Farm Health The Agronomists Role


 Plenary Session
 Mitch Rezansoff Mitch Rezansoff, Executive Director, Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers Mitch Rezansoff was born Winnipeg Manitoba and raised on a family farm in the Swan River Valley of Saskatchewan. From an early age, has always had a tie and passion to agriculture production. At an early age spending summers on his grandparent’s farm that transition to his parent’s family farm. That passion was strengthened with his graduation with a BSc. Agriculture Economics and Agronomy from the University of Manitoba in 1984. In December of 1984 Mitch began his career as a sales rep in northwest Manitoba with BASF. Affectionately known as the Poast Man, he was excited to work with retails and farmers advancing minimum till practices utilizing post emergent technologies. Mitch continued a 23-year journey of career development through the company adding geographic moves. Moving from Manitoba to Ontario and back to Manitoba with roles of territory sales manager, product and market manager, SAP sales and marketing project lead, internet and ecommerce manager, account manager eastern and western Canada. In between his current role of Executive Director of Canadian Agri-Retailers Association, Mitch spent time in Winnipeg with Interprovincial Cooperative Limited in product regulatory department and Enns Brothers large ag division. As the Integrated Solutions Manager developing a team of agronomists within an equipment dealership increasing the connection of agronomy and precision ag technologies with farm customers. Mitch brings an extensive 35 plus years of experience of the agriculture supply chain from multiple perspectives with an appreciation of how trusted advisors supporting and farm operations continue to evolve.

Briana Hagen, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Guelph - After completing her Master's of Science in Community Health and Epidemiology, Briana completed a PhD in the Department of Population Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, working under the supervision of Dr. Andria Jones-Britton. Her PhD research involved using both quantitative and qualitative research methods to better understand mental health and well-being among Canadian farmers. Using both survey and qualitative data, she examined how farmers and their farms are impacted by mental health outcomes, with a focus on perceived stress and the barriers and facilitators of help-seeking farmers. Briana is passionate about collaborative research approaches and building strong partnerships with the agriculture community to co-design research projects. After completing her PhD in July 2020, Briana began a Mitacs Elevate Postdoctoral Fellowship to continue her investigations around farmer mental health in Canada.

 Heather Watson

Heather Watson, Executive Director, Farm Management Canada - For the past 11 years, Heather Watson has served as the Executive Director of Farm Management Canada, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness and adoption of beneficial business management practices on Canada's farms. Heather is passionate about education and committed to enhancing efforts to encourage better business practices for a sustainable and truly remarkable agricultural industry in Canada. She also serves as the Canadian representative to the International Farm Management Association Council. Heather obtained her Bachelor degree from the University of Guelph and went on to obtain her Masters degree from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. Heather grew up in southwestern Ontario and now lives in Ottawa.

 Thea Green

Thea Green, Program Manager, Keystone Agricultural Producers - Thea has a background in agriculture and education which she employs to develop and deliver programming for Manitoba's producers. She is passionate about providing farmers with the supports they need for success.


J.P. Gervais, Vice-President and Chief Agricultural Economist, Farm Credit Canada - J.P. has over 20 years of experience analyzing domestic and international agricultural policies and markets, and his insights help guide strategy and monitor risk throughout the corporation. He is frequently a speaker at national and international conferences, addressing global trends and the linkages to agri-food markets. J.P. provides commentary on the agriculture industry through videos and the FCC Ag Economics blog. Prior to joining FCC in 2010, J.P. was a professor of agricultural economics at North Carolina State University and Laval University. He also held the Canada Research Chair in Agri-Industries and International Trade at Laval. J.P. is Past-President of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society. He obtained his Ph.D. in economics from Iowa State University.

 Alan Kruszel

Alan Kruszel, Crop Consultant, Farmer - Alan is a Certified Crop Advisor from South Eastern Ontario. He and his family operate a small cash crop farm and a crop consulting business in Stormont County, ON. They primarily grow corn, soybeans and cereals as well as many types of cover crops using no-till practices. Through their consulting business they promote reduced tillage, cover crop adoption and other soil health building practices. They also provide a suite of other agronomic services such as nutrient management planning, soil testing and crop scouting to local producers. Alan teaches the Ontario Grower Pesticide Safety Course and the Crop Biosecurity Course under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Alan is also involved in farm organizations and is currently Vice-Chair of the Ontario Soil Network, Past Chair of the Soil Conservation Council of Canada, and Past President of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association. In his free time, Alan enjoys spending time with his family. Alan and Lorraine have three children, Samuel, Sophie and Stephanie.

Pest Management Session

 Justine Cornelson

Justine Cornelson, Agronomist, Canola Council of Canada - Justine is part of the Crop Production and Innovation Team with the Canola Council of Canada where she covers off western Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan as Agronomist. Her lead specialty with the Council is Blackleg and Verticillium management. She leads the Canadian Blackleg Steering Group. Justine is also a part-time Masters student at the University of Manitoba in Plant Science. She graduated from Brandon University in 2014 with a B.Sc. in Biology and previously worked for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Parks Canada.

Andreas von Tiedemann

Andreas von Tiedemann, Professor, University of Gottingen

Dan Johnson Dan Johnson, Associate Professor, University of Lethbridge - Dan is committed to research and public understanding of science, and promotes appreciation for insects, spiders, and biodiversity. He has conducted research in integrated crop protection, entomology, and related topics. After 20 years as a research scientist with AAFC, where he introduced GIS, insecticide baits, and microbial controls, he joined the University of Lethbridge. He teaches data analysis, experimental design, biogeography, insect ecology, and received a teaching award from the Students’ Union. He organized and chaired the world conference on grasshoppers and locusts, held in Canmore, and he led the first Canadian Zebra Chip and Potato Psyllid Monitoring and Research Network, 2013-2018. He conducted research and taught courses in China, Africa, and Southeast Asia, and served as a Canada Research Chair, member of the Alberta Environmental Appeals Board, and with USAID and CIDA. He received the C. Gordon Hewitt medal from the Entomological Society of Canada in 1992, and served as ESC President in 2000. Dan has published over 100 refereed scientific articles, and hundreds of other chapters, books, reports, and maps. He graduated from the University of Saskatchewan (BSc), and University of British Columbia (MSc and PhD in Plant Science, at the Institute of Animal Resource Ecology), where he was a Killam Scholar. The cover of Canadian Geographic called him a Green Crusader.
Martin Laforest Martin Laforest, Research Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada - After earning his Ph.D. in molecular biology at Laval University in 1999, Dr. Laforest worked for 15 years at DNA LandMarks, a BASF Plant Science subsidiary, before joining AAFC in 2015. Since then, he has been characterizing herbicide resistant weeds found in Canada with the aim of elucidating mechanisms allowing weeds to survive herbicide application. To this end, Sr. Laforest is using molecular and genetic tools to study the more complex cases of herbicide resistance. This information is used to develop genetic tests to detect early similar herbicide resistance cases that help growers apply mitigation strategies.
Elaine Froese

Elaine Froese, Farm Family Coach - As a certified farm family business transition coach, Elaine specializes in helping farm families work through the tough issues to take action. Her superpower is helping families find harmony through understanding. Elaine helps farmers get clarity about expectations, certainty for timelines and agreements and a commitment to action. Faith Today magazine has dubbed her "Canada's Farm Whisperer". She recently was awarded the Farm Management Canada Wilson Loree award for excellence in Farm Business Management. 4-H Canada awarded Elaine their first Most Distinguished Alumna award. Elaine is an award-winning author of five books. Her online course "Get Farm Transition Unstuck" helps procrastinating farmers deal with the emotional factors affecting planning. She farms with her husband, son and daughter-in-law in southwestern Manitoba at Boissevain on a certified seed farm. 2020 was their 43rd crop. Her latest joy is being "Grandma". Elaine's goal is to empower family, increase profit and secure legacy as she provides practical communication tools for farm families across North America. Visit, on Twitter @elainefroese, on Facebook @farmfamilycoach and on YouTube channel farmfamilycoach.

Ryan Immerkar

Ryan Immerkar, Managing Partner, New Era Ag Technologies - Ryan grew up in Swan River on the family farm. He graduated from the University of Manitoba with a diploma in agriculture in 1999, then worked at Cargill in Swan River. He changed jobs in 2003, working as a sales agronomist for JRI in Swan River. In 2006, Ryan started RSI Agri-Coaching Ltd., an agronomic service business affiliated with Agri-Trend Agrology. Ryan continues to run RSI Agri-Coaching Ltd. today. In 2013, New Era Ag Technologies was created with business partner Dennis Badowski. New Era Ag is the only independent ag retail in the Swan River Valley, employing ten full time staff selling seed, chemical and fertilizers. The retail also operates a seed treatment plant and custom treats a variety of seeds. In 2015, New Era Ag Research, in affiliation with New Era Ag Technologies, was created. Managed by Megan Rose, the research division is designed to support the retail business with a better understanding of the performance of the latest ag products under the unique Swan River Valley conditions. The research staff run independent trials, contract research and plant breeding trials with industry partners. Research is conducted in the field and year-round in a climate controlled indoor grow room. Ryan lives and farms in Swan River with his wife Kristen and his three children, Isabella, Emry and Lexi.

Anastasia Jubinec

Anastasia Kubinec, Agronomist, Roquette - Prior to Roquette, she worked with Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development as the Oilseed Crop Specialist and then as the Manager of the amazing Crop Industry Development section and Crop Farm Production Extension sections.  She finished both her B.Sc. (Plant Systems) and M.Sc. (Weed Ecology) through the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Science at the University of Manitoba. Anastasia’s interest in agronomy developed as she rogued many fields on a pedigreed seed farm in Holland, MB, that she and her husband now operate with her father. This is also where she has her most difficult conversations on changing tactics to manage glyphosate resistant kochia, reclaim saline soils, reduce soil erosion and reduce potential for development of other pests.

Crop Management Session

 Dennis Lange

Dennis Lange, Industry Development Specialist - Pulses, Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development - Dennis has been involved in the pulse and soybean industry for the last 20 years working with peas, edible beans, soybeans and various other pulses. Dennis works with growers and industry in Manitoba to help educate and promote sustainable production of pulses and soybeans. Dennis is also known for his collection of almost 140 Hawaiian shirts and counting!

 Dr. Chris Gillard

Chris Gillard, Associate Professor, University of Guelph - Chris teaches crop production courses to agriculture diploma students and has several graduate students that conduct research under his supervision. His research is in field crop agronomy and pest management with a primary focus on dry beans. Dry beans have been a niche crop in Ontario for decades; typically offering high returns for a high level of management. His role is to shape the management techniques for this crop, and provide the greatest returns for the grower. Chris has three (mostly grown) children and lives near Blenheim.

 Meghan Moran

Meghan Moran, Canola and Edible Bean Specialist, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs - In her current role, Meghan creates extension materials to support on-farm decision making and conducts research and demonstration projects to generate data towards improved crop management. Recent projects in dry edible beans include variable rate seeding of cranberry and white beans, investigating and surveying for new pathogens and developing a website for dry bean agronomy information.

Ken Gross

Ken Gross, Provincial Agrologist, Ducks Unlimited - Ken received his Masters degree in Pant Science from the University of Saskatchewan. His thesis was on the root development and water use of direct seeded winter wheat. He has continued to research and promote winter wheat in his position as Provincial Agrologist with Ducks Unlimited Canada, with whom he has worked for over 30 years. He has been privileged to serve on many boards including Winter Cereals Manitoba Inc., Winter Cereals Canada and the Manitoba Zero-Tillage Research Association. Ken is a past winner of the "Canadian Non-Farmer of the Year" as selected by the ManDak Zero-Till Farmers Association.

 Anne Kirk

Anne Kirk, Cereal Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development - Anne has a Master's degree in agriculture from the University of Manitoba and joined the Manitoba Government in 2015. In 2017, Anne started working as the Cereal Crop Specialist. Prior to joining the Department, Anne was the Participatory Plant Breeding Coordinator in the Natural Systems Agriculture Lab at the University of Manitoba.

 Brad Pinkerton

Brad Pinkerton, Manitoba Marketing Representative, SeCan - I grew up on our family's mixed farm near Killarney, MB. I received my Degree in Agriculture, majoring in Agronomy from the University of Manitoba in 1997. I spent two years as a Weed Supervisor in Killarney, then nine years as a Seed Production Coordinator/Marketing Rep with UGG/Proven Seed. In 2007, I joined SeCan as the Manitoba Marketing Rep and have been there ever since! At SeCan, I work with our independent seed companies to increase their awareness, understanding and confidence in our seed lineup. I currently live in Niverville with my wife and three children. We enjoy hunting, fishing, motorized activities, and we have a small family native seed business that we have operated for 15+ years to keep us all out of trouble!

Melanie Dubois, Research Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada - Melanie Dubois is a wildlife biologist whose expertise centers on the interactions of wildlife and natural systems with agricultural landscapes; Melanie has been working in this area for over 20 years. She has a 4 year BSc from University of Winnipeg, a Master’s degree in Natural Resource Management from the Natural Resources Institute at the University of Manitoba and is a Certified Wildlife Biologist through The Wildlife Society. Her work has ranged from developing economic cost threshold values for pocket gophers, and managing species at risks on PFRA community pastures to the use of geomatics to assess riparian health from satellite imagery. Assessing riparian health lead to the creation of a risk assessment to identify the factors that predispose a livestock operation to predation and now to landscape scale pollinator resource assessments and BMP testing.

 Soil Fertility & Management Session

 Andrew McGuire

Andrew McGuire, Cropping Systems Agronomist, Washington State University - Andrew works with farmers to implement solutions to irrigated farming challenges in the Columbia Basin of Washington state. His current efforts focus on developing systems that build soils through high residue farming and cover cropping. He thinks, then writes about agriculture at WSU and on Twitter @agronomistag.

Mario Tenuta Mario Tenuta, Professor, University of Manitoba - Mario is the NSERC/WGRF/Fertilizer Canada Industrial Research Chair in 4R Nutrient Stewardship and Professor of Applied Soil Ecology at the University of Manitoba. His training includes a B.Sc. in Botany and Physical Geography, an M.Sc. in Soil Science, a Ph.D. in Plant Sciences, and Post-Doctoral research in Nematology. Mario was recently appointed a Senior Industrial Research Chair for five years. From 2006 to 2017, he served as the Canada Research Chair in Applied Soil Ecology. The Industrial Research Chair Program is advancing research in 4R nitrogen management practices on the Prairies to give farmers and industry solutions to increase profitability while improving soil and environmental health. Together with many colleagues, his team has also addressed many soil-related issues, including; improving nitrogen use efficiency of crops, mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, development of rapid molecular tests and field surveys of emerging soil borne diseases and nematode pests of crops, and comparison of sustainability of crop and livestock production systems on the Canadian Prairies. Mario has international experience through research in California, Peru, and China, and participation in a Canada Food Grain Bank Project in scaling conservation agriculture in East Africa and Global Affairs Canada and Fertilizer Canada’s 4R Solution Project in sub-Saharan Africa. To learn more about Mario and the Chair program, please visit Contact Mario: or on Twitter: @soilecologyUMan 
David Lobb David Lobb, Professor, University of Manitoba - David Lobb is a Professor of Landscape Ecology in the Department of Soil Science at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. He studies soil erosion and sedimentation processes, and how they impact our soil and water resources. He is internationally recognized for his research in tillage translocation and tillage erosion, particularly for his advances in experimental methods and modeling. David is active in several national and international organizations focused on soils.  David currently co-chairs the FAO’s Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils.


Chris Holzapfel  Research Manager, Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation - Raised on a small mixed farm near Odessa SK, Chris has over 20 years of experience with field crop research and has been Research Manager with IHARF since 2005. His education includes a diploma from Olds College in 2000, B.Sc. in Agricultural Science from the University of Lethbridge in 2005 and an M.Sc. in Soil Science from the University of Manitoba in 2008. Chris holds memberships to numerous professional organizations, served as an Associate Editor for the Canadian Journal of Plant Science and received the Outstanding Young Agrologist Award in 2014. His research activities with IHARF cover a broad range of agronomic issues and crop types, with a focus on applied research and helping develop practical solutions to today's farming challenges. IHARF is a not-for-profit organization funded by a combination of government, producer and industry sources, whose mission is to promote profitable and sustainable agriculture by facilitating research and technology transfer activities.

 Dr. Don Flaten

Don Flaten, Professor, University of Manitoba - As a professor in the Department of Soil Science, Don specializes in soil fertility,crop nutrition and nutrient management. Prior to teaching and conducting research on a full-time basis in the Department of Soil Science, Don was Director of the School of Agriculture at the University of Manitoba, as well as Provincial Soils Specialist for Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture and a District Agriculturalist for Alberta Agriculture.



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