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Conference Speaker Bios

Victoria Stamper, United Potato Growers of Canada

As a graduate of the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing, and growing up in London, Ontario, Victoria is no stranger to farms, but her career took her down the path of stainless steel distribution until she joined the potato industry in April 2022 as General Manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada.  Although new to the agriculture industry, Victoria brings many years of supply and demand management experience to the role.

The UPGC is a non-profit organization working to provide the potato industry with information, intelligence, and analysis that allows producers to make timely informed production and marketing decisions.  Victoria spends her time between her home office of Quebec and travelling across Canada meeting with provincial members as well as growers and packers, gathering feedback about the crop and the industry as a whole.

Mark Klompien, President/CEO of the United Potato Growers of America

Before joining UPGA in 2016, Mark Klompien served for four and half years as president of the Idaho Grower Shippers Association. Prior to his time with the IGSA, he was the vice president of supply chain management at Idahoan Foods after spending 18 years at Basic American Foods and six years at Lamb Weston. During his tenure with BAF, Mark held a number of positions in engineering, operations, raw material, supply chain, procurement, and government relations.

Mark has spent virtually his entire life in potatoes – from growing up and working on his father’s seed potato farm in Montana, to his lengthy career in the potato processing industry. He has worked first-hand with all of the grower shippers in Idaho, as well as most other potato-producing states, and has built positive and trusting relationships along the way. Mark has served as the chairman of the Potato Executive Committee for the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, and also served as a board member and executive committee vice-chair of IACI. He served on the College of Agriculture advisory board for the University of Idaho, and on the board of the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association. Mark holds a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture engineering from Montana State University and has completed the Stanford Graduate School of Business executive program.

Leigh Anderson, Senior Economist, FCC

Leigh Anderson is a Senior Economist at FCC with experience in agricultural markets and risk. He specializes in monitoring and analyzing FCC’s portfolio, industry health and providing industry risk analysis. In addition to his speaking engagements on agriculture and economics, Leigh is a regular contributor to the FCC Economics blog. Leigh came to FCC in 2015, joining the Economics team. Prior to FCC, he worked in the policy branch of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. He holds a master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Saskatchewan.

Krista Prescott, Director of Human Resources, Green Diamond Equipment 

Graduating from UNB with a Bachelor of Arts, and NSCC with an Advanced Diploma in Human Resource Management, Krista received her CPHR designation in 2019. With over a decade of experience in both Human Resources and Agriculture, Krista combines her experiences in both industries to meet the specialized demands of the Agricultural Sector.

Sally Ripley, Senior Advisor, People & Culture

Sally brings a unique professional background to MC Advisory with her combined experience as an HR professional and social worker. Through her varied experience, Sally has gained a strong knowledge and understanding of human behavior and leads with a collaborative people-focused approach. Sally has worked extensively in the public, private and not for profit sectors in Prince Edward Island. Sally is highly experienced in recruitment and retention practices and in working directly with leadership teams, employees and stakeholders to proactively address workplace matters and support teams in fostering a healthy and respectful workplace culture.

Laurie Loane, Executive Director PEI Agriculture Sector Council

Laurie, as the Executive Director of the PEI Agriculture Sector Council, leads initiatives and training and education programs to support and promote the agriculture industry in PEI. She establishes partnerships, conducts research, and advocates for the sector. She also founded Agriculture in the Classroom-PEI to educate students about agriculture and its significance through interactive programs. Additionally, Laurie sits on the Sector Engagement on Skills Development for AAFC, which identifies and addresses skills gaps in agriculture and the National Workforce Strategic Plan for Canadian Agriculture Human Resource Council. Overall, her dedication and leadership have made her a respected figure in the industry, with a significant impact on the sector and a focus on inspiring young people to pursue careers in agriculture.

Darin Gibson, Research Agronomist and the President of Gaia Consulting Ltd, located in Newton, Manitoba. 

Gaia Consulting conducts potato and other crop research trials, contracting with crop protection, fertilizer and seed companies as well as grower organizations, processors, universities and government.  Darin is a member of the Potato Association of America and the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants.  Darin holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree from the University of Manitoba and a Master of Science from North Dakota State University.

Tracy Shinners-Carnelley, Vice President, Research, Quality & Sustainability at Peak of the Market Ltd.

She leads the research program at Peak which is focused on variety evaluation, improved pest management, and optimization of agronomic practices for fresh market potatoes. Tracy also spends time working with growers in their fields and packing houses, supporting activities in these same areas. She has a passion for working closely with the industry on challenging crop protection and production issues, both provincially and nationally. Tracy is the current Chairperson of the Potato Sustainability Alliance, and Vice Chairperson of the Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada Crop Protection Advisory Group.

Tracy obtained a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (Pest Management) from Dalhousie University and a PhD from the University of Alberta (Plant Science). In 2020 she was appointed as an Adjunct Professor (Faculty of Graduate Studies) Faculty of Agriculture, Dalhousie University.

Alex MeInitchouck, Digital Farming and Precision Ag expert.

He holds his Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences, and second Master’s Degree in Soils and Environmental Sciences, backed up by 30 years of work experience at the international level, including digital Ag projects in Canada, USA, Germany, Switzerland, Brazil, Australia, and Eastern Europe. He is a member of Alberta Institute of Agrologists in Canada (P.Ag.) and an author of more than 50 publications in scientific journals and proceedings of conferences.

Alex is the founder of IntelMax Corp. In 2015, the main asset of his business (Zoner.Ag) was acquired by Bayer CropScience to become a geospatial engine for the new Digital Farming Platform, which is currently branded as XarvioTM and owned by BASF.

In 2019 – 2023, Alex served as Chief Technology Officer – Digital Ag at Olds College of Agriculture and Technology, leading the college’s Digital Ag strategy and the development of the Digital Ag Platform at the Olds College Smart Farm - a 3,500-acre, technology enabled applied research and learning environment.

Aitazaz Farooque, Professor and Director for the Centre of Excellence in Food Security and Sustainability at the UPEI

Dr. Farooque’s research focuses on fundamental understanding and development of state-of-the-art precision agriculture technologies for Atlantic Canadian agriculture industry. Dr. Farooque was selected as one of the Top 125 researchers of Canada to receive NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplement Research Grant. Aitazaz is supervising 13 PhDs, 16 MScs, 4 post-doctoral fellows, 7 research associates, and over 30 undergraduate research students. Dr. Farooque has authored/co-authored many journal articles, book chapters, conference proceedings, industry presentations, and keynote talks at the international conferences and professional events.

Dr. Farooque has received various national awards in recognition of his excellent contributions in research, teaching, and services and has garnered over $10M in research funding from various provincial, federal and industry funding agencies in Canada. Aitazaz is a registered Professional Engineer in both PEI and Nova Scotia. Dr. Farooque is a professional agrologist registered in PEI.