Focus On Farmers: Activating Climate-Smart Change With Human Dimensions Insights

January 23-24, 2023

Grand Hyatt Hotel in Nashville

In conjunction with the 2023 Top Producer Summit, Jan. 23-25

Our room block is sold out, however you can still contact the Hyatt directly or other hotels in the area to secure your room.

As unprecedented funding filters through the conservation community, there has never been a more important moment in time to understand how producers make decisions and engage with conservation management practices. Learn what barriers farmers face, the support they need and how to capitalize on this unique opportunity as we explore Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities projects and how the sustainability community is coming together to accelerate the adoption of climate-positive agriculture.

Monday, January 23

  • Noon
    • Conference Begins (Summit Ballrooms A&B)
  • Noon-1:00
    • Lunch
  • 12:40-12.45
    • Welcome, Trust In Food
  • 12:45-1:00
    • Putting Human Dimensions In the Center Of Climate-Smart Change
    • Speaker: Amy Skoczlas Cole, president, Trust In Food


      • Producers see a litany of barriers and challenges to participating in conservation programs. We’ll go behind the farmgate to detail real and perceived barriers and discuss proven strategies for overcoming them operationally, financially and technically. Get insights on what a change mindset looks like with a glimpse into Trust In Food’s Human Dimensions of Change data and research. Organizations that put these insights to work can help the next tranche of farmers and ranchers on their journey of adopting climate-smart practices, products, services and technology—using individualized approaches markedly different from those that helped early adopters.
  • 1:00-1:40
    • Innovative Finance and Risk Management For Climate-Smart Agriculture
    • Speakers: 
      Cristian Barcan, vice president and sustainability officer, Rabo AgriFinance
      Sally Flis, senior manager of North America sustainable ag & carbon, Nutrien Ag Solutions
      Scott Herndon, president, Field to Market
      • Join a discussion on how companies are innovating financing and insurance mechanisms to incentivize the adoption of conservation practices and share the risk of perceived barriers to participation. Learn how pilot projects are shaping the future of financial products that can help farmers and ranchers feel supported in practice change to accelerate participation in climate-smart programs. 
      • Moderator: David Frabotta, director of climate-smart content, Trust In Food
  • 1:40-2:20
    • Top Producer Panel Discussion
    • Speakers: 
      Rob Barley, Star Rock Farms, Conestoga, Penn.
      Chris Adams, Adams Family Farms, Grand Forks, N.D.
      Matt Splitter, Splitter Farms, Sterling, Kan.
      • Additionality requirements of many climate-smart programs have raised concerns among early adopters, including large farm operations where conservation practices have been in use for decades. Are there changes climate-smart leaders could make to be more inclusive of large-scale farm operations? Hear how large farming operations view climate-smart practices and the insights they have on near-term and longer-term solutions that could help scale climate-smart systems faster on working lands.
    • Moderator: Sara Shafer, editorial director, Top Producer and Top Producer Summit
  • 2:20-3:00
    • Making Carbon Markets Work For Producers
    • Speakers: 
      Chad Ellis, CEO, Texas Agricultural Land Trust; founding chair, Trust In Beef
      Mitchell Hora, founder and CEO, Continuum Ag
      Liz Hunt, head of sustainable and responsible business, Syngenta


      • Carbon offsets, regenerative acres, and climate-smart commodities, Oh My! Producers have unbound potential to capitalize on these similar but different opportunities, but they see pain points and need help in navigating the complexities. A vast majority of farmers and ranchers report serious concern about overcoming technical and financial roadblocks to success in carbon markets. To gain traction, markets must respond to the real and perceived barriers inhibiting participation. Join a panel discussion on what’s working in carbon markets and what changes or new features might be needed going forward. As the marketplace matures, ecosystem services will need to embrace farmer-facing insights and share more of the value and risk to bolster interest and participation in one of the most promising climate solutions in agriculture.
    • Moderator: Amy Skoczlas Cole, president, Trust In Food
  • 3:00-3:20
    • Coffee, tea and snacks
  • 3:20-4:00
    • Farmers Out Front: How Producers Are Making Climate-Smart Ag Mainstream
    • Speakers: 
      Sarah Jones, Tennessee rancher, Red Hill Farms
      Aaron Kruger, Indiana row crop farmer, ACAM Conservation Steward
      Richard Lyons, Illinois row crop farmer
      Kimberly Raikes, Whitelock Community Farm Manager and Community Educator, ACAM Conservation Steward


      • There is no better proving ground for climate-smart management practices than working farms and ranches, and producers value the experiences of other producers when they evaluate new practices in their operations. We’ll explore best practices of peer networking and knowledge transfer for producer-led learning groups, field days, community events and other ways producers are finding the support they need to feel capable of making change and adopting climate-smart practices.
    • Moderator: David Frabotta, director of climate-smart content, Trust In Food
  • 4:00-4:40
    • Farm Policy and Funding Update
    • Speakers: 
      Bruce Knight, principal and founder, Strategic Conservation Solutions
      John Larson, senior vice president, American Farmland Trust
      Randy Russell, president, The Russell Group
      Amy Saltzman, senior program officer, Walton Family Foundation
      • With unprecedented federal funding percolating through organizations that work to accelerate climate-smart agriculture, we’ll look at the next set of priorities in this Farm Bill preview and consider how they might affect conservation agriculture implementation. Join the discussion on some of the prevailing thoughts on The Hill on how climate-smarts policies will be prioritized, implemented and streamlined into broader programs.
    • Moderator: Jay Vroom, chair of America’s Conservation Ag Movement and advisor to Trust In Food
  • 4:40-5:25
    • Closing Keynote: Reimaging Food Supply Chains Amid Regenerative Agriculture


      • Join EY Agriculture Partner Rob Dongoski as he explores the dynamic influence of consumer trends and demand from food companies and processors for climate-smart products. Learn how food companies are making changes to source sustainable products and how this could change their relationship with producers and influence food production systems.
  • 5:25-5:30
    • Closing remarks and adjournments
  • 5:30-6:30
    • Opening Reception with Top Producer Summit 
  • 6:30-8:30
    • Trust In Food Reception and Dinner (Summit Foyer and Summit Ballrooms A&B)

Tuesday, January 24 

  • 7:30-8:30
    • Breakfast
  • 8:15-9:00
    • The Unprecedented Opportunity in Climate-Smart Agriculture


      • Join USDA-NRCS Chief Terry Cosby (confirmed) discuss how the agency is leading its partners and producers in extracting the full economic value of farms and ranches using climate-smart management practices to enable productivity, profitability and maximize local resources and community impact. Learn about priorities for historically underserved populations, climate-smart commodities markets and how legacy farm bill programs will intersect and be administered along with new funding mechanisms.
  • 9:00-11:00
    • Partnerships For Climate-Smart Commodities Lightning Round


      • As the sustainability community collaborates to engineer pilot projects for Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities awards and other sustainability programs, there is a pressing need to understand how programs will be implemented, monitored and measured. Take this opportunity to understand the structures, goals and opportunities to cooperate with frameworks that are being developed and implemented during the next three years and beyond. Get a comprehensive view on PCSC grants from grant designs that focus on beef, pork, dairy, row crops, specialty crops, data management and more.
    • National Sorghum Producers Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Project
      • Presenter: Adam York, National Sorghum Producers
    • Scaling Methane Emissions Reductions and Soil Carbon Sequestration — A Value-Added Commodities Approach to United States Dairy
      • Presenter: Hansel New, Dairy Farmers of America 
    • National Pork Board’s Advancing U.S. Pork Sustainability and Market Value Project
      • Presenter: Billy Gascoigne, Ducks Unlimited
    • U.S. Climate-Smart Cotton Program
      • Presenter: Andy Jordan, U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol 
    • A Vibrant Future: Pilot Projects for Climate-Smart Fruit and Vegetable Production, Marketing, and Valuation of Ecosystem Services
      • Presenter: Max Teplitski, International Fresh Produce Assn. 
    • Tyson Foods, Inc. Climate-Smart Commodities Project
      • Presenter: Justin Ransom, Tyson Foods, Inc. 
    • Climate-Smart Connected Ag Project
      • Presenters: Amy Skoczlas Cole, Trust In Food; Amy O’Shea, Certis Biologicals; Darren Howie, Trimble 
  • 11:00
    • Closing remarks and adjournments
  • 11:30-1:30
    • ACAM Board Meeting
  • 1:30
    • Lunch
  • 2:30-4:30
    • Climate-Smart Connected Ag Project workshop (partners only)
  • 4:30-6:00
    • Top Producer of the Year Awards Reception
  • 6:00-8:00
    • Top Producer of the Year Awards Banquet 

We appreciate you contacting us!

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— Your Trust in Food Team