About GrowU

Heasley Seeds created GrowU to help educate and train farmers how to navigate turning their crops into cash through understanding market trends and practicing healthy risk management. Our speakers, who are experts in their fields, will share insights, experience, and strategies to help farmers learn what is going on in the industry and plan for the future.

2018 Information

Location: Pinnacle Center

3330 Highland Dr, Hudsonville, MI 49426

Date: January 10th, 2019

Time: 9:30Am with lunch provided.



Mary Kay Thatcher

Senior Lead, Federal Government Relations

Mary Kay Thatcher joined the Government Relations team for Syngenta in February 2018. Prior to that, she was a lobbyist for the American Farm Bureau Federation for 31 years. In that role, she lobbied primarily on issues covering farm programs, crop insurance, conservation and credit.
During her tenure at Farm Bureau, Mary Kay also spearheaded the organization’s participation in farm data, security and privacy. She served as President of the Ag Data Transparency Evaluator, a tool developed by ag tech providers and farm/commodity groups to help farmers understand the contracts they sign to share their farm data. Mary Kay also served as Secretary of the Ag Data Coalition, a group of 14 members consisting of farm groups, land grant universities, ag equipment manufacturers and technology companies and providers.
Mary Kay served in the first Bush Administration as a political appointee, as the director of congressional and public affairs of the Farm Credit Administration. In that capacity, she was responsible for the policy direction and management of the agency’s congressional and public affairs activities. Mary Kay began her career as a legislative assistant for agriculture and trade to Senator Roger Jepsen of Iowa. She is a graduate of Iowa State University where she earned degrees in animal science and agricultural economics.
A fifth-generation Iowa farmer, Mary Kay grew up on a 500-acre Iowa beef, hay and corn farm. She now manages a farm in Iowa producing corn and soybeans, as well as a cow/calf operation.


Dr. Martin Chilvers

Field Crops Pathologist, Assistant professor at Michigan State University

Martin Chilvers earned his B.Ag.Sc. degree with honors and Ph.D. from the University of Tasmania, Australia, with subsequent Post-doctoral training at Washington State University. Dr. Chilvers’ leads a field crop pathology program encompassing both basic and applied research on diseases of soybean, corn, wheat and dry bean. Dr. Chilvers has been at MSU since 2008.