Germania Place

108 W. Germania Place

United States

Midwest AgTech Conference – Chicago, IL
Royse Events LLC
Tuesday, November 15, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Welcome to the first annual Royse Law Midwest AgTech Conference!

Our startup focused AgTech events connect farmers, founders, investors, educators, and policymakers.

Curious about AgTech’s investment outlook? Wondering what growers really need? Is market adoption really happening? Join us in the Windy City for a day of expert panels with deep industry knowledge both in Agriculture and Technology. We will discuss previous, current, and developing strategies to solve some of agriculture’s biggest pain points, especially in crop production. Take advantage of our many networking breaks without missing important panel content.

Stick around for our Silicon Valley style Demo Day featuring on-stage pitches by some of the most promising Midwest AgTech companies in front of 12 judges from private equity, venture capital, angels, and corporate venture.


Keynote Speakers:

9:00 am – 9:20 am

Jim Slama, Family Farmed

Jim Slama founded FamilyFarmed at a time when few people recognized the term “Good Food movement,” and demand for locally, sustainably, humanely, and fairly produced food was still a tiny sliver of the overall consumer market. Under Slama’s leadership during more than 15 years since, FamilyFarmed has become an important catalyst in the booming, consumer-driven rise of the movement, helping to build a robust Good Food cluster in its home base of Chicago while expanding the national scope and impact of its work.


9:20 am – 9:40 am

Leland (Lee) Strom, Farm Illinois

Leland (Lee) Strom serves as CEO of FARM Illinois (Food and Agriculture RoadMap), the statewide, multisector association organized to develop and implement a comprehensive and integrated strategic plan with the goal of positioning Illinois and the Chicago Region as the global leader in food and agriculture system innovation. The plan aims to ensure the state’s leadership in sustainably meeting the 21st-century challenge of global and local food security.

He joined FARM Illinois in March of 2015 following more than eight years in Washington D.C., where he served as CEO and Chairman of the Board of the Farm Credit Administration. FCA is the safety and soundness regulator of the $300 billion national network of Farm Credit System institutions and Farmer Mac. He also served as chair of the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation.

Lee has served as an agriculture advisor on the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Advisory Board on Agriculture, Labor, and Small Business, and in numerous other leadership capacities within the agriculture and finance sectors for the past 35 years. He currently serves as a principal with Open Prairie, a premier, Midwest-based, private fund management firm currently establishing the Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund, a USDA licensed Rural Business Investment Corporation.

In 2011, Lee was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Northern Illinois University for his efforts in protecting and managing the assets of the nation’s agriculture industry.

He and his wife reside on a farm just west of Chicago in Kane County, Illinois where their ancestors settled in the late 1800’s. He’s been involved in the agriculture industry his entire career.


12:40 pm – 1:10 pm

Colleen Callahan, USDA Rural Development in Illinois

Colleen Callahan grew up on a purebred Hampshire hog, Angus cattle and grain farm near Milford, Illinois. She received her bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications from the University of Illinois. She was the first woman agribusiness director for WMBD Radio and TV in Peoria. After 30 years with WMBD, Colleen started her own communications firm, specializing in giving motivational speeches, facilitating meetings and debates, and coaching individuals and organizations in public speaking and preparing for media interviews. She has traveled on official missions to Afghanistan, Iraq, the Middle East and Cuba.

Colleen has a strong commitment to public service and has served on numerous executive boards throughout the Peoria area and the State of Illinois. She also served as the first woman president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting and is the first woman inducted into its Hall of Fame.


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