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85th Annual Convention | March 17 – 19, 2019 | Scottsdale, AZ

NIOP 85th Annual Convention

85th Annual Convention Speakers:

Keynote Speaker:

Carl Bek-Nielsen

Mr. Carl Bek-Nielsen has been the Chief Executive Director of United Plantations Berhad since January 1, 2013. Mr. Bek-Nielsen served as the Head of Corporate Affairs at United Plantations Bhd since March 1, 2000. He was responsible for the Corporate Affairs of United Plantations Bhd. He is a Co-Owner of The Dato Bek-Nielsen Settlement. He started his career with United Plantations Bhd in 1993 as a Cadet Planter and also received training in United International Enterprises (M) Berhad (UIEM). He resumed his career with United Plantations Bhd in 1998 as a Corporate Affairs Officer. He is involved in several aspects of the palm oil industry and the group’s overall business operations.


Other Featured Speakers:


Senior Agricultural Meteorologist

Founder and President

World Weather, Inc

Drew Lerner is President and Senior Agricultural Meteorologist of World Weather, Inc.  Drew has been forecasting international weather for 39 years. He began his meteorology career in 1978 as he participated in an international effort to collect data and improve weather forecasting for the Asian Monsoon. Since then, Drew has been supporting the agricultural industry by providing detailed short and long range weather predictions for each major crop area in the world. His daily assessments of crop and weather expectations supports commodity market trade and helps many companies make better agricultural business decisions. Drew started World Weather, Inc. in 2001 after leading Global Weather Services in the late 1990s. World Weather, Inc. is based in the Kansas City area and supports an expanding group of clientele residing in North and South America, India, Europe, Africa and Australia.


John Dillard

Associate Attorney

Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC (OFW Law)

John Dillard is an associate attorney at Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC (OFW Law) in Washington, D.C.  He provides regulatory counsel, general counsel, and litigation services to clients in the agriculture and food industries. In his regulatory practice, John provides advice to companies and trade associations on diverse topics including food labeling, food safety, plant and animal biotechnology, the National Organic Program, the Packers and Stockyards Act, and environmental regulations that affect farmers and ranchers.

John also provides general counsel services to several agricultural trade associations. In this role, he provides advice on corporate governance, contract drafting and evaluation, antitrust, director fiduciary responsibilities, and employment matters. John has also represented the interests of trade association clients that have participated in several high-profile agricultural law cases.

John has an extensive background in agriculture dating back to his family’s beef cattle operation in Virginia. He studied Animal Science and Agricultural Economics at Virginia Tech and earned a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University. John also writes a column on legal and policy issues for Farm Journal and National Provisioner.