Purchasing & Ingredient Suppliers


Mar. 8-10, 2022 | Hyatt Regency | San Francisco, California
AFIA Header Image


Richard Brock



Richard Brock is owner and president of Brock Associates, an agricultural marketing advisory service and publisher of The Brock Report, established in 1980.  His firm, based in Milwaukee, WI, now has eight offices, manages grain sales on over 800,000 acres throughout the U.S. and is an advisor on purchasing strategies for many large poultry, pork, dairy and food companies. Brock grew up on the family grain and pork farm in central Indiana. He received his Bachelors of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University and his Master’s Degree from Cornell University.  He and his wife Cathy have three grown children and ten grandchildren.

Andrew Hwang



Andrew Hwang serves as the Manager of Maritime Business Development and International Marketing at the Port of Oakland. He leads a team of five individuals responsible for the Seaport’s Marketing, Business Development and Customer Relations functions. 

Prior to joining the Port of Oakland, Mr. Hwang spent over 25 years in international logistics on both the shipper and provider sides. Most recently, he worked for Hyundai Merchant Marine where he managed import and export sales for its Pacific Southwest and Gulf region. Prior to that he worked with APL, Sea-land, CSX and EVA Air.

Mr. Hwang graduated from the University of Michigan with degrees in Economics and Marketing Communications, and has an MBA from University of California at Irvine.

Cassandra Jones



Dr. Cassandra (Cassie) Jones is the Undergraduate Research Coordinator in the Department of Animal Sciences & Industry at Kansas State University. Jones coordinates undergraduate students interested in research projects across disciplines and species. Dr. Jones teaches ASI 561: Undergraduate Research in Animal Sciences & Industry and ASI 318: Fundamentals of Nutrition. Jones' research efforts include evaluating the effects of ingredients or feed processing technologies on feed safety and animal nutrition. Jones is originally from Beulah, N.D., where her family raised Rambouillet sheep. Jones is formally trained as an applied swine nutritionist. Jones and her husband, Spencer, have three children, Ty, Hayden, and Hadley, and raise Angus cattle near Wamego.

Joseph Kerns



Joseph Kerns, President of Kerns and Associates, has 25 years’ experience working with producers, suppliers and mills to support agricultural operations. Kerns and his team assist clients with procurement and risk management activities related to hedging, ingredient purchase, optimizing relationships with mills, developing programs to assist in feed quality control, cost effective diet formulation, operational benchmarking, livestock marketing, generational transition and business development. In his current enterprise as a risk management consultant, Kerns and his team work with livestock producers and suppliers in 13 states. Clients include packers, producers, veterinarians, researchers, mill operators and feed ingredient suppliers. Team members have also served as keynote speakers for international agricultural agencies and suppliers, providing context about commodity markets, nutritional factors impacting production, and operational sustainability, leadership and ownership. Prior to this consulting venture, Kerns directed risk management activities for industry leaders such as ADM, Premium Standard Farms, Continental Grain and Iowa Select Farms.


Rodney Nye



Rodney Nye is the Senior Vice President of Business Development – Dedicated Contract Services for J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc. where he has worked the past 15 years. Prior to being named Vice President, he served as the Director of Ag Services and the General Manager of Ag Services. He has extensive experience in logistics, supply chain, freight, transportation management and fleet management.

Prior to joining J.B. Hunt, he played eight seasons as a third basemen in the Major League Baseball system for the New York Mets, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays.

Mr. Nye graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in communications.

Elizabeth Parker


Elizabeth Parker grew up on a farm in Abilene, Texas and holds two Bachelors of Science (Biomedical Science and Veterinary Science) as well as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Texas A&M University. An experienced professional with expertise in policy, science and technology issues and strategy development, most of Dr. Parker’s career has been in agricultural policy, working for the United States Congress, House of Representatives, Committee on Agriculture, for National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s as their first Chief Veterinarian, for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and in the academic setting. Dr. Parker has extensive trade association and international experience, including developing animal health and food safety standards, building coalitions, and coordinating technical and operational response to animal health diseases. Currently Dr. Parker is Associate Director, International Programs and Strategic Initiatives, Institute for Advancing Health Through Agriculture at Texas A&M University System.


Kris Paronto 



Kris, or “Tanto,” as he is known in security contracting circles, is a former Army Ranger from the 2nd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment and private security contractor. He also worked with the U.S. government’s Global Response Staff, conducting low profile security in high threat environments throughout the world.Kris was  part of the CIA annex security team that responded to the terrorist attack on the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012, helping to save over 20 lives while fighting off terrorists for over 13 hours. His story is told in the book 13 Hours, and in the major motion picture of the same name. Today, he is a security and military consultant and founder of the 14th Hour Foundation, a nonprofit created to help military veterans, first responders, government security contractors, their families and other foundations with grants to assist in everything from mortgage payments, everyday bills and tuition. Bringing valor, compassion, and authenticity to the stage, Kris shares the unforgettable story of the brave individuals who fought back during the Battle of Benghazi and risked their lives for the greater good of the world, along with key takeaways on leadership and teamwork that can be applied in any environment. In his latest book, The Patriot's Creed: Inspiration and Advice for Living a Heroic Life (October 2019), Kris reveals the values and creed shared by special forces for self-improvement and living a purposeful life.


Daniel Summer



Dr. Daniel Sumner is the Frank H. Buck, Jr., Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis and the Director of the University of California, Agricultural Issues Center. He participates in research, teaching, and directs an outreach program related to public issues facing agriculture. He has published broadly in academic journals, books, and industry outlets. His research and writing focuses particularly on the consequences of farm and trade policy on agriculture and the economy. Prior to beginning his current position in January 1993, Sumner was the Assistant Secretary for Economics at the USDA where he was involved in policy formulation and analysis on the whole range of topics facing agriculture and rural America -- from food and farm programs to trade, resources, and rural development. Dr. Sumner was raised on a fruit farm in Suisun Valley, California and was active in 4-H and FFA activities as a youth. He received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural management from California Polytechnic State University, a master’s degree from Michigan State and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago.


Hannah Thompson-Weeman



Hannah Thompson-Weeman leads the development and implementation of engagement and communications strategy for the Alliance as the vice president, strategic engagement. Her role includes coordinating industry-wide responses to emerging issues, engaging with key influencers, advising members on handling crisis situations and representing the Alliance on state, regional, national and international platforms through speaking engagements. Hannah also leads the Alliance’s media engagement efforts, connecting regularly with both trade and mainstream media outlets. 

Hannah holds a B.S. in agricultural communication and an M.S. in agricultural and extension education from The Ohio State University. Prior to joining the Alliance in 2014, Hannah worked in marketing and public relations for Farm Credit Mid-America. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their three pets, two dogs and a cat.

Chris Zanobini



Chris Zanobini is the President and CEO of Ag Association Management Services Inc and provides association management services to several agricultural organizations in California. Chris serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the California Grain & Feed Association and the California Seed Association. In his role as President and CEO of AAMSI, he oversees the management and government relations of over 35 agricultural organizations. He joined the California Grain and Feed Association in 2005 and has served in his current role since August of 2007. In his career, Chris has served as President of the California Ag Export Council, President, Treasurer and Secretary of the Ag Issues Forum, President and Vice President of the World Apple and Pear Association and Chairman of the Buy California Marketing Agreement. He is currently serving as Chair of the Alfalfa and Forage Education and Research Foundation. He is a board member of the California Youth Ag Expo, California Specialty Crops Council, The CLEAR Center, The World Apple and Pear Association, The California Invasive Pest Coalition, The United States Agriculture Export Council, The UC Davis College of Ag and Environmental Sciences Deans Advisory Committee, The 4H Foundation Board, the Seed Biotech Center Advisory Committee, The St Vincent de Paul Advisory Council for the Annual Dinner for the Poor and Chairman of The California State Fair Agricultural Advisory Committee.  Chris graduated from the University of California at Davis with a degree in Plant Science with specialization in Floriculture and Nursery Management.  He holds a master’s in business administration emphasizing marketing and management from the U.C. Davis Graduate School of Management. 

Facebook instagram LinkedIn Twitter YouTube

Contact Us

Daisy Rodriguez     (703) 650-0144    drodriguez@afia.org

Contact Daisy, specialist of registrations and events, for any questions regarding registration or payment and invoicing.

Sarah Novak   (703) 558-3574    snovak@afia.org

Contact Sarah, vice president of membership and public relations, for any questions regarding AFIA membership opportunities, agenda, hotel accomodations or event expectations. 

Lynette Tucker   (703) 558-3573    ltucker@afia.org

Contact Lynette, specialist of meetings and events, for any questions regarding sponsorships.