2020 Speakers


Tiffany Lee
North American Meat Institute

Dr. Tiffany Lee earned her Master of Science degree in 2012, with a focus on ruminant nutrition and physiology.  She also earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Kansas State University in 2012. She practiced veterinary medicine in a mixed animal clinic in Limon, Colorado.  In 2017, she earned a PhD in Pathobiology from Kansas State University, where her dissertation focused upon beef cattle health and welfare. Dr. Lee currently serves as a Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs for the North American Meat Institute, where she provides veterinary consult and informed scientific analysis to its members on many issues, including food safety, nutrition, public health initiatives, biotechnology, new technologies, research priorities, and animal health and welfare.  She is a liaison member of the Presidential Advisory Council for Combating Antimicrobial Resistance. She serves on the American Association of Bovine Practitioners’ Foundation Board, Animal Welfare Committee, and Genomics Committee. She is also chair-elect of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians’ Pork Safety Committee, and serves on the National Swine Disease Response Council. 

Presentation: The Alternative Protein Movement - A Challenge or a Unique Opportunity?
Wednesday Plenary

Brett Stuart
Global AgriTrends

Brett Stuart is the president of Global AgriTrends. The firm was organized in 2006 and provides global market research, analysis and forecasting to a variety of clients around the world.  He was formerly the economist for the U.S. Meat Export Federation.  He has conducted numerous research and analysis projects in the global meat trade area as well as advising government representatives on international trade issues.  Mr. Stuart has conducted on-the-ground agriculture industry research for a variety of clients on six continents. Brett was raised on a cattle ranch operating in Utah and Wyoming and has previously worked as a market analyst and controller in the agriculture industry. He received an undergraduate degree in accounting at Utah State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Nebraska.  He and his wife Amanda live on a farm near Preston, Idaho with their five children.

Presentation: Global Markets & Trade
Thursday Plenary

Ryan Brook
University of Saskatchewan,

Ryan is an associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan, and oversees the wild boar project. Ryan obtained a BSc in Zoology, Masters of Natural Resource Management, and PhD in Environment and Geography all from the University of Manitoba. He then completed a PDF in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary. His research interests lie in wildlife ecology and health, aboriginal community engagement and traditional ecological knowledge, farmer knowledge about wildlife, youth engagement in science, and management of the wildlife-livestock interface.

Presentation: Wild Boars in Canada
Thursday Closing Plenary


Mike Tokach
Kansas State University

Named among the 50 people who has made the greatest impact in the U.S. swine industry in the last 50 years, Mike Tokach, professor of animal sciences and industry, is a swine nutrition researcher and extension specialist at Kansas State University. Tokach joined K-State in 1991. In 2013, he earned the title of university distinguished professor. Tokach is the author of more than 320 articles in scientific journals, nine book chapters and more than 1,000 extension and non-refereed articles. Tokach has received more than $18 million in research grants and gifts. He also has been awarded seven patents for his research, and has given more than 300 invited lectures at national and international conferences. Tokach has also advised and mentored over 100 advanced-degree students and visiting professors since joining the university. Mike’s wife Lisa also specializes in Swine as a veterinarian. Together, they have three children, Sage, Rogan, and Fiona.

Presentation: Feeding the Grow-Finish Pig & Managing Their Increasing Carcass Weights
Breakout #2

Francesc Molist
Schothorst Feed Research

Francesc Molist, veterinarian and nutritionist, joined Schothorst Feed Research as a researcher and consultant in 2011. Since 2017 he leads the research group as Research and Development Manager. Schothorst Feed Research provides consulting services in animal nutrition in more than 22 countries, representing a total of 9% of the world production of feed. The research activities focuses mainly on swine health & nutrition, nutrient digestibility & requirements & feed processing and swine nutrition & animal behaviour & animal genetics. Francesc earned his degree at University of Veterinary Medicine in the Autonomous University of Barcelona. During his Masters and Doctorate in Animal Science at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, he collaborated with several major research groups in swine nutrition from across the world. Francesc is the author of numerous scientific publications and presentations as well as articles in scientific journals and conferences.

Presentation: Feeding Nursery Pigs Without Dietary Antibiotics
Breakout #2

Volker Gerdts

Dr. Volker Gerdts is the Director and CEO of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac), University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, SK Canada.  Dr. Volker Gerdts received a DVM in 1994 from Hanover Veterinary School and a German PhD equivalent from the Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Island of Riems and Hanover Veterinary School, Germany in 1997.  He has served in various administrative roles and served on various review panels including NIH, NSERC, CIHR, CFI, the Gairdner Foundation, etc. Dr. Gerdts’ research interests are in the area of neonatal vaccines for humans and animals, mucosal immunology, and vaccine delivery and formulation including the development of novel adjuvants and the use of large animal models for human diseases.  

Presentation: Novel Advances in Vaccine Development
Breakout #3

Jessica Law
Prairie Swine Health Services

Dr. Jessica Law graduated from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary. She joined Prairie Swine Health Services after graduation to pursue production animal medicine. In practice, Jessica enjoys working to improve herd health and performance through preventative herd health programs, reproduction, biosecurity and welfare assessments, as well as disease investigations. Her passions lie in pathology, epidemiology and theriogenology. Jessica is currently serving as the vice-president of both the Western Canadian Association of Swine Veterinarians and the Canadian Association of Swine Veterinarians. In 2018, Jessica received the Rising Star Award at the Alberta Pork Congress.

Presentation: Vaccines in Practice - Understanding and Optimizing Your Vaccines
Breakout #3

Dan Bussières
Groupe Cérès

Dan Bussières, a swine nutritionist graduated in 1996 from Laval University in Quebec, and his partner, founded Groupe Cérès Inc. in 2004. This company, based in Lévis, specializes in all areas of swine production. Groupe Cérès service offer includes consulting services in swine production, production and distribution of breeding stock and sales of nutritional products. Groupe Cérès is also involved in swine production managing a net work that produce over 250,000 pigs annually, Dan works on the development and monitoring of nutrition programs for swine producers all over Canada. Group Cérès Inc. and its affiliates influence the feeding of more than 4.5 million pigs annually, which include the supervision of the nutrition and R&D for HyLife, one of the top 2 swine producers in Canada. He is also consulting in nutrition and production with Tianzow breeding, a company in China that has 80,000 sows in production. Dan is working with many industry partners to conduct field research projects which aim at developing new feed programs in order to optimize the performances of pigs, their profitability and to improve meat quality. Today, Groupe Cérès Inc. employs more than 80 people and is committed to continue working with Canadian-produced pigs.

Presentation: Key Aspects of Capturing Reproductive & Sow Lifetime Performance
Breakout #4

Bob Thompson

Dr. Bob Thompson joined PIC USA in 1991 as Inventory, Quality Control and Transportation manager.  Starting in 1996 he became responsible for PIC KY Owned Farms and a North Carolina DN.  Following the Genetic Nucleus PRRS Elimination programs in 2000 began working with Contract Multiplication and Boar studs.  In 2004 he became dedicated to the Health Assurance Department more recently he has worked more with customers in Health Services.  Retiring in February of 2019, he has been doing some swine consulting and working with his beef cow operation. Bob spent his younger days in NW Iowa. Following graduation from Iowa State with a DVM, he practiced in Nebraska for several years.  In 1989 Bob left practice and started a Masters program at the U. of IL.  Bob and his wife, Deb, reside in Franklin, KY.

Presentation: Factors Involved in Sow Mortality
Breakout #4

Benny Mote
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Benny Mote was born and raised in Happy Texas on a small family farm, which primarily consisted of a 100 sow farrow to finish operation.  Dr. Mote received his BS degree in Animal science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2002 and his Ph.D. in Animal Genetics at Iowa State University in 2008.  While at Iowa State University, his primary research focuses on identifying candidate genes that affect the length of a sow’s productive life.  Upon the completion of his Ph.D. degree, he joined Fast Genetics and was one of three geneticist and system selection expert until 2015 when he joined the faculty at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as an assistant professor and Swine Extension Specialist.  Specific research on pampiniform plexus size in boars indicated its heritability and importance in selection for boar fertility.  Objective measures of sow feet and body confirmation for use in gilt selection are ongoing indicator traits for sow productive life. Additionally, the ongoing research utilizing a computer tracking system for pig identification and activity will benefit the swine industry as it offers a unique ability to obtain individual and group activity measurements that have never been identified before. This system will allow for genetic selection of activity traits and simultaneously allow producers to enhance their management and facilities to improve animal well-being and production. His research interest lies in using novel technologies in conjunction with applied, molecular, and functional genetics to enhance commercially relevant traits of economic importance in swine production.

Presentation: Individual Pig Activity Tracking in Group Housed Swine Offers a Deeper Understanding of Swine Production
Breakout #6

Chris Bomgaars

Chris Bomgaars is Founder and CEO of EveryPig, a first-of-its-kind pig health and production management tool. He graduated from Loyola University New Orleans with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Prior to Loyola, Bomgaars studied Spanish and International Business at the Universidad de Granada in Spain. Son of a small and large animal veterinarian, Bomgaars was raised in Northwest Iowa. In 2008 he started working with his father, who had begun to own livestock with some of his pig-owning clients. Bomgaars focused obsessively on growing the new company for over 10 years and successfully lead the scaling of the business from approximately 30 farms to over 350. In the process of growing the business, Bomgaars’ innovative spirit led him to continually look for better ways to handle animal health and welfare issues. Having experienced firsthand the need for a modern solution to help manage pig health more effectively and improve the way pig farms operate, Bomgaars decided to create EveryPig – a simple yet powerful pig health and production management tool. EveryPig’s easy-to-use web-based platform allows pig owners to oversee their entire operation and communicate with their caregivers and veterinarians in real time, from any location. Currently utilized to successfully manage millions of pigs around the world, the software solution created by Bomgaars, is the only complete pig-health management app of its kind available on the market.

Presentation: EveryPig - A Better Way to Manage Pig Health 
Breakout #6

Tina Varughese

Named one of Canada’s 10 Notable Speakers by Ignite Magazine, audiences describe Tina as ‘dynamic, highly energetic, relevant and hilarious’. She consistently rates as the ‘the best speaker of the conference’. Her interactive approach is insightful yet practical and her delivery is highly entertaining. She breaks down barriers to create a comfortable, inclusive and fun space leaving attendees inspired to think, behave, act or communicate with intention. is an Indo-Canadian daughter of first generation East Indian parents, which allows her to find ‘the best of both worlds’ and shed light, knowledge and most importantly universal humour into the intercultural workplace. She draws from her experiences as an entrepreneur, mother, daughter, wife, sister and friend when delivering keynotes on work-life balance and diversity and inclusion-topics which resonate with her both professionally and personally. For fifteen years Tina Varughese, B.A.; B.Comm, worked with immigrants in her roles with the Province of Alberta’s immigration office as well as running her own successful relocation and settlement firm. She is currently the immediate Past-President of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (Calgary). Tina is a contributing writer for the Human Resource Institute of Alberta’s Network magazine, Calgary Real Estate News, Home to Home magazine and was profiled in Alberta’s Venture Magazine. Tina has been the face of diversity, literally, when she was chosen to be in Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty representing beauty in diversity. With two kids, five fish and one husband, she resides in Calgary where she recently began hip hop classes.

Presentation: 50 Shades of Beige: Communicate with the Cross-Cultural Advantage
Breakout #9 (Thursday Only)