From the field to the boardroom, agriculture is an exciting industry with a variety of opportunities for professional development and growth. If you're interested in a career in agriculture, the Franklin Leadership Foundation Professional Agriculture Series is for you. Each session will be recorded and available on the Morningside University YouTube page following the event.

2020 Series Schedule

  1. Tuesday, September 15, 2020, at 8 a.m. CST
    Topic: The Journey from Rural to Corporate America

    Presenter: Patricia Dyar, Retired President of John Deere Financial Brazil and Paul Eickhoff, Vice President, Logistics and Supply Chain - Polaris
    Watch Their Video Here
  2. Tuesday, September 29, 2020, at 8 a.m. CST
    Topic: Shaping the Future of Agriculture
    Presenters: Dr. Tom Eickhoff, Senior Director, Bayer/Monsanto and Dave Hochstetler, Senior Vice President for Hills Bank and Trust Company
    Watch Their Video Here
  3. Tuesday, October 27, 2020, at 8 a.m. CST
    Topic: Preparing for a Career in Agriculture
    Presenter: Dr. Jeneen Fields, Research Scientist in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Purdue University and Doug Griffin, Managing Principal for The Context Network
    Watch Their Video Here


patricia dyar

From a small, 120-acre dairy farm in northeast Iowa to executive roles including President of John Deere’s bank in Brazil, Patricia Dyar’s agricultural roots can be traced back to farming families in Germany, who immigrated to America in the mid- to late-1800s. “I grew up on the same farm as my dad, and my parents continue to farm today and enjoy the freedom of a profession they love.” Dyar’s John Deere career covers a thirty-year journey, as she retired from the company in December 2019, leaving an impressive leadership trek across many functional areas during her tenure at John Deere Financial. Her experience includes Collections, Agricultural Retail Credit, Construction & Forestry Market Development, Director of Agribusiness Sales, President of Banco John Deere, Vice President of Human Resources. She also led the Strategic Priorities for Win with Strategic Customers and supported the Wirtgen Integration, which represented the largest acquisition ($5 billion) in John Deere’s 180+ year history.

paul eickhoff

Paul Eickhoff is the Vice President of Global PG&A Distribution for Polaris Industries. Eickhoff leads and oversees eleven DCs in the US and is accountable for the Global strategy. Polaris is a Fortune 500 company with over 13,000 employees. The company designs, engineers, manufactures and markets power sports vehicles worldwide. Polaris owns over 30 Brands including; RZR, Ranger, Indian Motorcycle, Slingshot, Taylor-Dunn, Klim, 509, Bennington, SMITTYBILT & Poison Spyder. Paul grew up on a farm in Northeast Nebraska near Fordyce Ne. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and later earned his MBA from Wayne State College. Paul loves all outdoor sports on land and water, from football to hunting, especially if he can enjoy it with one of his ten siblings.

dave hochstetler

Dave Hochstetler is currently a Senior Vice President for Hills Bank and Trust Company. Hills Bank is based in Hills, IA and has 19 branches in the Johnson, Washington and Linn County area in Iowa. It was founded in 1904 and has grown to one of the largest Iowa based banks with over $3 billion in assets. Dave grew up on a grain, hog farrow-to-finish and cattle feeding operation in the Kalona, IA area. He attended 2 years at Bethel College in Kansas and then transferred to Iowa State University where he obtained a BS in Agricultural Business. After graduating from ISU he returned to the family farm for 1 year. He then pursued a job in the business world and worked for ITT Financial Services and American General Finance for 3 years. He got an opportunity and went to work for Deere Credit Services in the West Des Moines office. His first two years at Deere he worked as a Credit Analyst in the Marine and RV financing departments. He then became a Senior Credit Analyst in the Industrial Leasing and Agricultural Leasing departments. When Hills Bank and Trust purchased the bank location in his home town of Kalona, Dave decided to move his family back to be close to his, and his spouse’s, families and home towns and pursue a career in banking. He worked as a Branch Manager and Ag Lender for 14 years before being promoted to Senior Vice President of Commercial Banking with the responsibility of Commercial and Agricultural Lending in the Washington County Market. He has been with Hills Bank for 24 years.

tom eickhoff

Tom Eickhoff has been involved in agriculture his entire life. He grew up on a diversified family farm in Nebraska that two of his brothers operate today, he has had the opportunity to see first-hand how technology and innovation drives productivity and sustainability in agriculture. As the Sr. Director of Science Implementation at the Climate Corporation, Tom is responsible for providing the global strategy, direction and oversight for implementation and testing of Climate Science in our global field operations and with our customers to ensure successful execution of Science research. His team focuses on creating research plans and building scalable systems that deliver the latest data-science techniques to products that can be used by farmers. Tom holds a BS in Agronomy, and a Masters and Ph.D in Entomology from the University of Nebraska. Prior to joining Climate, Tom led the North America (Canada, United States and Latin America) Agronomic Systems Team at Bayer. This team led the development of the testing plan to enable business strategy for row crops, seed applied solutions and crop protection and partnered closely with farmers to conduct on farm research. The team led the development of tailored solutions and provided best in class agronomic support via 4 Bayer Learning Centers.

jeneen fields

Jeneen Fields is a progressive leader and scientist with a purpose directed passion for advancing agriculture. She aims to expose youth and adults to the valuable and necessary contributions made across our country every day to produce a healthy and viable food supply. Dr. Fields is a Research Scientist in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Purdue University. She instructs the largest foundational plant science course for the department and inspires students to become more curious and expand their knowledge. She also leads the innovative Women In Agriculture course which serves freshmen women across the Purdue College of Agriculture. She leads an annual Study Abroad Course to Peru which gives students the opportunity to explore agriculture in over 75 micro-climates across the country. Dr. Fields has been recognized for her research as a winner of two national research awards and fully funded research grant. She is the honored recipient of the 2019 Purdue Real World Experience Award for her diligent and creative leadership of the Women In Agriculture course. Dr. Fields is an alumnus of Penn State University (B.S) and Alabama A & M University (M.S.).  She earned her doctoral degree in Plant Breeding and Genetics from the University of Tennessee and she believed to be the first African American woman in the nation to receive a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding & Genetics.

doug grifffin

Doug Griffin joined The Context Network in 2015 as principal and part-owner. At Context, he specializes in assisting equipment companies and agriculture technology companies to develop strategic plans as well in the development and implementation of various management processes. Griffin’s career spans across two successful companies—Caterpillar Inc. and AGCO Corporation—where he held a wide variety of executive-level leadership positions with experience managing global commercial businesses, global product management, brand building, and sales channel development. Griffin has served on the Purdue University School of Agriculture Large Commercial Producer Founders Board and the University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council. He currently serves as Chair of the Alpha Gamma Rho National Board of Directors and is a National Malcolm Baldrige Fellow. Griffin holds an agricultural engineering degree from Purdue University and has completed advanced management training and executive leadership programs at Bradley University and Emory University, respectively. He resides with his family on their horse farm near Ball Ground, Ga.