AFIA Liquid Feed Symposium

Sept. 7-9, 2022, Hyatt Regency New Orleans
New Orleans, LA


Randy Blach


Randy Blach came to CattleFax in 1981 and served as Director of Market Analysis for 15 years. He was promoted to CEO in January of 2001, a role that he continues to serve in today. During his tenure, the company has enjoyed significant growth and has continued to lead the industry with timely market information, in-depth analysis and forecasts on cattle, protein and grain markets in the United States and globally. Blach has been a keynote speaker at thousands of cattle, beef and related business meetings, seminars and conventions. He graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in animal science. Blach received the Honor Alumni award from its College of Agricultural Sciences in 2004 and the Livestock Leader Award in 2011. In 2016, he was awarded the Industry Leadership Award through the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame.

John Cropley

John Cropley works as a senior commodity analyst at ED&F Man Liquid Products LLC. Based in New Orleans, he directs the company’s research on NAFTA sugar, molasses and other liquid products. Prior to joining ED&F Man, Cropley worked on a range of projects in the sugar and biofuels sectors around the world for the London-based consultancy LMC International. Before that, he worked for the British Government’s Department for International Development. Cropley holds a master’s degree in agricultural development from the University of London and a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Wales. 

Alfredo DiCostanzo

Alfredo DiCostanzo started as University of Nebraska Beef Systems Extension Educator in March of 2022 after serving for 28.5 years as a faculty member at the University of Minnesota.  His main areas of focus are nutrition and management of cattle feedlots and cow-calf operations.  Throughout his career, Alfredo focused on strategies and interventions that enhance financial return in cattle enterprises.  His work contributed to the knowledge base on protein utilization, use of liquid feeds and distillers grains and solubles in the feedlot.  Because of the emerging interest in value of manure as a fertilizer and use of forages in the feedlot, he investigated the role of cattle feeding in integrated livestock-manure-cropping systems.  This led to research work in understanding the value of corn harvested at various endpoints (dry or high-moisture corn, earlage or corn silage) and alternatives to corn silage as a forage (alfalfa haylage).   

James Glueck

As Vice President for Michael Torrey Associates, James Glueck advises clients on a wide range of legislative and regulatory issues impacting the food and agriculture sector.

James joins MTA from the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry where he was staff director under the leadership of Chairman Pat Roberts. For over a decade, James has played an integral role on the Committee and in the personal office of former U.S. Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE), advising on a wide range of subjects including risk management, biotechnology, grain handling, nutrition, trade, foreign relations, and water issues. His legislative experience includes successful passage and oversight of the 2018 and 2014 farm bills as well as the 2016 biotechnology food disclosure law. Prior to Capitol Hill, James worked for Bunge North America, an integrated agribusiness and food ingredient company. He also served at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including roles as a senior advisor to the Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, congressional liaison, deputy White House liaison, deputy director of intergovernmental affairs, and confidential assistant in the Farm Service Agency. James received an undergraduate degree in agricultural development from Texas A&M University and a graduate certificate in advanced international affairs from the George Bush School of Government and Public Service.


Gary Huddleston

Gary Huddleston is the American Feed Industry Association’s director of feed manufacturing and regulatory affairs. He joined the association in May 2015 and has more than 30 years of experience in feed manufacturing. Huddleston manages AFIA’s efforts surrounding regulatory issues involving the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Food and Drug Administration. He assists in the development and coordination of AFIA’s education and training programs related to feed manufacturing. Huddleston is the staff contact for AFIA’s Equipment Manufacturers and Production Compliance Committees. Prior to joining AFIA, Huddleston worked at Southern States Cooperative, Inc., since 1984, where he performed numerous feed manufacturing roles. Huddleston holds a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness and economics from Tennessee Technological University.

Kristen Ireland

“The success of a business depends on the success of its employees.” – Kristen Ireland

As a consultant and coach, Kristen focuses on understanding the business and ensuring it achieves its goals by aligning the culture, leadership, people, and processes with business strategies. A thoughtful, innovative, and strategic problem solver, she specializes in compassionately influencing behaviors and providing simple solutions tailored to your needs. Kristen has more than 20 years of experience consulting and coaching executives, leaders and managers. In addition to her work experience, she earned both a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas. Kristen received her Change Practitioner certification from PROSCI in 2017.

Joseph Kerns

Joseph Kerns, President of Partners for Production Agriculture, has thirty years’ experience working with producers, suppliers, and mills to support agricultural operations. He leads a team of professionals with the express purpose of understanding the financial parameters around agricultural markets so that those that he works with can thrive and prosper.

Matt Makens

Matt Makens grew up in Colorado on a small acreage where he competed annually in the local fair with a variety of animals and was a member of the livestock judging team. His dad, a veterinarian who covered much of the state, was a high-risk buyer from time to time which was a wonderful exposure to veterinary medicine at home. His mom had a hard time keeping Matt inside as he was always wandering on the land and watching the weather. Matt attended The University of Kansas. He graduated with a degree in Atmospheric Science. After leaving college with more of a climate modeling and engineering background than a broadcasting one, he almost by accident landed in broadcast meteorology. Matt worked in broadcast news markets across the country for nearly 20 years while also consulting with energy and insurance companies, public works departments and forecasting for ag radio stations. Makens Weather, LLC was formed in 2016 and grew quickly by providing actionable weather and climate information specifically geared toward clients’ needs. Matt’s primary focus is on global circulations and long-term climate forecasts as well as short-term weather hazards for the agricultural industry. He and his wife Hillary both work for the agricultural industry, raising their two children in Colorado.

Jason Matthews

After spending 23 years in transportation as an operator, business development, and sales management professional, Jason joined J.B. Hunt in 2011 as a GM in Ag Services. In 2020 he was promoted to Senior Director of Ag Services. In 2022 he became Vice President of Ag Services at J.B. Hunt. In this role he is responsible for growth and strategic accounts within the agriculture segment.

Jason graduated from The Citadel as a 4-year letterman in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in Political Science. He and his wife Ruth, live in Summerville, South Carolina. When Jason is not working on Ag Services development, he enjoys hunting, golfing, and Citadel Football games. Ruth and Jason have 4 children. 

Erin Mies

“My interest in finding simplicity drives my work.” – Erin Mies

Erin believes that businesses do not need more complicated processes. Instead, they need help uncovering their root issues and finding ways to address them. Erin has earned a reputation for understanding a business’ needs and finding creative, practical solutions that allow them to move forward. Her approach is both straightforward and respectful, providing guidance and considerations to improve leadership effectiveness.Erin’s 15 years of experience has involved coaching and consulting executives, leaders and managers in food and agricultural industries, in both manufacturing and corporate environments. She also specializes in talent acquisition and international HR. In addition to her professional experience, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Music from Wittenberg University, and a Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Erin is certified through the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) as a Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).

Lara Moody

Lara Moody is the Institute for Feed Education and Research’s executive director. She provides visionary leadership to the public charity’s activities including program development, strategic partnerships and collaborative resourcing. Working closely with IFEEDER’s Board of Trustees and committee members, she develops and supports resources and efforts to advance the public charity’s research and education mission. Collaborating with the American Feed Industry Association to pursue and communicate the institute’s work, she creates opportunities to engage donors and further the dialogue on important issues impacting the feed industry. Prior to joining IFEEDER in April 2021, Moody served as the vice president of stewardship and sustainability at The Fertilizer Institute. She also worked in research and extension programs at Iowa State University and the University of Tennessee. Moody holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering and master’s degree in biosystems engineering from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Elizabeth Pearce

Drinks Historian Elizabeth Pearce is the founder of  Drink & Learn, where she shares history through cocktail tours and classes. She is the host of the Drink & Learn podcast, the author of the book Drink Dat New Orleans, and the co-author of the French Quarter Drinking Companion. She was named a “Person to Watch” by New Orleans magazine and is also an educator for the Sazerac Liquor Company. Prior to creating Drink & Learn, Pearce was the original Senior Curator of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. 

She likes her desk messy and her whiskey neat.

Jared Robison

Jared Robison is a licensed Series 3 Broker with StoneX. Jared comes from a farming/ranching background in north central Kansas. He specializes in risk management for agricultural commodities and feed ingredients through hedging.

Kim Stackhouse-Lawson

Dr. Kim Stackhouse-Lawson is a professor in the department of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University and the Director of CSU AgNext.  CSU AgNext utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to advance sustainable solutions for animal agriculture.  Prior to leading CSU AgNext, Kim was the Director of Sustainability for JBS USA where she was responsible for coordinating the company’s corporate sustainability program and strategy. Kim also served as the Executive Director of Global Sustainability at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association where she developed the industry’s sustainability program. Kim received her PhD in Animal Science from the University of California, Davis and was a postdoctoral fellow at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine Beef Cattle Institute. She was awarded as the 2018 Distinguished Young Alumni by the UC Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. She and her husband, Spencer, live on the eastern plains of Colorado and have two sons, Weston and Callan.

Doug Stanton

Doug Stanton is the Senior V.P. Sales and Business Development for Where Food Comes From, Inc., the leading agricultural and food verification and certification company in North America.  Where Food Comes From, Inc. and its subsidiaries (IMI Global, International Certification Services, Sterling Solutions, Validus Verification Services SureHarvest and A Bee Organic) offer programs and services allowing tens of thousands of food producers across all types of commodities to meet specific market needs, including public standards, private brand initiatives and international trade requirements. Doug has been involved from the ground up as WFCF has grown. He has managed the development and implementation of most of the verification product offerings under IMI Global, a division of Where Food Comes From, Inc, primarily focused in the beef industry. The array of verification programs includes Source and Age Verification, Non-Hormone Treated Cattle program for the EU, Verified Natural Beef, BeefCARE verification programs for sustainability, feed claims, breed claims, and genetic indexing claims. He has also managed the identification, traceability, and chain of custody tied to product marketing claims of credence attributes. Additionally, Doug has managed and calibrated the auditor team for IMI Global. He now manages Sales and Business Development for the team. Prior to his 15 years at Where Food Comes From, Inc., Doug worked for Land O’ Lakes/Purina Feeds headquartered in Shoreview, Minnesota. He held various positions within the company over his 22-year career that included sales, nutrition consulting and territory management. He was also part of the management team for the Farmland Supreme Beef Alliance, which was one of the first programs in the US that provided and benchmarked feedlot and carcass performance data for cow-calf participants along with a value-based carcass grid at National Beef.

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Contact Us

SARAH NOVAK    (703) 558-3574     SNOVAK@AFIA.ORG

Contact Sarah, chief operating officer, for information on membership opportunities.

PAUL DAVIS, PH.D.     (703) 650-0146    PDAVIS@AFIA.ORG

Contact Paul, director of quality, animal food safety and education, for any questions regarding conference agenda and event expectations.


Contact Daisy, manager of meetings and events, for any questions regarding registration, payment, and invoicing.


Contact Lynette, manager of meetings and sponsorships, for any questions regarding sponsorships, agenda, and event expectations.