Purchasing Seminar

Ankush Bhandari

Vice president, economic research
Viterra US and Mexico

Mr. Bhandari is vice president of economic research at Viterra US (Formerly Gavilon Group, LLC). He is responsible for the company’s grain, oilseed and biofuel industry research and analysis. He began his career with ConAgra Trade Group, Gavilon’s predecessor, in 1997 as a research analyst and later moved into a financial trading role for nearly 10 years. Mr. Bhandari has delivered market outlook presentations at various industry associations and roundtables. He received a master’s of business administration degree in finance at Emory University in Atlanta.

Natasha Crane

Cargill Risk Management

Ms. Crane is part of the North America Agriculture commercial team at Cargill Risk Management. She works with companies in the food and beverage industry to build and implement hedging strategies using tailored OTC solutions that are unique to their goals, risk management policies and market biases. Prior to her current role, she worked at StoneX Black Sea hedging desk.

Max Fisher

Chief economist and treasurer
National Grain and Feed Association

Mr. Fisher is chief economist and treasurer of the National Grain and Feed Association. He joined the NGFA in 2013 after serving as the chief economist for the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, where he worked for Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas. He received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business at Kansas State University and a master’s degree in agricultural economics at Texas A&M University. His career began with the US Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency in 2004.

Steve Freed

Vice president of grain research
ADM Investor Services, Inc.

Mr. Freed is a consultant to the grain industry. He recently retired from ADM Investor Services after 30 years at the company, including time spent as director of research and, most recently, vice president of grain research. Prior to that he was with Dean Witter Reynolds as vice president of futures research. He also has held positions as oilseeds analyst for Frazier Parrott and as field crop analyst for Continental Grain Co., covering the United States, Canada, Brazil and Argentina. Mr. Freed received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Illinois State University.

Lucas Fuess

Senior dairy analyst

Mr. Fuess is a senior dairy analyst at Rabobank, where he works within Rabobank’s RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness group to monitor and evaluate dairy market events that affect food and agriculture worldwide. Before joining Rabobank in 2023, he was the director of dairy market Intelligence at HighGround Dairy, and prior to that began his career as an analyst and dairy economist at Glanbia Nutritionals. He grew up on a dairy farm in Upstate New York and holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, a master’s degree from Purdue University, and a master’s degree in business administration from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

Hugo van der Goes

Vice-president of cocoa, North America
Barry Callebaut

Mr. van der Goes is the vice-president of cocoa, North America, for Barry Callebaut. In this role, he is responsible for the company’s North American cocoa business, including leadership of the commercial team, risk management and financial performance of the business. He is a member of Barry Callebaut’s global cocoa and the Americas leadership teams. Before joining Barry Callebaut, Mr. van der Goes worked for 16 years at Cargill in different senior management positions within the cocoa and chocolate division. His roles included responsibility for Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate commercial and cocoa sustainability functions. He currently is Chairman and board member of The Cocoa Merchants’ Association of America. Mr. van der Goes attended Erasmus University, Rotterdam (The Netherlands), where he received a master’s of science degree in economics and international marketing management.

Michael Irgang

President and owner
Global Risk Management Corp.

After working six year in Public Accounting & Banking, in 1993, Michael began a 20-year career with McDonald’s Corporation in the Treasury Department initially working on the Capital Markets team. In 1997, he took over responsibility for McDonald’s foreign exchange hedging program. Working with McDonald’s Supply Chain, suppliers, and owner/operators, Michael was primarily responsible for the vision and leadership behind the growth of McDonald’s commodity risk management program from a pilot initiative to a major strategic advantage for McDonald’s by providing competitive and predictable food & paper costs. Michael was recognized with Treasury and Risk Management magazine’s Alexander Hamilton Gold Medal Award for his accomplishments in building McDonald’s commodity risk management program. Michael joined OSI Group LLC in 2013 as Vice President – Chief Accounting Officer before joining Global Risk Management (“GRM”) as Executive Vice President in 2016 and then President in 2018. In addition to leading business development and long-term business strategy for GRM, Michael works extensively with Foodservice clients in designing and implementing commodity risk management programs. Michael specific expertise covers Center-of-the-Plate (beef, Pork & Poultry) as well as Foreign Exchange. Michael has been a keynote speaker at widely recognized industry conferences including Urner Barry, Market Vision and the National Restaurant Association.

Lauren Jia

Managing director
Macquarie Group

Ms. Jia is a managing director at Macquarie Group, where she is responsible for providing commodities risk management solutions for consumers in the food and beverage, consumer products, and industrial spaces. Her expertise includes designing financial hedging strategies, with special focus on resin and paper packaging, as well as agriculture, energy and metal products. Prior to joining Macquarie, she worked at Barclays Bank and Lehman Brothers on the commodities trading desks. She is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in international economics.

J. Eric Kelley

Executive Vice President
Director of Investment Research and Fixed Income
UMB Bank

Mr. Kelley has been with UMB for more than 20 years, all of which he has spent in the asset management area. He is currently the director of research and fixed income. He is responsible for oversight of the research department and directs product development and strategy for the fixed income group. He also is a member of the bank’s ALCO committee and economic research team.

Brijesh Krishnaswamy

President and global head – spices

Mr. Krishnaswamy is the President and global head of spices at ofi. He has more than 22 years of experience in the food industry and has been with the company for two decades, spending much of his tenure there leading business and operations for edible nuts in Europe. He began overseeing the spice division in 2018 and is based out of Fresno, Calif.

Nikki Lang

Head of diversity, equity and belonging
Bimbo Bakeries USA

Ms. Lang is head of diversity, equity and belonging at Bimbo Bakeries USA, where she leads the company’s strategic goal to build an environment and workplace with leaders and associates that advance programs, enact policies and promotes mindsets and behaviors that appreciate and value diversity, equity and belonging for over 20,000 associates in North America. She also serves as a global D&I sponsor for Grupo Bimbo. She began her career as a sales and marketing professional with The Kellogg Co., and later held roles at Frito-Lay, Inc. and Sara Lee. She also volunteers with several organizations, including the United Negro College Fund, St. Jude and Pacific Garden Mission. She received a bachelor’s degree from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta.

Bill Lapp

Advanced Economic Solutions

Mr. Lapp has more than 30 years of experience in analyzing and forecasting economic conditions and commodity markets. In 2005, he formed Advanced Economic Solutions, and prior to that was vice-president of economic research for ConAgra Foods. Advanced Economic Solutions provides economic and commodity analysis and offers forecasts and analysis for procurement, investment and risk management decisions. Mr. Lapp serves on the board of the Farm Foundation and the Kansas City Federal Reserve Board’s Center for the Study of Rural America. He is a member of the U.S.D.A. National Agricultural Statistics Service Advisory Board. He received a bachelor’s degree in math and computer science from Southern Illinois University, and a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Purdue University.

Drew Lerner

Senior agricultural meteorologist
Founder and president
World Weather, Inc.

Mr. Lerner is president and senior agricultural meteorologist of World Weather, Inc. He has been forecasting international weather for 40 years. He began his meteorology career in 1978 as he participated in an international effort to collect data and improve weather forecasting for the Asian monsoon. Since then, he has been supporting the agricultural industry by providing detailed short- and long-range weather predictions for each major crop area in the world. His daily assessments of crop and weather expectations supports commodity market trade and helps many companies make better agricultural business decisions. Mr. Lerner started World Weather, Inc. in 2001 after leading Global Weather Services in the late 1990s. Based in the Kansas City area, World Weather, Inc. supports an expanding group of clientele residing in North and South America, India, Europe, Africa and Australia.

Brian Moscogiuri

Global trade strategist
Eggs Unlimited

Mr. Moscogiuri joined Eggs Unlimited as a global trade strategist in 2021, where his responsibilities include assisting the sales team in thinking outside the box to uncover new opportunities and help customers overcome challenges they face when exploring new markets. He began his career at Urner Barry as an analyst covering the US and European egg markets, later moving on to become director of marketing during his 10-year career there. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Philadelphia University.

Erin Nazetta

Research analyst
Broadview Capital Holdings

Ms. Nazetta is the research analyst of Broadview Capital Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of Broadview Group Holdings, which is a St. Louis-based investment company that invests primarily in commodity futures markets. Ms. Nazetta is responsible for the firm’s fundamental research capabilities for agricultural commodities, as well as advising the Agriculture Group on trading strategy. Prior to joining Broadview, she worked in Bunge’s Economic Research group as a senior grains and oilseeds analyst followed by her role of director of research for Bunge North America. She also spent more than seven years at Rabobank as part of their Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory team. She received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University at Buffalo and a Data Analytics Certification from Washington University in St. Louis.

Alex Norton

Beeson & Associates, Inc.

Mr. Norton is the president of Beeson & Associates, Inc., a commodity risk management consulting firm. He joined the company in 2008 as a commodity analyst with a focus on grains and oilseeds. Over the years, his analysis has shaped recommendations and risk management strategies for family-owned companies, private equity firms, and multinational corporations. Mr. Norton received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Wake Forest University, a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Massachusetts, and he is Series 3 certified.

Steve Nugent

Director of IQF, dried and export sales
Milne Fruit Products

Mr. Nugent is director of IQF, dried and export sales, at Milne Fruit Products, where among other duties he is responsible for international business development. Prior to Milne, he was executive vice-president at Otsuka Foods, and earlier was national sales and marketing manager at Graceland Fruit. He also has worked at Holnam, Inc. and Arthur Andersen. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Michigan Technological University.

Ramon Paxton

Trading strategy & analytics manager
Cargill Risk Management

Mr. Paxton manages the Trading Strategy and Analytics team for Cargill Risk Management. In this role, he manages a team of analysts and works closely with the trading team. He provides trading strategies and market insights to a global suite of customers. Prior to his role with Cargill Risk Management, he traded futures for Cargill at the Chicago Board of Trade for 18 years. He was also an independent trader at the Chicago Board of Trade and served in the US Army.

Jim Ritchie

President and chief executive officer
RedStone Logistics, LLC

Mr. Ritchie has spent more than 35 years in the logistics and supply chain management industry. His experience includes running the retail and consumer products group for Ryder Logistics business unit before leaving to start up Meridian IQ Logistics. In 2012, Mr. Ritchie founded RedStone Logistics. In addition to his CEO role at RedStone Logistics, he has been an instructor for the University of Kansas graduate program for supply chain management. Mr. Ritchie instructs the capstone course for logistics officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. He received a bachelor’s degree in industrial design – architecture from California State University at Long Beach.

L. Joshua Sosland

Sosland Publishing Company
Milling & Baking News and Food Business News

Joshua Sosland is president of Sosland Publishing Company and editor of Milling & Baking News and Food Business News magazines. Mr. Sosland was named assistant editor in 1983 and became associate editor of markets in 1985. Coverage of ingredient markets was Mr. Sosland’s principal responsibility for the next 12 years. He was promoted to senior editor, markets, in 1990, and in 1997 was named executive editor of Milling & Baking News. He was promoted to editor in 2004 and has been editor of Food Business News since that magazine’s inception in 2005. He was named president of Sosland Publishing in 2015. Mr. Sosland is a 1982 graduate of Harvard College with a A.B. degree in economics.

Established in 1922 and based in Kansas City, Sosland Publishing is a business-to-business publishing company focused principally on the grain-based foods and food processing businesses. Owned by members of the Sosland family, its publications include Milling & Baking News, Food Business News, Baking & Snack, World Grain, MEAT+POULTRY, Pet Food Processing, Dairy Processing, bake and Supermarket Perimeter.

Ron Sterk

Senior editor, markets
Milling & Baking News and Food Business News

Ron Sterk is senior editor, markets, for Milling & Baking News and Food Business News, and is the creator and editor of the Sosland Sweetener Report, the only newsletter dedicated to covering the domestic sweetener market. In addition to sugar, he covers a wide array of ingredient markets pertinent to grain-based foods and other food manufacturers. Prior to joining Sosland Publishing Co. in 2003, he was involved in market coverage and management for several years at real-time news services. He has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism with a focus in agronomy and a minor in animal science from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in business from Rockhurst University in Kansas City.

Tim Statts

Vice president of commodity services
Schneider Electric

Mr. Statts is vice president of commodity services and previously vice president of risk management at Schneider Electric where he leads a team responsible for analyzing energy commodity markets and developing comprehensive strategies for managing associated risks. In this capacity, he works to create and execute upon client-customized risk management strategies. Mr. Statts has offered expert market commentary on Bloomberg and CNBC, and has presented at various industry conferences. Prior to Schneider he was with Summit Energy, where he analyzed natural gas commodity markets, identified buying opportunities, developed natural gas hedging strategies, and managed the natural gas market analysis department. Earlier, he worked with Sempra Energy, where he managed financial hedging, performed all market transactions, identified acceptable risks, and analyzed market dynamics. He received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Bellarmine University in Louisville and a master’s degree in business administration from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

Adam Stout

Commodity risk manager
StoneX Financial Inc.

Mr. Stout is a commodity risk manager for StoneX Financial Inc., where he specializes in offering risk management services to a diverse group of commercial clients, from grain handlers and livestock feeding operations to food processors/manufacturers and retail restaurant chains.  He joined the company in 2005, providing his clients commodity consulting and advisory services as well as assisting them in the implementation and management of their commodity hedging programs with the execution of exchange-traded futures and options and over-the-counter instruments.  He received bachelor’s degrees in business administration and mathematics from William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo.

Randy Strychar


Mr. Strychar is president of Oatinformation, a Minneapolis-based company focused on global oat market dynamics and the impact they have on price, supply/demand and trade. The company publishes a daily and weekly oat report keeping clients up to date on market moving information. In addition, the company is extensively involved in creating market development strategies for clients in the oat industry that are starting or growing their oat business. Mr. Strychar has been involved in the global oat industry for more than 40 years as a trader, marketing manager, broker and market analyst for some of the largest grain companies and grower groups.

Craig Ruffolo

Vice president and partner
McKeany-Flavell Co.

Mr. Ruffolo is vice president and partner of McKeany-Flavell, where he manages the information area of the business. He joined the company in 1995 and since that time has assisted domestic and multi-national clients in the commodity ingredients sector, including sugar and corn sweetener markets. Prior to McKeany-Flavell he spent two years at California Bancshares in Alameda, Calif., where he was an auditor of commercial and residential bank loans. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Knox College in Galesburg, Ill.