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Agriculture, Food, and Inflation: Drivers and Our Path Forward

Co-hosted by the Federal Reserve Banks of Kansas City and Minneapolis

October 7, 2022 | 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CT
Virtual video event

Agriculture, Food, and Inflation: Drivers and Our Path Forward

Rising prices are impacting every aspect of the food and agriculture supply chain. Increased input costs on the farm as well as more expensive groceries are some of the many consequences of recent upheavals in global commodity markets and rising costs of food processing, transportation, and labor.

To explore these issues in more depth, the Federal Reserve Banks of Minneapolis and Kansas City co-hosted a virtual symposium on October 7, 2022 to illuminate the factors that influence the cost of food and the short- and long-term outlook.

Event Details

Virtual video event

Event Agenda

Friday, October 7, 2022

10:05 a.m. – 10:10 a.m. CT Welcome and context
Neel Kashkari
President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
10:10 a.m. – 10:25 a.m. CT Presentation: Agricultural market update and inflation overview
Nathan Kauffman
Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
10:25 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. CT Fireside chat
Beth Ford
President and CEO, Land O'Lakes Inc.

Neel Kashkari
President, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. CT Expert Panel: Industry Perspectives
  • Jennifer Hamann
    Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Union Pacific Corp.
  • Bill Lapp
    Founder and President, Advanced Economic Solutions
  • Rick Dusek
    Executive Vice President for Country Operations, CHS
  • Sara Menker
    Founder and CEO, Gro Intelligence
Elizabeth Rembert
Food, Energy, and Agriculture Reporter, Nebraska Public Media
11:45 p.m. – 12:00 p.m. CT Closing comments
Esther George
President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Presenter Information

Rick Dusek Executive Vice President for Country Operations, CHS

Rick Dusek is executive vice president of Country Operations for CHS, the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global agronomy, energy, grains, and food company. Having spent his entire 34-plus-year career with CHS, Dusek has held several leadership roles with the company. He was promoted to join the company’s strategic leadership team and lead retail operations in 2017.

As executive vice president of Country Operations, Dusek is leading the transformation of the company’s retail platform into a critical distribution channel for the company’s core businesses, aligning an integrated enterprise supply chain for energy, agronomy, animal nutrition, and grain product lines to serve the company’s farmer and rancher owners. He is also leading his team in transformation strategies to drive growth and efficiency through a customer-focused solutions platform.

In his previous role as vice president of CHS Agronomy, Dusek was instrumental in the transformation of the company’s wholesale crop nutrients business, including investment in domestic nitrogen production, and led his team in implementing a market research function to advance supply, trading, and risk management strategies. Dusek has also served as vice president of grain marketing, where he led all aspects of North American grain and strategically expanded the digital training platform.

Born and raised in Grafton, North Dakota, Dusek joined CHS in 1988 and spent his early days with the cooperative merchandising grain. Dusek is a past board member of the Minneapolis Grain Exchange and The Fertilizer Institute. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural economics from North Dakota State University, and he is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program. Dusek and his family reside in the suburban metro area of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Beth Ford President and CEO, Land O’Lakes Inc.

Beth Ford serves as president and CEO of Land O’Lakes Inc., a Fortune 200 food production and agribusiness company that is also a 100-year-old farmer-owned cooperative. Ford's 35-year career spans six industries at seven companies. Since joining Land O’Lakes in 2011, she has held a variety of roles leading the farmer-to-fork business offerings. Today, she is a passionate advocate on behalf of farmers and rural America with the goal of connecting people, particularly in urban areas, to the farmers and rural communities who grow their food. In addition, she is the convener of the American Connection Project to help bridge the digital divide.

A native of Sioux City, Iowa, Ford holds a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in business from Columbia University Business School. She sits on the boards of directors for the Business Roundtable; BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager; Fortune 150 company PACCAR Inc.; and numerous other industry, nonprofit and university boards.

Ford has been recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders and Most Powerful Women and named to Fast Company’s Best Leaders list, among other honors. She was featured in the New York Times’ Corner Office column and profiled in the 60 Minutes segment entitled “The Farmer’s Advocate.”

Esther George President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Esther George is president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and leads a workforce of close to 2,000 employees in Kansas City and its branch offices in Omaha, Denver, and Oklahoma City.

The Kansas City Fed is responsible for conducting monetary policy, providing financial services to depository institutions and the U.S. Treasury, and supervising nearly 1,000 banking organizations within the Tenth Federal Reserve District, a seven-state region that includes western Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, and northern New Mexico.

As the region’s representative on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) in Washington, President George participates in monetary policy deliberations and provides a perspective based on more than four decades of experience as a banking supervisor. Her policy views are informed by regular contacts with the region’s business leaders, workers, financial institutions, and community leaders.

President George currently serves as a voting member on the FOMC.

President George also leads the development of the FedNow Service, which will provide financial institutions with the ability to settle payments in real time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition, she hosts the annual Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium in Wyoming, which brings together international central bankers, researchers, and policymakers to discuss issues affecting the global economy.

Jennifer Hamann Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Union Pacific Corp.

Jennifer Hamann was appointed executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO) of Union Pacific Corp. on Jan. 1, 2020. She is responsible for managing all facets of Union Pacific’s financial activities, controls, and policies, including accounting, tax, real estate, investor relations, treasury, audit, and capital planning. As CFO, Hamann also serves on the Grupo Ferroviario Mexicano and TTX Company boards of directors.

Hamann began her Union Pacific career in 1992 as a member of the corporation’s audit staff. In 1998, she moved to the railroad’s Human Resources Department, holding various management positions. Hamann joined the Corporate Treasury group in April 2002, when she was named assistant vice president–Investor Relations. In April 2011, she was named general auditor of the Corporate Audit staff. Hamann moved to Marketing and Sales as vice president and general manager–Automotive in February 2016, a position she maintained until returning to Finance as vice president–Planning and Analysis in October 2017. She was named senior vice president–Finance in April 2019.

Prior to joining Union Pacific, Hamann received an MBA from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). She also has fulfilled the requirements and examinations necessary to receive a Certified Public Accountant license.

In addition to her duties at Union Pacific, Hamann serves as the executive sponsor of Union Pacific’s LEAD (Lead, Educate, Achieve, Develop) women’s initiative and is a member of its executive advisory council. She also is on the board of trustees for the Omaha Community Playhouse, a member of the board of directors for the Omaha Performing Arts Society Foundation Board and the College World Series of Omaha Inc., as well as a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Economic Advisory Council. She formerly served as LEAD president and member of the board of directors for Women’s Center for Advancement and Creighton University’s Accounting advisory committee.

Neel Kashkari President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Neel Kashkari has been president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis since Jan. 1, 2016. He serves as a member on the Federal Open Market Committee, bringing the Ninth Federal Reserve District’s perspective to monetary policy discussions in Washington, D.C.

Neel oversees Minneapolis Fed operations and leads its many initiatives. Among them, he was instrumental in establishing the Opportunity & Inclusive Growth Institute, whose mission is to ensure that world-class research helps to improve the economic well-being of all Americans. Under Neel’s leadership, the Minneapolis Fed also released an action plan on ending too big to fail, which calls for tighter bank regulations to avoid future taxpayer bailouts of large financial institutions.

In addition, he directed Minneapolis Fed economists to examine Minnesota’s education achievement gaps. This research revealed deep, persistent disparities across race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, and has helped inform efforts to close these gaps and ensure every child receives a quality public education. This work supports the Fed’s mandate to achieve maximum employment, with education being a key to obtaining a good job.

Neel earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois. He became an aerospace engineer, developing technology for NASA missions. Eventually turning to finance and public policy, he earned his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, joined Goldman Sachs, and served in several senior positions at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, including overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, during the financial crisis.

Before joining the Minneapolis Fed, he ran for governor of California in 2014 on a platform focused on economic opportunity.

He lives with his wife, Christine, children, Uly and Tecumseh, and Newfoundland dog, Webster, in Orono, Minnesota.

Nate Kauffman Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Nate Kauffman is vice president and Omaha Branch executive with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and is the Kansas City Fed’s principal expert in agricultural economics. He is a leading voice on the agricultural economy throughout the seven states of the Tenth Federal Reserve District and the broader Federal Reserve System. Kauffman oversees several Bank and Federal Reserve efforts to track economic and financial conditions for agriculture and hosts the Kansas City Fed’s Agricultural Symposium. He also speaks regularly on the agricultural economy to industry audiences and the news media, including providing testimonies at both U.S. Senate and U.S. House Agriculture Committee hearings.

In his role as the Bank’s lead economist and representative in the state of Nebraska, Kauffman provides strategic direction and oversight for the Omaha Branch, regional research, and economic outreach throughout the state. He serves as a local connection to the nation’s central bank and is responsible for briefing the Kansas City Fed’s president—a member of the Federal Open Market Committee –on regional economic and business activity.

Kauffman joined the Federal Reserve in 2012. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Iowa State University. Prior to receiving his Ph.D., Nate spent three years in Bosnia and Herzegovina coordinating agricultural economic development projects.

Kauffman lives in Omaha with his wife and four children.

Bill Lapp Founder and President, Advanced Economic Solutions

Bill Lapp is president and founder of Advanced Economic Solutions. Lapp holds a B.A. in mathematics from Southern Illinois University and an M.S. in agricultural economics from Purdue University. Lapp has over 25 years of experience in analyzing and forecasting economic conditions and commodity markets, and has a wealth of experience in providing comprehensive economic analysis of commodity markets. He has been a featured speaker at numerous national forums, including the restaurant industry’s semi-annual Supply Chain Management conference, the Annual Sosland Publishing Purchasing Seminar, the National Institute of Oilseed Products, the Canola Council of Canada, and the USDA Annual Outlook conference.

Prior to forming Advanced Economic Solutions, Lapp was chief economist for ConAgra Foods. He has served on numerous boards, including the Kansas City Board of Trade, Kansas City Federal Reserve Board’s Center for the Study of Rural America, the Farm Foundation, and the Food and Agriculture Committee of the Omaha Chamber of Commerce. In addition, Lapp is a former member of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service Advisory Board and participates on the Harvard Business Industrial Economists’ Roundtable.

Sara Menker Founder and CEO, Gro Intelligence

Sara Menker was born and raised in Ethiopia. While working as a commodities trader at Morgan Stanley, she saw firsthand how new methods of using data completely transformed the way energy markets function, allowing longer-term thinking, innovative approaches to managing risk, and new investments. She saw that the lesson of how data could transform an entire industry could be applied to a problem of existential importance—how to ensure global food security in an unstable world that is dealing with the twin challenges of population growth and climate change.

The global agricultural supply chain is deeply interconnected, but at the same time is incredibly fragmented from a data perspective. This lack of information has resulted in market failures that allow large caloric surpluses to exist in some places, while other regions, and humanity as a whole, face the potential of massive deficits and commensurate human suffering.

To solve this problem, Menker founded Gro Intelligence, an artificial intelligence–powered analytics company that illuminates the interrelationships between the earth's ecology and our human economy. By organizing the world’s vast amounts of agricultural and climate data and building innovative predictive analytics, Gro allows corporations, financial institutions, and governments to “see around the corner” and make better decisions on how to feed the world.

Gro Intelligence has offices in Nairobi, Kenya; New York; and Singapore.

Elizabeth Rembert Food, Energy, and Agriculture Reporter, Nebraska Public Media

Elizabeth Rembert is a reporter based in Omaha, Nebraska. She reports on food, agriculture, and rural communities for Harvest Public Media, a public radio collaboration that covers Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Oklahoma.

She previously worked at Bloomberg News in New York City, where she spent time on the agriculture and breaking news desks. She's a native Nebraskan and grew up in a rural county in the state's northeast corner. She'd bet money you've never heard of her hometown.

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