Leading global food and agriculture research.

Roland Fumasi, Ph.D. is the North American regional head of the RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness group.

Roland analyzes the U.S. and North American fresh fruit and vegetable industries, and general California agriculture. He combines a background in agribusiness research with international market development and finance experience in the agriculture industry. Roland’s research experience focuses on specialty crops and alternative energy (bio-fuel) productions, and he produced an award-winning thesis related to specialty crops.

Roland holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Texas A&M University, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Agribusiness from the California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly). Prior to joining Rabo AgriFinance, Roland was an active researcher at the Cal Poly California Institute for the Study of Specialty Crops. He served as a Senior Executive in the equipment industry, a Financial Advisor for Morgan Stanley, a Research Associate for the Agricultural & Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University, and as Marketing Director for  various firms.

Don Close is a senior animal protein analyst at Rabo AgriFinance in the RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness group.

Don is responsible for analyzing all animal protein sectors with a specialization in beef. His extensive research experience includes confinement cow/calf operations, LFTB, ground beef and development in international trade. Don is a regular speaker for state, national and international livestock groups across North America, Australia and New Zealand. He authors bi-monthly columns for the National Cattlemen’s publication, and is working on market issues at the intersection of marketing and ag policy.

Don holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from West Texas A & M.  Prior to joining Rabo AgriFinance, he served as market director for the Texas Cattle Feeders Association, and held roles with with AzTX Cattle Co., Future Beef Operations, and PHI Marketing Services at Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. 

Stephen Nicholson is a senior grains and oilseeds analyst at Rabo AgriFinance in the RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness group.

Stephen has over thirty years of experience in cash grain markets, hedging, commodity/ingredient procurement, commodity risk management and commodity analysis. Throughout his career, he has focused on procurement and trading of vegetable oils, corn sweeteners, starches and grain products, and worked on various consulting assignments. Stephen was involved in the creation of the first commodity risk management and governance policy framework for The Coca-Cola Company.

Stephen holds a bachelor’s degree in Farm Operations and Agricultural Education and a master’s in Agricultural Economics from Iowa State University.  Prior to joining Rabo AgriFinance, he was Category Manager and Chief Economist with International Food Products. Stephen also served as a Senior Economist with Doane Agricultural Services as the oilseed analyst, Senior Buyer at The Earthgrains Company, now the Sara Lee Baking Group, and was the Senior Commodity Analyst in the Global Procurement and Trading Company at The Coca-Cola Company.

Mary Ledman is global sector strategist for dairy at Rabo AgriFinance in the RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness Group.

Mary Ledman

Mary has over 30 years of experience in production agriculture, food processing, government service, agricultural policy, dairy risk management, market information and dissemination, and milk and dairy product price forecasting. Early in her career, she was awarded a Fulbright-Hayes Scholarship to conduct comparative research on US and European dairy policies. Mary is a thought leader in the dairy industry, sharing extensive knowledge of domestic and international dairy markets and policy.

Mary holds a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Journalism and a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Texas A&M University. Prior to joining Rabo AgriFinance, she held positions at the USDA, Kraft Foods, and Stella. She is the founder of Keough Ledman Associates, an economic consulting firm serving the dairy industry since 1995.

Ben Laine is a dairy analyst at Rabo AgriFinance in the RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness group.

Ben has spent his career focused on the dairy industry. His research spans the dairy supply chain from farm inputs through the processing sector, consumer trends and export markets. Ben has developed trading and risk management programs for commercial dairy commodity businesses, created programs for dairy producers to manage their milk price risk, and produced price forecasts and economic outlooks.

Ben holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Resource Economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Prior to joining Rabo AgriFinance, he was a senior economist at CoBank, covering the dairy industry. Ben began his career at Agri-Mark, a dairy cooperative in the Northeast.

David Magaña, Ph.D. is a senior fruits and vegetables analyst at Rabo AgriFinance in the RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness group.

David is responsible for analyzing the U.S. and North American fresh fruit and vegetable industries. With a strong background in the Latin American agricultural banking industry, he has spent over a decade conducting analysis on the agricultural sector. His research experience includes agricultural marketing integration under the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA), consumer trends in fresh fruit and vegetable markets, food security, food price dynamics, and other related topics.

David holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Texas A&M University and a bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness from Universidad Autónoma Chapingo. Prior to joining Rabo AgriFinance, he served as deputy director of economic research for FIRA - Banco de Mexico and has experience as a professor at Tecnológico de Monterrey.

Almuhanad Melhim is a fruits and vegetables analyst at Rabo AgriFinance in the RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness group.

Almuhanad is a Fruit, Vegetable, and Tree Nut Analyst, with a focus on the North American market. He brings 25+ years of experience in the food & agribusiness and financial services industries.

Almuhanad has a robust combination of quantitative skills, practical F&A experience, and commercial client engagement. Before joining Rabobank, he managed the Credit and Statistics team at CNHi Capital, focusing on analytics and applied research and linking F&A markets to financial risk. Prior to that, Almuhanad helped clients along the fruit, vegetable, and tree nut value chain better understand the factors impacting their markets and businesses as a Senior Economist at IHS Markit.

Almuhanad holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Engineering and a Master of Science degree in Horticulture from Damascus University. He earned his second MS degree in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of Arizona and his Ph.D. in Applied Economics from Washington State University.


Samuel Taylor is a farm inputs analyst at Rabo AgriFinance in the RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness group focusing on fertilizers, agrochemicals, seeds, and the broader farm economy.


Sam has a decade of professional experience working in the agricultural industry in both the North American and European markets. Prior to joining Rabobank, he worked as an equity analyst for Cleveland Research Company, covering a portfolio of agribusinesses and commodities focused on the North American, South American, and European markets. Before moving to the US, he specialized in agriculture and renewable energy project finance, working on large stand-alone projects as well as integrated on-farm solutions for waste and energy capture.


Sam has been involved in agriculture throughout his life, having grown up in a large farming family with mixed crop, livestock, and broiler farms. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Manchester and a postgraduate degree in finance from Regent's University London.


Several other members of the global RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness team visit frequently with Rabo AgriFinance clients and attend Rabo AgriFinance events. Information about these and other analysts can be found on the RaboResearch website.

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Rabo AgriFinance @RaboAg

RaboResearch analyst Sam Taylor will be presenting at the @dtnpf Ag Summit today on implications of the inputs implosion. He will explain why fertilizers and ag chemicals are hard to come by, how long disruptions are expected to last and what to expect in future growing seasons.

Rabo AgriFinance @RaboAg

The #RaboResearch Animal Protein Outlook anticipates that overall production expansion will be driven by pork, poultry and aquaculture. The growth trend in these groups is expected to continue, but pork will expand more slowly. Beef and wild catch seafood will contract slightly.

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