2008 National Alfalfa Symposium Speakers

Bruce Anderson - University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Since becoming the Extension Forage Specialist at the University of Nebraska in 1979, Bruce Anderson has developed innovative, high impact programs on alfalfa production and marketing. He founded the Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association and has served numerous state and national organizations, including the National Forage Testing Association. His Hay & Forage Minute radio program provides valuable updates and reminders throughout the year to listeners statewide.

Tom Bailey - Bailey Hay Interantional, Ephraim, UT

Mr. Bailey is from central Utah where he and his brother produce and market roughly 200,000 ton of alfalfa and other forage products to markets around the world. In 1986 Bailey farms began producing and selling hay to the California dairy markets. In 1996 Bailey farms made the decision to further process their hay and sell to the growing international markets.. They first began making cubes and in 1998 started producing double compressed bales in different sizes. Bailey Farms currently operates three hay processing plants, two in central Utah and one in northern Utah.

Joe Bouton - Noble Foundation

Dr. Joe Bouton is Senior Vice President and Director of the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation’s Forage Improvement Division. Dr. Bouton develops forage and bioenergy cultivars for Southern USA. He is best known for the release and commercialization of ‘Alfagraze’ alfalfa, “MaxQ” tall fescue, and ‘Durana’ and ‘Patriot’ white clovers. His switchgrass cultivar, “NF/GA 993”, is currently under seed production for future release as a biofuels crop for the southern region. For his achievements, he was presented the Carl Sprengel Research Award by the American Society of Agronomy, named Man of the Year in Service to Southeastern Agriculture by Progressive Farmer Magazine, and awarded the Richard R. Hill Achievement Award by the North American Alfalfa Improvement Conference and a Creative Research Medal by the University of Georgia.

Erik Freese - hay grower, Dixon, CA

Erik Freese graduated from the University of California at Davis with a B.S. degree in Agricultural Management and Economics. He is a fifth generation farmer from Northern California. My operation, Freese Farms, is diverse and covers roughly 3,500 acres. Freese grows a variety of crops including but not limited to: alfalfa, corn, wheat, and sunflowers. He is a forward thinking businessman and was one of first growers in my area to try and find success with Round-Up Ready varieties of alfalfa and corn.

Phil Geertson - Geertson Seed Farms

Phillip Geertson University of Colorado 1962 BS Civil Engineering. Rolf Geertson Phillip’s Father started growing alfalfa seed in 1942 and the Geertson Farm has been producing alfalfa seed for 68 years. In 1975 Phillip started marketing public varieties of alfalfa seed direct from his farm to farmers in the Midwest. Geertson Seed Farms developed an alliance with a alfalfa breeding company and release their 1st private variety in 1989. Phillip is apprehensive about the unknown risks posed by genetically modified plants and risk of introducing a perennial plant that cannot be recalled once it is released on a wide scale. He believes organic growers and consumers have the right to choose food free from GM plants and that forage grower should have the right to choose alfalfa that is free of genetic modifications. As the lead plaintiff in the case against Monsanto and Forage Genetic he has taken his concerns to count and prevailed when US District Judge Charles R. Breyer 9th stopped the sale of Roundup Ready alfalfa seed in the spring of 2007.

Tom Hunt - University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Dr. Thomas E. Hunt is an Associate Professor of Entomology and Extension Entomology Specialist at the University of Nebraska NEREC Haskell Agricultural Laboratory, Concord, NE. He received his B.S. degree in Agriculture in 1990, a M.S. degree in Entomology in 1993, and a Ph.D. degree in Entomology in 1999 from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE. He joined the University of Nebraska Entomology Department in 1999. Dr. Hunt's research focuses on the management and ecology of insect pests of crops in Nebraska. His research projects fall in the general categories of economic threshold development, resistance management, and applied insect pest biology & behavior.

Garry Lacefield - University of Kentucky

Garry is a native of McHenry, Kentucky (Ohio County) and grew up on a crop-livestock farm in the Western Kentucky Coal Field Area. After graduation from Centertown High School, he entered the U.S. Army and served 2.5 years in Germany. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Western Kentucky University with a major in Agriculture and Biology. He received the Ph.D. degree from the University of Missouri in 1974.

Mark McCaslin - President, Forage Genetics

Mark McCaslin is the cofounder and current President of Forage Genetics International. A California native, Mark earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Agronomy at UC Davis, and received his PhD in Plant Breeding from Cornell University. Dr. McCaslin has been an alfalfa breeder for over 30 years, and is responsible for developing over 200 alfalfa varieties. FGI is the world’s largest alfalfa breeding and seed production company. The company is active in both conventional breeding and biotechnology and has successfully launched several new alfalfa traits, including the introduction of Roundup Ready alfalfa in 2005. Mark and his wife currently live in Prior Lake, Minnesota.

Steve Orloff - University of California Farm Advisor

Steve Orloff has been a Farm Advisor/County Director for the University of California Cooperative Extension in Siskiyou County for 16 years. Prior to that he was a Farm Advisor in the high desert area of Southern California for 8 years. Steve's research and extension program has involved many aspects of alfalfa production including variety selection, cutting management, weed control, pest management and fertility. Steve was editor and primary author of the comprehensive UC book on alfalfa production, Intermountain Alfalfa Management.

Michael Rethwisch - University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Michael Rethwisch is a University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Educator, located in Butler County (David City). He has extensive (15+ years) of applied economic field experiences in alfalfa entomology in the low deserts of Arizona and California, resulting in a number of research articles of alfalfa pests ranging from twospotted spider mites to alfalfa weevils/aphids to threecornered alfalfa hoppers. He has shared some of his knowledge through previous National Alfalfa Symposium presentations. Michael has had an interest in alfalfa insects since working on alfalfa insects as part of his M.S. degree (1984) in entomology from the University of Nebraska- Lincoln.

Will Rostov - Center for Food Safety Senior Attorney

Will Rostov, Senior Attorney for Center for Food Safety out of San Francisco, CA. Will joined CFS in 2005; he directs the legal activities of the West Coast office. At CFS, Will litigates cases concerning genetically engineered crops. Will is the lead attorney on the Roundup Ready Alfalfa lawsuit: Geertson Seed Farms, et al. v Johanns, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. In addition, he works on legal and policy issues related to food safety laws and cloned animals. For five years prior, as a staff attorney for Communities for a Better Environment Will developed, litigated and successfully settled federal Clean Air Act and California Environment Quality Act cases and also litigated cases under California's Proposition 65 and Unfair Competition Law. Will earned a B.A. from Oberlin College and graduated cum laude from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1996.

Michael Russelle - USDA-ARS

A native Oregonian, Michael Russelle received his B.S. and M.S. at Oregon State University. After receiving a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska in 1982, he began his career as a Soil Scientist with the USDA-ARS in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He also is affiliated with the US Dairy Forage Research Center in Madison, WI, and is an Adjunct Professor in the Dept. of Soil, Water, and Climate, at the University of Minnesota. Michael’s research has focused on nutrient cycling in mixed livestock-cropping systems. His principal research goals are to improve N cycling on dairy farms and to discover value-added functions for perennial forages in cropping systems. This work has extended to using alfalfa and grass forages as tools to remove excess nitrate from soil and water. Michael also has worked with teams to evaluate the potential role of alfalfa as a cellulosic biomass crop.

Kirk Shane - Kirk Shane Farms, Atkinson, NE

Kirk Shane is a 4th generation farmer on the same land in Holt County, NE, that his grandpa and dad started irrigating in the 1950’s. The farms produce corn, soybeans, alfalfa, wheat and livestock, which Kirk, along with two brothers, Scott & Todd, and son, Perry, manage. The challenge of high fertilizer and energy costs, along with rising corn prices, means the future of alfalfa on the farm is ever changing.

Bill Simon - Fairfield, ID

Bill A. Simon retired from teaching after 4 years to farm full time. His daughter and son-in-law have joined the farm along with his two sons and their wives. In 1995 they started the organic certification process and they now operate 11,000 acres of both dryland and irrigated all within the organic program. Bill recently retired from the Organic Program Advisory Group for the State of Idaho.

Dan Undersander - University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Dan Undersander is a professor and extension forage agronomist at University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has been on the cutting edge of developments in the forage industry for years. He is a past president of the American Forage & Grassland Council, is involved with the Certified Forage Testing Laboratory program and has helped spearhead the annual World Forage Analysis Superbowl, which is held in conjunction with the World Dairy Expo each year.