Judges

JAI SHROFF
Chairman & Group CEO
UPL Limited

Jai Shroff is the Chairman & Group CEO of UPL. He is a well-recognized global leader in sustainable agricultural development and across agribusiness, with over 30 years’ experience in India and internationally. UPL is focused on strengthening food security in 138 countries by offering world class technologies and solutions for sustainable agriculture production. Under Jai’s leadership, UPL is one of the fastest growing agri-input companies in the world with a strong presence in the Seeds, Plant Nutrition, Crop Protection and Post-Harvest Food Preservation value chains, with annual revenues exceeding $6bn USD. UPL holds around 13,000 product registrations and more than 1,300 patents globally, illustrating the extent of the company’s focus on innovation across a diverse product portfolio.

UPL’s purpose – OpenAg – is to create an open network for agriculture, activating connections across the world’s agriculture system. It aims to power new levels of sustainable growth – for farmers, for producers, for customers, for partners, and for societies everywhere. It is a fundamentally optimistic view of the future of agriculture; one with no limits, and no borders, that feeds sustainable growth for all. Jai has driven the transformation of UPL from a largely domestic player to a truly global multinational. Today, UPL has a global workforce comprising of more than 25 different nationalities. It operates 35 manufacturing plants in India, Asia, Europe, Latin and North America and serve the farming community across the globe.

Jai’s vision for UPL is to endeavour to continually provide smart, affordable and profitable solutions to the global farming community with a strong focus on Innovation, Research and Excellence by “Reimagining Sustainability” for farms, farmers and food systems worldwide. Jai believes in the power of collaboration and inter-sectoral partnerships. He is actively involved in the global development agenda, including the World Economic Forum’s Grow Africa and Grow Asia initiatives, IFPRI’s Sustainable Agriculture and Global Food Security Initiative, WBCSD, Chicago Council, IGD and ICAR.

EZIO DA SILVA COSTA
Business Unit Leader
NPP by UPL

Ezio was CEO- Crop Care Holdings at Patria Investments in Brazil. Prior to joining Patria, Ezio managed key leadership roles in our SCM organization. In his last role at UPL, he was the Global Head of Formulations Supply Chain and Operations. A multi-faceted leader who worked in manufacturing, supply chain, in AGRO SB and Syngenta, he brings strong expertise in managing business globally with a stint in Hong Kong with Rotam.

Ezio is refining the Global NPP growth strategy, reviewing our Bio-Solutions portfolio and R&D strategy, go-to market approach in key business regions to create a strong business plan in partnership with the regions.

KYLE MAPLE
Vice President
Ag Business Alliances
Land O’Lakes, Inc.

Kyle recently stepped into the role of Vice President, Ag Business Alliances. In this role, he leads the Crop Nutrients and Retail Growth Services teams along with overseeing WinField United’s backward integrated asset of Omnium. All parts of these businesses are focused on building both long – and short – term system relevance in a consolidated and ever – changing landscape.

Previously, Kyle led supplier relations for the Strategic Alliance and Procurement team at WinField United. His team managed partnerships with manufacturers and suppliers of crop protection, value-add proprietary products and branded seed. Kyle and his team worked closely with domestic and international suppliers to put WinField United and its ownership in the best possible supply and cost position. Prior to this role, Kyle led Marketing and P&L oversight of WinField United’s seed business unit.

Kyle’s career experiences include domestic and international roles focused on seed, trait, and crop protection markets. He has enjoyed expanded leadership positions across various sales, finance, and marketing teams with organizations such as American Cyanamid, Monsanto, Bayer and has spent the past 15 years with WinField United.

JONELL MYERS
Seed Enhancement Lead
Beck’s Hybrids

Jonell Myers holds the position of Seed Enhancement Lead at Beck’s Hybrids, a seed company based in Central Indiana. She is responsible for monitoring and testing new seed treatment technologies for consideration in the company’s seed treatment brand, Escalate, on corn, soybeans, and wheat.

Before her time at Beck’s Hybrids, Jonell worked and studied in the soybean pathology lab at Ohio State University, which was her introduction into the seed treatment industry. While in the soybean pathology lab, Jonell had the opportunity to intensively test many new seed treatment chemistries against the main soybean pathogens and pests in Ohio.

After graduating with a Master of Plant Health Management from OSU in 2018, she then took her current role with Beck’s Hybrids. Beck’s Hybrids is the largest family-owned retail seed company and the third-largest seed brand in the U.S.

MATT COUTTS
CIO
Coutts Agro Ltd.

Matt leads corporate development and capital allocation for Coutts Agro and the related companies. Board member at InnerPlant and Ricochet Oil Corp.

KIRK HANEY
CEO / Managing Partner
Radicle Growth

Kirk Haney is the CEO & Managing Partner at Radicle Growth.

Under Kirk’s leadership, Radicle Growth has become a market leader in early-stage ag and food tech investing and company building and has secured top-tier financial and corporate investors. As a serial entrepreneur, Kirk has raised over $200M in venture capital, private equity and corporate capital and has had three successful exits. He’s worked in technology, venture capital and ag & food his entire career and has a clear understanding of what early-stage companies need to be successful.

Speaking & Associations:

Kirk regularly speaks at industry events, including: The World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit and Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).

Kirk is the Co-Chair of the YPO Global Ag & Food Group, a member of the OurCrowd Advisory Forum and serves on the board of advisors for several ag and food conferences.

“I have been an entrepreneur and an investor for over 20-years.  I know what to look for in great entrepreneurs and they know that I understand what it is like to be in their shoes. The result is a candid dialogue between the entrepreneur and investor that helps to build companies with a greater probability of success.”