2018 Keynote Speakers

Josh Henretig

 Josh Henretig, Senior Director AI for Earth and Sustainability, Microsoft

Josh Henretig is a Sr. Director for Microsoft and is responsible for leading the AI for Earth and Corporate Sustainability programs for the company. In this role, Josh oversees the management and implementation of initiatives that: 1) enable the company to anticipate and respond to climate-related issues, 2) support energy, carbon, water and waste projects that reduce the environmental impact of Microsoft’s operations, 3) deploy Microsoft’s intelligent cloud and AI infrastructure through the AI for Earth program to enable people and organizations to sustainably monitor, model and manage land, water, and climate impacts, and 4) help establish Microsoft as a thought leader and innovator on key environmental issues.


Josh has been at Microsoft for over 15 years and has helped design and execute the company’s global environmental strategy since the program’s inception. Most recently, he helped establish the AI for Earth program which was funded with $50 million and a 5-year commitment from Microsoft President Brad Smith in December 2017.


Over the years, Josh has contributed to all aspects of Microsoft’s environmental strategy, from implementing responsible business practices that have led to the company’s commitment to become carbon neutral and to be powered by 100% renewable energy through an internal price on carbon, to projects and programs that advance social opportunity and environmental sustainability in communities, to creating technology innovation that empower people and organizations to sustain and manage earth’s life support systems. 

Ken Ferrie Ken Ferrie, Farm Journal Field Agronomist 

As Farm Journal Field Agronomist, Ken Ferrie oversees the field trials in the Farm Journal Test Plots program, applying his extensive, cutting-edge knowledge and systems approach to farming. Ken is one of the nation’s few completely independent agronomists, operating his own agronomic consulting business—Crop-Tech Consulting (CTC)—in central Illinois. A graduate of Illinois State University and a native of northeast Iowa, Ken has previous experience as a floater operator, crop scout, co-op manager, company agronomist and maintenance manager over three elevators.




Rob FraleyDr. Robb Fraley, World Food Prize Laureate and Former Monsanto CTO

Dr. Robert Fraley is the former executive vice president and chief technology officer at Monsanto Company. He has been with the company for more than 35 years, most recently overseeing the company’s global research and development division which includes plant breeding, plant biotechnology, agricultural biologicals, digital agriculture and crop protection.


Often recognized as the father of agricultural biotechnology, Dr. Fraley developed the first genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the early 1980s as a solution for farmers battling pests and weeds that threatened their yields. He has authored more than 100 publications and patent applications relating to technical advances in agricultural sciences. Some of Dr. Fraley’s most distinguished honors include being recognized as a World Food Prize Laureate in 2013, receiving the National Medal of Technology from President Clinton in 1998 and receiving the National Academy of Sciences Award for the Industrial Application of Science in 2008.




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