Minnesota Soybean Business

MN AG EXPO 2019: Out of the past, into the future

With the travails of 2018 in the past, the 2019 MN AG EXPO is looking forward and delving into all aspects of agriculture.

MN AG EXPO will be held Wednesday, Jan. 23 and Thursday, Jan. 24 at the Verizon Center in Mankato, Minn. Hosted by the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, there is something for everyone at this free two-day educational event and trade show.

With exhibitors representing every facet of the agriculture industry, from meat exports to seed selection to farm business management education, there is plenty to learn from MN AG EXPO’s extensive list of exhibitors.

Here are a few of the highlights from the slate of speakers and breakout sessions:

Wednesday afternoon on the Trade Show Stage (1:45 to 2:45 p.m.): “The Benefits of On-Farm Solar Energy,” sponsored by Blue Horizon Energy

Minnesota-based Blue Horizon Energy has specialized in providing turn-key solar energy for nearly a decade. They deliver high-quality, full-service solar energy solutions to homes and businesses and have expanded their operation in recent years by investing in the company’s talent and infrastructure. BHE’s team encompasses system designers, licensed electricians and factory-trained installation technicians with decades of collective experience.

Wednesday dinner at the Banquet Hall (5:30 to 6:45 p.m.) Featured speaker: Jim Wiesemeyer

From his office near Washington, D.C., Jim Wiesemeyer provides members with the latest information on agricultural policy and trade developments as Pro Farmer’s policy analyst. He is also a frequent guest on Farm Journal’s AgriTalk and AgriTalk ATB radio programs and an editor for The Agriculture Letter. Since 1978, Jim has reported on and interviewed senior government officials, including Presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, as well as USDA Secretaries since Earl Butz. He has traveled extensively in his assignments and is a frequent speaker on farm policy and trade issues.

Wiesemeyer rejoined Pro Farmer in June 2017, after serving as Informa Economics’ Washington consultant for 19 years. Jim has also served as the Washington bureau chief for Futures World News.

Preceding his time with Oster Communications, Wiesemeyer was Washington editor with Doane’s Agricultural Report and Washington editor and managing editor of the Washington Farmletter.

Thursday morning (10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.) in Meeting Room #245. Session: Estate and Succession Planning with Kaitlin Pals

Kaitlin Pals is an attorney specializing in tax and estate planning.

As a partner at Gislason & Hunter, Kaitlin Pals’ practice focuses on assisting clients with tax and estate planning and business succession planning for individuals, families and family owned businesses in industry with a special emphasis in agriculture.

Through her experience in working with matters for family farms to large corporations, Pals has a broad tax and estate planning practice. She helps her clients plan for and manage tax-efficient transfers of wealth that meet each client’s unique goals, including health care directives, estate and gift tax planning, simple and complex trusts and guardianships. She also helps families through the process of administering estates and trusts after a family member’s death.

Pals writes columns on a regular basis for agriculture and business publications and teaches continuing educations courses for her peers. Her vast knowledge of estate planning and tax law combined with her personal attention to detail is acknowledged and appreciated by her clients.

In addition to estate planning, Pals works with corporate law issues and real estate as well as family law issues regarding adoption.

Thursday’s lunch, “Food for Thought,” at the Banquet Hall (12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.). Featured speaker: Colonel Parker Schenecker

Colonel Parker Schenecker has a story to tell – ‘because I said I would.’

Before his life changed forever, Col. Schenecker was a Senior Leader and Strategist in the United States intelligence community, responsible for support to the U.S. defense and counter-terrorism efforts in the Middle East. He finished his 27-year Army career with combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and more than 20 deployments to the Middle East.

Col. Parker Schenecker will be the keynote speaker at MN AG EXPO’s “Food for Thought” luncheon on Thursday, Jan

Col. Schenecker graduated with honors from Washington & Lee University in 1984 where he excelled in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in Army Intelligence. He has numerous U.S. and foreign defense service awards and recognitions, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, the third highest recognition from the Department of Defense and the German Service Cross in Silver. After retiring from the Army in 2011, he became a Department of Defense Civilian employee and continued to take pride in his service to country.

However, his greatest joy has always been his children and their friends. Calyx and Beau Schenecker were his greatest achievement; young adults who epitomized love, honor, friendship and citizenship. Calyx – the artist and runner. Beau – the soccer player and Future Business Leaders of America leader. Both – bright futures ahead. Wise beyond their years, Colonel Schenecker spent his personal time immersed in his children’s and their friends’ lives and various activities.

That all came crashing down in 2011. While on a quick deployment to Afghanistan, Calyx and Beau were murdered by their mother. Immediately upon returning from deployment and after laying his children to rest, Parker made a promise – to remember how his children lived, not how they died – and began his philanthropic efforts in earnest.  The Calyx & Beau Schenecker Memorial Fund focuses on Youth Development in the Tampa Bay area through scholarship for leaders, athletes and artists and through a Leadership & Ethics Speaker Series focused on middle school students.


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