Analysts

Leading global food and agriculture research.

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.

Dustin Aherin is an animal protein analyst at Rabo AgriFinance in the RaboResearch Food & AgriBusiness group. Within animal protein, Aherin concentrates his work in beef.

Aherin has a unique combination of commercial beef production experience and analytical training. He joined RaboResearch after completing his PhD in pathobiology at the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University. Aherin also holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal science from Kansas State. He interned on the RaboResearch team, focusing on cattle market research and analysis. Previously he interned in reproductive management on a Russian farm with 6,000 breeding females and worked as a feedyard sales representative for an animal health company.

Aherin focused his graduate research on developing a beef systems model encompassing the industry from cow-calf to cattle feeding. The model includes the capability of conducting “what-if” analysis based on differences in technology, management and government policy.Aherin is a former visiting fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Kansas native sits on the board for the American Gelbvieh Association and remains involved in the management of a small Gelbvieh/Balancer herd with his brother.

 

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.

Erin FitzPatrick Nazetta is a grains and oilseed analyst at Rabo AgriFinance in the RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness group.

Erin brings over 10 years of experience as an Agri Commodity Analyst. She is currently Vice President, RaboResearch Grains & Oilseeds analyst. Erin was born and raised on a farm in Western New York, which her family still owns.

Erin holds a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Prior to joining Rabo AgriFinance, Fitzpatrick was the Director of Economic Research at Bunge and worked for Rabobank in London and New York City.

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.

Roland Fumasi, Ph.D. is a senior fruits and vegetables analyst at Rabo AgriFinance in 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.

David Magaña, Ph.D. is a a senior fruits and vegetables analyst 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.

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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