Growing for the Future Speakers


Frayne Olson

Director – Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives, North Dakota State University


Dr. Frayne Olson is the Crop Economist/Marketing Specialist with the North Dakota State University Extension and Director of the Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives.  Dr. Olson conducts educational programs and research in evaluating crop marketing strategies, crop outlook and price analysis, and the economics of crop contracting.  As Director of the Center for Cooperatives, he teaches a senior level course on cooperative business management and coordinates the Center’s research and outreach activities.

Dr. Olson received his PhD from the University of Missouri in Agricultural Economics, and his M.S. and B.S. in Agricultural Economics from North Dakota State University.

Gary Matteson

Senior Vice President – Beginning Farmer Programs and Outreach, Farm Credit Council


Gary Matteson works for Farm Credit’s trade association in Washington, DC as Senior Vice President, Beginning Farmer Programs and Outreach.  This includes policy work on local foods, sustainable agriculture, and direct-to-consumer agriculture.   He frequently speaks to beginning farmers, training on basic financial skills and recordkeeping.  For thirty years Gary was a small farmer raising greenhouse wholesale cut flowers marketed in the Northeast and beef cattle for local sales.  He has served on numerous boards of directors including Farm Credit, the Boston Flower Exchange, and many non-profits.

Siobhan Fathel

Project Coordinator – Energy Answers for the Beginner Farmer and Rancher Project, Penn State University


Siobhan Fathel is an instructor within the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Penn State University.  She teaches courses in biorenewable energy and science communication.  She also coordinates a USDA-funded program: Energy Answers for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher, which is working to create videos and resources that answer common energy questions farmers might have.  This project involves faculty and extension employees across the country to create engaging, informative materials that will be available through farmanswers.org.  Her personal research interests focus on understanding how sediment moves in farmed areas.

Debbie Dangerfield

President – Dangerfield Consulting, Inc.


Debbie has experience in marketing, retail and of course, accounting. She has trained farmers on financial statements. She has helped store managers go from manual record keeping to computerized. She has implemented inventory control systems nationwide. Through her diverse exposure to different types of businesses, her main focus has always been pointed toward accounting.

She understands how accounting is the connection for business growth and success. In 1988, she founded Dangerfield Consulting to train people on what she knows best – software and accounting. After ten years in business, Debbie narrowed her focus to QuickBooks® accounting software training, in which she is an expert now. She is one of the few Advanced Certified QuickBooks® ProAdvisors in her area, training in all versions of QuickBooks® from QuickBooks® Online to QuickBooks® Enterprise Accounting and QuickBooks® Point of Sale.

On site with clients, Debbie is calm, though she demands focus. She is personable while always professional. She has standards of the highest order, not only in accounting but in life. The joy of her work is seeing the connection between accounting and people. Seeing understanding in the face of a client when something “clicks” is her joy. Seeing the numbers add up perfectly gets her excited. (Well, she is an accounting fanatic.) Seeing a business grow is her greatest accomplishment.

Austin Tucker

Property Risk Manager – National General


Austin Tucker is a risk control thought leader with over 15 years of experience in insurance.  He has been associated with Farmers Union Insurance and National Farmers Union for 3 years helping with a variety of topics including innovation, loss control, and education.

Billy Mitchell

FSMA Training Coordinator, National Farmers Union



As FSMA Training Coordinator, Billy Mitchell plans, organizes, and instructs Produce Safety Alliance Grower Trainings, food safety field days, and shorter FSMA or food safety workshops around the country. Prior to this position, Mitchell worked on different diversified vegetable farms in Georgia and spent a year and a half learning the ins and outs of small farm food safety at Global Growers.