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Keynote Speaker

Mike Pearson

What's Driving Agriculture in the Year Ahead?

Get ready to laugh and learn with Mike Pearson as he takes you on an entertaining journey – a look ahead at the outlook for the farm markets—and global trends impacting these markets. 

Farmer, broadcaster, and former banker, Mike Pearson keeps viewers informed on agricultural issues as co-host of the daily podcast Ag News Daily with over 6,000 listeners each month. He is the former host of Iowa Public Television's Market to Market weekly television show.

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as raised in south central Iowa, attended Simpson College, where he majored in History, and continued to run the family farm south of Winterset, IA.  After graduation he moved to Grinnell, Iowa where he is a part-time farmer and also has experience as a banker with emphasis on Agriculture and Residential Lending.

Derek Sandison


Derek Sandison, WSDA Director

Derek I. Sandison was appointed director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture by Gov. Jay Inslee in June 2015.

Sandison, a lifelong Washington resident, has worked in both the public and private sectors for more than 40 years. Before his current appointment, Sandison served as director of the Office of Columbia River within the state Department of Ecology. There, he was responsible for projects to develop water supplies vital for the state’s agricultural community. Previously, he led Ecology’s Central Region, an area composed of seven counties stretching from Canada to Washington’s southern border.

Other career experience includes 14 years as senior vice president of a Northwest consulting firm and 12 years in local government.

As state agriculture director, Sandison supports and promotes Washington’s rich and diverse agricultural industry both nationally and internationally. He currently serves as chair of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture’s Marketing and International Trade Committee.

Sandison has a master’s of science in natural resource management and a bachelor’s degree in biological science, both from Central Washington University. He has received many awards throughout his career, including the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s John W. Keys III Award for building partnerships and strengthening relationships and the Washington State Water Resources Association’s Water Resources Leadership Award.