Robert Saik, Agricultural Futurist
Robert Saik, Founder of The Agri-Trend® Group of Companies (now part of Trimble Navigation) is a Professional Agrologist and a Certified Agricultural Consultant.
In his capacity as Founder and now Global Business Development for Agri-Trend, Robert has been involved in the development of many new business processes and spearheaded several advancements in technology integration in agriculture including the development of The Agri-Data® Solution which was a winner of Alberta’s 2002 E-business of the Year for on-line farm data management as well as 2015 Ag Innovation of the Year Award by Agri-Trade Show.
In addition to being a keen entrepreneur, Rob’s technical strengths lie in soil chemistry, plant physiology and crop nutrition.
Agri-Trend was recognized as a 2012 & 2014 Western Regional Canada Top 50 Best Managed Company and was recognized by Venture Magazine as one of Alberta’s 2013 top 25 Most Innovative Organizations.
He is the creator of The Agri-Prize contest series, a skills based incentive competition for agriculture and launched The Canola 100 Agri-Prize in July 2015 which is a collaboration with Agri-Trend, John Deere and Glacier FarmMedia.
Robert was awarded the 2014 Canadian Agri-Marketer of the Year by the Canadian Association of Agricultural Marketers.
Robert is also the author of an Amazon 2014 Best of Books, “The Agriculture Manifesto” – 10 Key Drivers That Will Shape Agriculture in the next Decade. His is also the publisher of The AgADVANCE Journal, 2014 Western Trade Journal of the Year.
Read more about Rob at www.robertsaik.com.
Roland Fumasi, PhD, Rabobank
Headquartered in Fresno, California, Roland is responsible for covering and analyzing the U.S. and North American fresh fruit and vegetable industries, general California agriculture, and leads the Fresno research team. He combines a background in agribusiness research with international market development and finance experience in the agriculture industry. Prior to joining Rabobank, Fumasi served as a senior executive in the equipment industry beginning in 2008.
From 2005 to 2008, Fumasi served as a Research Associate for the Agricultural & Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University, where his research focused on specialty crops and alternative energy (bio-fuel) production. Roland completed his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University in 2013. Prior to Texas A&M, Roland was an active researcher at the California Institute for the Study of Specialty Crops at the California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly), where he produced an award-winning thesis related to specialty crops. Roland received both his B.S. and M.S. in Agribusiness from Cal Poly.
Ben Hughes, Zespri
Ben Hughes joined ZESPRI in 2012 based in Dubai as Regional Manager for the Middle East, Africa and Indian sub-continent focused on Sales, Marketing and Operations. In August 2017 he moved to the USA to take on the newly created role of General Manager Americas and leads a team of 20 people marketing over $100m worth of kiwifruit each year.
Prior to joining Zespri, Ben worked for Fonterra Brands based in Dubai in a variety of Marketing and Business Development roles covering the Middle East, Africa and former Russian Federation countries.
In New Zealand Ben worked for Goodman Fielder & Bluebird Foods in marketing and category management roles. Ben has a Master’s degree in Marketing and International Management from Waikato University and a Bachelor’s degree in Management.