The World Ag Robotics Summit
Hybrid Event - Online & in Toulouse (France)

Watch all FIRA 2020 speakers on replay, to wait until WORLD FIRA 2021!

Daria BATUKHTINA (The Netherlands)

Kubota Holding B.V. - Innovation Center

Business Development Manager

10+ years of experience in business transformation and digital innovation. I love building a solid connection between the government, corporate, startups and new technologies. My main focus is on solving major social issues by using new technologies.

Timo JOOSTEN (The Netherlands)

Lely International NV

Head of Product Management

Born in the Netherlands in 1978, I got infected with the dairy farmers virus through my grandfather and uncle. After graduation as an agricultural engineer (Bsc) specialized in dairy at the Van Hall institute Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, I continued my study to become a Master of Science (Msc) in Agricultural Business at Greenwich University, London.
After my thesis for Lely “the development of the franchise model (Lely Centers)”, my wife and I decided to put theory into practice by starting our own dairy farm in Ampoigné, Mayenne, France in 2003. Started with 50 cows and 100 hectares we were able to expand it to 100 cows and 140 hectares and becoming a robotic dairy farmer ourselves.
Through the role of commercial trainer I brought my practical experience back into the Lely organization as of 2007, where in 2013 I became worldwide responsible for the consultancy department known under the name of FMS (Farm Management Support), which led to the decision to sell the farm.
Early 2015 I took over the end responsibility as Senior Product Manager Milking & Cooling for the whole product range of the Lely Astronaut Robotic Milking System, its peripherals and the Lely T4C farm management software. Since the 1st of January 2018 this responsibility has extended towards the full Dairy portfolio of Lely being the Head of Product Management.



Director, Agribusiness Solutions

Barney Debnam is the Global Agriculture Strategy Lead at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington. Barney has spent the past 25+ years building agtech startups and growing global agribusinesses. Beyond experiences in the late 90’s agtech 1.0, Barney has contributed to digital solutions at GROWMARK/FS, Deere & Co and DuPont. During his time at DuPont he worked with Sales, Marketing, Supply Chain, Research and IT. Barney was Global CIO for DuPont Crop Protection and Pioneer Hi-Bred International just prior to the formation of Corteva AgriScience.
Barney graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Biological Systems Engineering then went on the study agricultural engineering at Texas A&M University. Barney grew up in a 4-H farming family in Kent County Maryland, which his father and brother continue to operate today.
Why is Barney at Microsoft? Few, if any, industries can match Agriculture when it comes to mission alignment with Microsoft, opportunity to apply innovation to the betterment of society and with the potential to empower agribusinesses to achieve more.

Josef KIENZLE (Italy)

FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Agricultural Engineer - Leads the sustainable agricultural mechanization task team

Josef Kienzle, holds an M.Sc. in Agricultural Engineering from Hohenheim University and a post-graduate certificate for Advanced Training in Agricultural Development (CATAD) from Humboldt University, Berlin.

Mr Kienzle leads the sustainable agricultural mechanization task team in the Plant Production and Protection Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), based in Rome. Sustainable mechanization is embedded and reflected within one of FAO’s key programmes on ‘Sustainable crop production and Conservation Agriculture’.

Mr Kienzle’s work emphasizes the crucial role that farm power and innovative and efficient mechanization solutions play in increasing sustainable agricultural production, and the importance improving smallholder farmers’ access to these technologies and adapting them to their context in developing countries. This also includes transitioning from subsistence farming to more market-oriented farming, building capacity of farmers to become hire service providers and entrepreneurs, and identifying appropriate business models. His work also highlights the important role that the public and private sectors play in mechanization input supply chains and capacity building.

Mr Kienzle leads the Conservation Agriculture component of the World Bank-led Guangdong Agricultural Pollution Reduction Programme that is promoting reduced- and no-tillage mechanized solutions in rice and maize based systems. This work has led to an increased interest in precision agriculture technologies which allow for more accurate and precise application of fertilizer and pesticides, reducing blanket type applications. The close linkages with the China Agricultural University (CAU) in Beijing as well as with the Southern China Agricultural University (SCAU) has allowed him to stay up-to-date with un-manned flying objects (drones), related ICTs, and big data technologies.

More recently, he coordinated the development of an FAO publication entitled ‘Agricultural 4.0 – Agricultural Robotics and automated equipment for sustainable crop production’, that reviews the latest trends in agrorobotics and places them in the context of agricultural and rural development scenarios in developing countries.

Darcy COOK (Canada)

JCA Technologies

VP Engineering / GM

Darcy Cook is the VP of Engineering and General Manager at JCA Technologies, where he leads the technology development direction for the organization. JCA is focused on advanced technology solutions for autonomous and precision agriculture machine applications, applying technology building blocks augmented with engineering and manufacturing capabilities to help OEMs develop unique machine applications.
Darcy has 20 years experience in the development of electronics and software systems across various industries, including space systems (satellites), medical equipment (MRI), and off-highway mobile machines. Darcy holds a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Manitoba, and an MBA from the Asper School of Business.

Antoine POUPART (France)

Bioline - InVivo

Strategic Marketing and Innovation Director

Agricultural engineer with a degree from the Institut National Agronomique Paris-Grignon (now AgroParisTech) (PG03), Antoine Poupart began his career with the agricultural cooperative group InVivo as a design engineer. He took part in the creation of a new sustainable development consulting activity before becoming the general manager of Agrosolutions, the InVivo group's internal and external consulting subsidiary. In parallel with this activity, in 2017 he founded Bioline Insurance, an insurance brokerage subsidiary for the specific risks of the agri/agro sector, under the status of intrapreneurship. Antoine is now Strategic Marketing and Innovation Director of Bioline, the agricultural division of the InVivo cooperative group.


WTWH Media

VP, Robotics

Dan Kara is Vice President, Robotics at WTWH Media where he chartered with driving the company’s robotics initiatives including the Robot Report and Robotics Business Review online portals and the Robotics Summit Conference and Exposition, Healthcare Robotics Engineering Forum, RoboBusiness Conference & Expo and the International Field Robotics Engineering Forum. Prior to joining WTWH, he was Practice Director, Robotics and Intelligent Systems at ABI Research and Chief Research Officer for Myria RAS, both research and advisory services firms focused on automation, robotics and intelligent systems. Dan was also President of Robotics Trends, an integrated media and research firm serving the personal, service and industrial robotics markets. Dan has also worked as Executive Vice President of Intermedia Group, and Director of Research at Ullo International.

Koen VAN BOHEEMEN (The Netherlands)

Wageningen University & Research

Researcher Precision Agriculture & Robotics

Born and raised on an arable farm and with a background in Biosystems Engineering, Koen works on multiple projects related to Precision Agriculture and Robotics. His main challenge is to aid agricultural data gathering, usage and sharing in the broadest sense of these words. Current projects revolve around the development of autonomous robotic platforms for data gathering and real-time precision agriculture applications and the design of data gathering, storage and sharing structures for agricultural data. In multiple precision agriculture application projects, Koen assists farmers in applying novel Precision Agriculture technologies on their farms.

Markus HOFERLIN (Germany)

Farming Revolution

Head of Artificial Intelligence

Markus Höferlin received a M.Sc. (Diploma) in computer science from the University of Stuttgart (Germany) in 2008, and worked as scientific assistant at the Visualization Research Center of the University of Stuttgart (VISUS) with focus on visual analytics for video data, computer vision and artificial intelligence. He got his PhD (Dr. rer. nat.) in 2013 from the University of Stuttgart and received the "Best Dissertation at the University of Stuttgart in Computer Science in 2013" award and "Outstanding scientific achievements" (VFUS) award. From 2014-2020, he was responsible for AI at Deepfield Robotics enabling the success of agricultural robotics and helped Bosch with the transition from traditional computer vision methods to Deep Learning. During this time, he co-authored more than 20 patent applications focused on machine learning, computer vision, efficient data acquisition, and semi-automated annotation that led to the world’s largest annotated plant dataset and
most accurate plant classification system available. Since 2019, he is co-founder of the #farmingrevolution GmbH that emerged from a management buy out from Bosch and the successor of Deepfield Robotics.

Tanner WHITMIRE (Canada)

Hexagon I NovAtel

Business Development Manager, Agriculture Autonomy

Tanner Whitmire is a leading sales and business development manager in agriculture at Hexagon | NovAtel with over ten years in the corporate precision agriculture field. Combined with his years of experience managing operations at Whitmire Farms, he understands the challenges facing farmers and the importance of providing positioning and autonomy – assured.


Rick VAN DE ZEDDE (The Netherlands)

Wageningen University & Research

Project Coordinator NPEC / Business Developer

Currently Rick van de Zedde is project manager of the new phenotyping facility NPEC @ WUR and he is senior scientist/ business developer Phenomics and Automation at the Wageningen Plant Science Group. He has worked at WUR since 2004. His background is in Artificial Intelligence with a focus on imaging and robotics.

Pierre COMPERE (France)

Agri Sud-Ouest Innovation

Business Development Manager

With his training as an agricultural engineer and his experience in one of France's leading agricultural cooperative groups, Pierre assists leaders of innovative companies, members of the Agri Sud-Ouest Innovation cluster, on issues of strategic marketing, business development and investor relations.

Tom ESPIARD (France)


President & Managing Partner

Tom is an experienced investor and portfolio manager, having, since 2006, deployed more than C$750M in growth equity companies and overseen private capital portfolios totalling more than US$10bn for a large pension fund, a sovereign fund and a VC fund in Canada and in France. Tom also spent 10 years as an investment banker in Canada raising more than C$800M of equity financings and executing C$7.6bn worth of M&A primarily for ICT companies.

Tom joined Capagro in 2018 as President and Managing Partner. He oversees the GP’s operations and sits on the boards of Naio Technologies, Combagroup and Cellucomp.

He holds an MBA from McGill university and a B.A.A. from HEC Montreal.

Tom is a keen triathlete. He has participated to 37 triathlons and represented Canada at the International Union Triathlon championships in his age group.

Christophe GOSSARD (Germany)

John Deere GmbH & Co. KG

Strategic Standards Manager for Europe

As the Regional Strategic Standards Manager in Mannheim, Germany, Christophe Gossard provides support for the relevant regional issues for strategic standards and regional governmental affairs. Engaged in the digitization of the agricultural sector, and particularly on the safety and security issues, he recently as a rapporteur at ETSI, focused on Permissioned Distributed Ledger applicability and compliance to data processing requirements for connected machines. He is graduated from the University of Iowa (United States) with a MBA and has a Master in Computer Sciences / Engineer Diploma from Polytech Orléans, Orléans (France).


Ole GREEN (Denmark)


Founder & CEO of AGROINTELLI Professor at Aarhus University, Dept. of AgroEcology

The founder of AGROINTELLI and the commercial ag-robot Robotti.

With 20 years of experience in developing and implementing automation and robotic technologies for sustainable intensification of plant production, intelligent weed management, and integration of sensor technology on agricultural machinery for improved decision support systems.

Professor in technology and intelligent solutions for sustainable soil management at the Department of AgroEcology, Aarhus University.

Claude JURIENS (Switzerland)

ecoRobotix SA

Chief Business Officer

Engineer with an MBA, has acquired significant experience in business creation, business development, sales and marketing management for various international groups. He is responsible for the company’s business development.

Hajar MOUSANNIF (Morocco)

Cadi Ayyad University

Associate Professor

Hajar Mousannif is an associate professor and coordinator of the Master program in Data Science within the department of computer science at the Faculty of Sciences Semlalia (Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco). She holds a PhD degree in computer Sciences on her work on Wireless Sensor Networks and Vehicular Networks. She received an engineering degree in Telecommunications in 2005. Her primary research interests include Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data, IoT, Human Computer Interaction, and next generation technologies. In addition to her academic experience, she chaired the Program Committee of many international conferences. Hajar Mousannif holds two patents on her work on Artificial Intelligence and was selected among 5 best female researchers in North Africa. She received many international awards such as L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Award (Maghreb region) and the Emerald Litterati Prize for Excellence.

Erik PEKKERIET (Netherlands)

Wageningen University & Research

Programme Manager Agro Food Robotics

Erik is the Programme Manager Agro Food Robotics at Wageningen University & Research. Together with over 40 researchers they work on robotic solutions for the Agri-Food Industry. The team works on machine vision solutions (geometric (2D,3D,motion) and spectral), new AI learning algorithms and robotic systems (intergation tasks, actuators, gripper technology and simulation environments).
Next to this Erik holds positions as: network coordinator agROBOfood, board member EU Robotics TG Agriculture, programme leader on precision horticulture in the Netherlands.


Joaquin REYES (Czech Republic)

European GNSS Agency (GSA)

Market Development Technology Officer

Mr. Joaquin REYES GONZÁLEZ is a Market Development Technology Officer at GSA working in the professional high-precision market on EGNOS and Galileo, focused on Agriculture topics. He gained his GNSS technical experience as System Engineer Technical Assistant at ESA/ESTEC, after national and international assignments at innovation projects in GMV and Siemens (Dimetronic). Reyes holds a degree in Electronic, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering at ICAI and Master’s degree in Space Technology at UPM.


Raven Industries, Inc.

Senior Director of Global Sales for Raven Industries

As Senior Director of Global Sales, Sarah Waltner provides vision, guidance and strategic execution over the Applied Technology Division — engineering precision agriculture and autonomous solutions for growers and custom applicators around the world. She is a critical partner in mapping out development strategies for our markets in North America, Australia, Europe and Latin America. She leads with a passion for advancing teams to deliver high quality products and services to our customers.

Sarah joined the Raven team as an intern in 2001 with an electrical engineering degree from South Dakota State University. She has since displayed a committed to the Raven mission, working her way through encrypted communication systems for military personnel and government agencies, to replicating Raven’s value chain across international markets. Since joining the team, Sarah has been instrumental in evolving the ag technology landscape through Raven Autonomy™.

Christophe BONNO

Christophe BONNO (France)

Groupement Les Mousquetaires- Intermarché

Director of Agricultural Institutional Relations

Christophe Bonno, 57, a food engineer from Agrosup Dijon, joined the group in 1999 and was appointed Managing Director of the entire industrial activity of the Groupement des Mousquetaires in 2010 (62 production sites, 11,000 employees, with a turnover of 4 billion euros) and Director of Agricultural Institutional Relations in 2019.

He is in charge of developing the strategy of rapprochement and support with the agricultural world.

He is Intermarché's representative in the food college of the Fédération du Commerce Coopératif et Associé (FCA) which brings together Intermarché and Leclerc and thus participates in the work of all the inter-professions.

He is also a member of the management committee of the Groupement des Mousquetaires (146,000 employees, 40 billion euros) and works to consolidate production chains and bring together agricultural partners and the distribution network, supported in 2014 by Intermarché's "Producers and Traders" strategy.

In 2016, he launched the Agromousquetaires transformation plan to develop a matrix organization, while maintaining the strength and agility of a network of SMEs with the goal of achieving 100 million in performance.

2018: In the light of his first CSR successes, he initiated the "Responsible Producers" strategy, a genuine corporate strategy, which aims to make Agromousquetaires the benchmark player in terms of responsible production practices and food methods. This strategy was built in consultation with civil society and a certain number of stakeholders such as NGOs and scientists, the first step of which was the disengagement from fishing beyond 800m. This strategy was extended to animal welfare and agroecology.

During the COVID 2020 crisis, a strong presence and mobilization with the various agricultural sectors has strengthened Intermarché's support actions for vulnerable French producers.

David BOWLES (Ireland)

The Yield Lab

Venture Capital Investor

David is a General Partner of Yield Lab Europe where he focuses on sourcing new investments and managing the Yield Lab portfolio. Previously he was a venture capital investor at Delta Partners delivering returns from a diverse portfolio of companies. David started his career at IBM and Merrill Lynch before joining McKinsey & Company.

Gordon CLEMENTS (Germany)


General Manager Solutions

Graduated BSc (Hons) in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from the University West of Scotland.

7 years experience in Electronic Design & Project Management followed by 10 years career in Product Management and Sales Management in the semiconductor industry before moving to VARTA in 2002.

17 years in the battery industry focused mainly on LiB in sales management and now General Manager of VARTA Storage Gmbh with P&L responsibility for Power and Energy product lines.

Global business perspective and extensive knowledge of applications for LiB across all business sectors and applications from cell phone to e-mobility.

Aymeric BARTHES (France)

Naïo Technologies


Robotic engineer, from the beginning Aymeric BARTHES has the desire to bring real solutions to the agricultural world to revolutionize working methods and thus preserve crops and the environment. The challenge of feeding more and more people around the world can only be met by the emergence of innovative solutions. It is in this sense that he co-founded Naïo Technologies, a company that develops and markets multi-task robots dedicated to the agricultural world.
He has led the Naïo Technologies team since its inception, carrying out various projects simultaneously and adjusting the strategy to the company’s development.

Antoine CHATELAIN (France)

Chatelain Nursery


Student at Saint Nicolas High School.

Operator of the OZ 440 Robot from Naïo Technologies, and trainee for Robotics for Mircofarms (ROMI) from Sony CSL.

Seana DAY (USA)

Better Food Ventures & The Mixing Bowl


Seana brings over 15 years of investment, M&A advisory and technology experience to Better Food Ventures and The Mixing Bowl. She is a regular ag ecosystem contributor and publishes an annual AgTech Landscape highlighting technology in the ag value chain. Seana previously held advisory and investment roles in food and ag including Director of Strategy and Business Development at AgTech Insight, Fish 2.0 Associate and Managing Director at Centerra Capital providing Agribusiness investment advisory.  Prior to her involvement in food and ag, Seana was a technology investment banker at AGC Partners in London, Ridgecrest Capital Partners in the Bay Area and Headwaters MB in Denver. Her background also includes Head of Restructuring and Operations at Versata Enterprises. She is now based in her hometown of Turlock, in the heart of California’s

Peter HANAPPE (France)



The issue of sustainable food systems seems to have nothing in common with IT. Yet this is the field of research that interests Peter Hanappe. After a professional career in computer music (Ircam - Centre George Pompidou) and participatory distributed computing ( with Oxford University), he founded the Robotics for Mircofarms (ROMI) project at Sony Computer Science Laboratories. His goal is to join the technology and food production to the ideas of the collaborative economy.

Michael DENT (United-Kingdom)


Technology Analyst

Dr Michael Dent is a Technology Analyst at IDTechEx. Having joined in 2019, he supports the company's research and consulting within the life sciences, specialising in food and AgriTech.

Greg MEYERS (Switzerland)



Andrea BERTOLINI (Italy)

Lawyer specialised in Robotics

Guy WAKSMAN (France)

French Academy of Agriculture


Former director of ACTA Informatique, an IT services company that grew out of the Agricultural Technical Institutes, and working mainly for these Institutes.

Former president of the French-speaking Association of Agricultural Informatics (AFIA) and of the European Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and the Environment (EFITA).

Former participant or leader of numerous French and European R&D projects.

Editor since 1987 of two weekly newsletters, one in French, the other in English, both with about 15000 subscribers, both with about 5000 regular readers and about 1500 very regular readers.

Member of the French Academy of Agriculture.

Daniel AZEVEDO (France)


Director Commodities, Trade and Technology

Daniel Azevedo is a Director in the Commodities and Trade team of Copa and Cogeca, an agricultural lobby representing almost 70 national farm organizations and cooperatives in Europe. He is a natural resources engineer graduated in the University of Évora (Portugal) currently the coordinator of Copa and Cogeca Task Force on agricultural technology. He has previously been working for DG Agriculture and Rural Development after specializing on agro-environmental measures in SLU university (Sweden). Mr. Azevedo comes from a family producing wine and olive oil in Vila Real (Douro Region) in Portugal.


Sophie VOINIS (France)


Sophie Voinis is a journalist & professional facilitator. She studied in Boston, Emerson college, in the US, where she graduated in journalism and Communication in 2001. She was responsible for the daily newscast on the campus radio and also anchored the news on TV, on a regular basis. She has been working on TV for the past 20 years, in Boston, USA and in France, Toulouse on the local TV, TLT. For the past 15 years, she was the main anchor for the daily newscast as well as the health magazine and the weekly space and Aeronautic show. Her expertise goes from filming, interviewing, editing and anchoring in all journalism fields. She is also a mediator in various conferences, debates or gala nights both in French and in English, and often provides media training sessions both in french and in english. She lately anchored the national conference on the Weekly Space European programs in Marseille, the south west Europe railroad financing project, the Aerospace Summit in Brussels, and the annual conference for Groupama (1900 people attending). She was also Master of Ceremony for many Airbus deliveries in English, the IFAC World Congress and the ESOF Ceremony in English (5.000 people attending).

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