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Land Expo Attendees Tweet Reactions

Attendees reached for their phones to document and react to the keynote speakers at Friday’s Land Expo in West Des Moines, Iowa. The event attracted farmers, investors, bankers, and economists from around the country. Highlights from the 11th annual event were trending on Twitter for a majority of the day.

Iowa governor Kim Reynolds welcomed the crowd, highlighting Iowa as a great place to invest. She spent time talking about taxes, education opportunities, and the biotech research going on in the state.

Ron Insana kicked off the morning with his speech, “Is Fortress American Intact.” Insana is a CNBC and MSNBC economic contributor shared his formative experiences in tv and economics from the 1980s to begin his session.

Jack Bobo, Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer at Intrexon asked the audience, “Can agriculture save the planet before it destroys it?” Intrexon is known for their work on the Actic Apple  and the Zika fighting mosquito. His work is on the cutting edge of biotechnology across the health, agriculture, food, and energy sectors.

Bill Northey is currently serving as Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture. In late 2017, Northey was nominated to a USDA position, but a hold has been placed on his appointment. While at Land Expo 2018, the Secretary updated the crowd on that process, and shared statistics highlighting Iowa’s global leadership in agriculture. After his talk, we talked with the secretary in more detail. Watch his conversation with Mike McGinnis here.

Former Secretary of Agriculture and Iowa native, Tom Vilsack addressed the crowd after lunch. He currently serves as the CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. He spent much of his time talking about trade.

Kevin O’Leary is an investor on ABC’s hit show, Shark Tank. He talked to the farmers, real estate experts, and investors about what he learned about marketing a commodity from a cupcake company he invested in. Investment and pitching tips were also part of his presentation.

Brian Forde of MIT broke down the basics of bitcoin and blockchain for attendees. Prior to his session, by a show of hands the crowd indicated they had interest, but little knowledge about the technology. The informative session was followed by a great question and answer period.

Mark Dotzour closed the day with a speech entitled, “The Economic Outlook for Investors and Business Decision Makers.” He recapped the positive trends the economy has seen over the last 103 months. Dotzour also noted several situations around the world to keep an eye on as they have the potential to disrupt current positive trends.

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