutionary parboiling system, which will save 80% of the water in comparison of conventional parboiling process.
Tommy Turner, a rice farmer from El Campo, Texas, started helping his father Marvin Turner at the age of 8, with the family rice farming history dating back to the 1930s. Turner has been an active community leader for many years after graduating from Texas A&M University in 1979 with a degree in Agriculture Economics. He currently serves as President of the Texas Rice Council and a board member of the Texas Rice Producers Legislative Group and the US Rice Producers Association.
International Account Executive, AGI
Camilo is an engineer with extensive experience in Project Development. He specializes in design, manufacturing, assembly, equipment start-up and operations for grain processing. Camilo’s focus subject matter is rice, where the efficiency, productivity, and optimization of processes as well as the quality of the grain are essential and the main basis of success.
Throughout his professional life, Camilo has had the opportunity to apply his knowledge in large companies with very important profiles, as a Project Engineer, as an Operations Manager in the manufacture and assembly of machinery for the grain industry. Additionally, he has also contributed as a Director of Projects and as a technical-commercial advisor, which has allowed Camilo to leave a mark in various companies with compliance of the objectives set and customer satisfaction.
Dr. Tim Walker became the general manager for Horizon Ag, LLC, in 2014. Headquartered in Memphis, TN, Horizon Ag exclusively multiplies and markets Clearfield and Provisia rice varieties in the southern USA. In any given year, Horizon Ag branded varieties are planted to over 20% of the southern USA rice acres. Horizon Ag’s mission is to ensure the long-term viability of the USA rice industry. Recognizing the importance of Western Hemisphere countries, Dr. Walker has been instrumental in maintaining dialogue and developing products that are more desirable to consumers in Latin America, the United States and Canada. Prior to joining Horizon Ag, Dr. Walker had an extensive career in rice research and extension with Mississippi State University. He is married to Peyton and has two daughters, Leah and Kara, and a son Graham. They reside in Hernando, MS. Outside of work, he enjoys watching his children’s athletic competitions and raising registered red angus cattle.
Roberto Wong Taracena has a degree in Marketing from Rafael Landivar University. Robert has extensive experience in market research, especially in the qualitative field, consumer psychology and diagnosis of new and potential markets.
His experience lies in the knowledge of the Central American market and the diversity of mass consumption products and services in the region, especially in the rice market.
He is currently the Executive Director and General Manager of the Guatemalan Rice Association (ARROZGUA), having contact and relationships with the different agencies of the state of Guatemala, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Economy, Superintendency of Tax Administration, Ministry of the Interior, Chambers of Industry, Chamber of Agriculture and Products Unions, Consular Corps and Embassies, among others. He is a representative of the rice sector for the National Council for Agricultural Development (CONADEA).
He has held management positions at BBDO Publicidad (Omnicom Group), Chevron Texaco Lubricants, Honda Motorcycle Guatemala, and was a 2022 Scholarship Student in the Cochran Program by the USDA, on issues of quality, marketing and prices of rice in the US.