By Top Crop Manager
Introducing the panellists who participated in our ag-tech roundtable discussion.
Meet the four panellists who participated in Cultivating Innovation, a roundtable discussion about the current and future uses of technology in agriculture. Learn more about the panellists in this video.
CEO, Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN)
> Raised in a small rural Southwestern Ontario agricultural community, Kerry is a long way from where she thought her career would lead when she enrolled at the University of Guelph with a view to becoming a dietitian. The U of G food science-oriented program differed from most in that it offered business components. The combination of her grassroots upbringing and a food science specialization led her to the Beef Information Centre (BIC), where she spent 10 years, discovering innate abilities in marketing and business before leaving as the National Product Development Manager. This early managerial experience allowed her to hone natural skills and develop additional competencies that have since proven invaluable. More importantly, working at BIC was fun, instilling in Kerry a love for, and interest in, Canada’s agriculture and food sectors. This set the stage for her next opportunity with the Mallot Creek Group, a growing, Elora, Ontario-based agri-food consultancy she would call home for almost 17 years, rising to the level of vice-president. Her time at Mallot rounded out her skill set, adding project and people management, as well as strategic business planning for their agri-food clients across Canada. (Did we mention she’s certified in Financial Accounting for Business by the Canadian Management Centre?) In 2020, she became Champion Petfoods’ Vice-President of Technical Product Development and Innovation, a job that led naturally to her current role as CEO of CAAIN, where she oversees and supports ag-tech innovation projects. Kerry and her athletic therapist husband, Dave, are the proud parents of two grown children and an excellent running companion, Molly, their sassy Australian Shepherd.
CEO, Combyne Ag
> Alain Goubau is the CEO of Combyne Ag, an agtech software company that provides on-farm grain accounting and decision-making tools. Through its open API infrastructure, Combyne Ag also helps integrate on-farm grain quality and production history data with downstream grain and oilseed value chains.
Alain grew up and continues to advise his family’s commercial dairy and cash crop farm in Ontario. Prior to Combyne Ag, Alain led operations at two other venture-backed agtech and cleantech startups. He has led various operational and strategy engagements within McKinsey & Company’s agri-business team. Early in his career, Alain was a field engineer and project manager building chemical plants across the globe.
Alain holds a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from McGill University and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, with a focus on food, energy, and environmental regulation.
Chief Technology Officer, Digital Agriculture, Olds College
> Alex Melnitchouck is the Chief Technology Officer, Digital Agriculture at Olds College. He holds his Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences, and second master’s degree in Soils and Environmental Sciences, backed up by 25 years of work experience at the international level, including precision ag projects in Canada, USA, Germany, Switzerland, Brazil, Australia, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. He is a member of the Alberta Institute of Agrologists in Canada (P.Ag.) and an author of more than 50 publications in scientific journals and proceedings of conferences.
In 2012, Alex founded IntelMax Corp. and created Zoner.Ag – a web platform for managing and analyzing geospatial data. In 2015, Zoner.Ag was acquired by Bayer CropScience to become a geospatial engine for the new Digital Farming Platform (currently known as Xarvio and owned by BASF).
Alex leads Olds College’s Digital Ag strategy and the development of the Digital Ag Platform at the Olds College Smart Farm – a 2,800-acre, technology enabled applied research and learning environment.
Director, FCC Ag Expert
> Darcy Herauf is the Director of the AgExpert division at FCC, where he leads the team that creates solid and simple software solutions that help Canadian farmers digitize their farm records. Darcy was born and raised on a mixed farm in southeast Saskatchewan and attended the University of Regina where he received a degree in business.
His 20-plus year career in agriculture has been mostly spent at FCC, where he has held a variety of roles in finance, marketing and information technology. Since joining the AgExpert team, he’s focused on creating practical solutions that help Canadian farmers better manage their financial and field information. FCC AgExpert was the first Canadian-headquartered company to achieve their AgData transparent certification, and the team continues to play a leading role in educating and promoting data transparency in the Canadian agriculture industry.
Darcy also has a lifelong passion for farming and is actively operating the family farm. He currently sits on the boards of the AgData Transparent (ADT) group and Agri-food Innovation Council (AIC).