Dr. Helmut Gaugitsch, Environment Agency Austria


Helmut Gaugitsch studied technical chemistry and food chemistry at the technical University of Vienna, with graduation as PhD in technical chemistry and food chemistry. He joined the Environment Agency Austria in 1991 and worked on ecological risk assessment, monitoring and coexistence of genetically modified organisms (GMO) since. Presently he serves as Head of Unit Landuse & Biosafety at the Environment Agency Austria.

His main areas of work are reviewing of European GMO notifications concerning the risk assessment and monitoring of GMOs, coordination and preparation of studies on environmental effects of GMOs, assistance development and implementation of national, regional and international Regulatory Frameworks for Biosafety, National Focal Point for the Cartagena Protocol, environmental effects of landuse, agriculture and forestry.

Matthias Krön, Danube Soya

Matthias Kroen was born in Salzburg in 1969. He studied Chinese studies, philosophy and history in Vienna and Taipei. Subsequently he spent one year at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York. After his return to Austria in 1995 he started working in the sales department of Molkerei Oberwart Reg. Gen. Together with Fred Kranich he established Mona Naturprodukte, one of the major suppliers in the dairy sector in Austria .

In 2000 soy production in the Oberwart dairy was started and already 3 years later a subsidiary for dairy alternatives based on soya, rice and oats was founded. Kroen became CEO of the Mona Group of companies. In 2005 Kroen and three colleagues were able to acquire 100% of the shares of the Mona Group of companies and the Oberwart Dairy. Subsequently the group decided to divest of the dairy business and focus on the non-dairy business. Today Mona accounts for about 10% of non-dairy volume in Europe and is active in over 30 markets.

In autumn 2011 stepped down as CEO to concentrate on the soy associations, while remaining a major shareholder of Mona Group. The Austrian soya association was founded in 2008 as an initiative of the Austrian soy businesses. In spring 2012 the International Danube Soya association was established. Both associations elected Kroen as chairman. Kroen advocates a sustainable, regional and gm-free protein supply in Europe. 

Dr. Markus Keller, Institute of Alternative and Sustainable Nutrition

Dr. Markus Keller, born 1966, is founder and director of IFANE (Institute of Alternative and Sustainable Nutrition). He is also head of Science and Research of UGB (Association of Independent Health Counseling) and member of the scientific board of the German Vegetarian Society (VEBU). He obtained his degree and PhD in nutrition science at the University of Giessen, Faculty of Nutritional Sciences. His primary research interests are health and ecological benefits of vegetarian and vegan diets. Publication of the leading textbook for the German speaking countries: Vegetarian Nutrition (coauthor Claus Leitzmann). Some of his present research projects: the effect of a vitamin B12-fortified toothpaste on the cobalamin status of vegans, the NURMI study (Nutrition and Running High Mileage) and the VECHI study (Vegetarian and Vegan Children). In 2013 the IFANE institute was honored by the German Commission for UNESCO as UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) project.

Dr. Ludger Breloh, REWE Group

Dr. Ludger Breloh, born in 1957, is a trained practical farmer with a degree in agricultural economics. After earning his doctorate at the University of Kiel (Germany), he spent 3 years as a government advisor at the Ministry of Agriculture of Ecuador in Quito. In 1988 he founded a trading company for ecologically-produced fruits and vegetables, along with an operation for the ecological cultivation of vegetables. In 1995 he sold both companies to the Pfeiffer & Langen Group in Cologne.

Between 1996 and 2007 he worked as a consultant to REWE Zentral AG in Cologne, where his responsibilities included the setting up and development of ecological private labels. Since January 2008 he has been leader of the Division for Strategic Purchasing/Green Products, and as of July 2013, has been focussing on Quality Management/Green Products at REWE Group, where he is responsible for the development of sustainable product ranges.

Ursula Bittner, Danube Soya 

Ursula Bittner is the manager of the Danube Soya and Austrian Soya Association, both working on a GM-free and regional Soya supply for Europe. Bittner holds a degree in International Development from the University of Vienna with specialisation in agriculture, European agriculture policy, right to food and food sovereignty. Furthermore she holds a MBA degree specialising in general management of the California Lutheran University, US. She already worked for different NGOs in the field of health, food and agriculture, before she started working in the soya business. Since 2011 she is managing the Austrian Soya Association and the Danube Soya Association. Bittner advocates a sustainable, regional and GM-free protein supply in Europe and a healthy and plant-based diet. 

Gerard Klein Essink, Bridge2Food

Mr. Gerard Klein Essink set up Bridge2Food in 2002. He worked internationally in the food industry for over 20 years after graduating in food chemistry from Wageningen University. His experience lies in business-to-consumer markets as well as business-to-business industries. He fulfilled roles as Vice-President Sales and Business Development Manager with a FMCG company and as General Manager at an international food ingredient company, as well as a researcher at Wageningen University. Gerard is a frequent speaker at international fora on proteins, healthy ageing and sport nutrition.


Stephan Dorfmeister Danube Soya

Stephan Dorfmeister, MBA (m) has an executive Master of Business degree from the Danube University, as well has been educated as Computer Scientists at the Technical University in Vienna.

His activities in the last years have been focused into financial advisory and business strategy in projects or corporations, which have been in a new business or market development or change process phase.

Various projects in Europe (including CEE), US and Asia in combination with multinational teams in his business but also social engagement work helped Stephan to develop a strong ability in multinational and multi-ethnical collaboration. Since 1999 works as independent advisor, also in collaboration with large advisory firms such as Deloitte Consulting. In addition he is acting operationally in several organisation in the strategy and Finance function. Previous assignments have been with companies such as Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, Austria Telecom, Oracle, Austrian Railways and several freight corporations, Eurocontrol, Unicredit and Raiffeisen Group. Beside other assignments Stephan acts currently as Treasurer and Financial Officer for the Danube Soya Organisation. 

Alena Pfeiffer, University Hohenheim

Alena Pfeiffer, 26 years old, did her bachelor in agricultural biology at University of Hohenheim with the thesis resistance breeding in wheat. Followed by the Masters program at University of Hohenheim in agricultural science and finished with the Master Thesis about the Megaenvironmental Trial organized by Danube Soya and Dr. Volker Hahn (University of Hohenheim) with the title “Identification and Characterization of Mega Environments and Standard Varieties for Maturity Groups in European Soybean Breeding Material”. She will soon starts her Ph.D. at University of Hohenheim in the State Plant Breeding Institute about soybean breeding. 

Amos Ramsauer, Bioland Markt

Amos Ramsauer completed his practical education as farmer 1988 - 90
He completed his agricultural studies at "Humboldt University Berlin" between 1991 – 1996. The core subject of his studies was marketing for agricultural raw materials
Since 1996 he is managing director at “Bioland Markt GmbH & Co. KG” before 2009 the company was called "Erzeugergemeinschaft Biokorntakt"
Since 1999 fist steps into sourcing in other EU countries (Poland, Czech) have been taken, since  2010 first steps into sourcing in NON EU countries (Ukraine, Serbia) have been taken. Currently, direct business contacts to more than 70 farmers abroad (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland Czech, Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, Italy) have been established.

Przemyslaw Gawlas, Danube Soya


He has been working on agriculture market for 11 years, mostly focusing on fertilizing and animal feed.

He first made contact with the topic soya in 2008. He represents Danube Soya in Poland since March 2015.

Dr. David Psomiadis, Imprint Analytics

Dr. David Psomiadis is a geologist with doctoral and post-doctoral studies on stable isotope geochemistry. As Laboratory Manager of Imprint Analytics GmbH, he leads the teamwork of establishing stable isotope databases for the traceability of food products. Among those databases, a global soybean stable isotope database is developed.

Tomislav Duvnjak, Agricultural Institute Osijek

Tomislav Duvnjak is employed at the Department for Breeding and Genetics of Industrial Plants, Agricultural Institute Osijek, Croatia since 1997.

He works as plant pathologist specialized in soybean fungal diseases in a soybean breeding team.

His field of work is detection and diagnostics of soybean diseases, conducting laboratory and field artificial infection experiments and the estimation of breeder soybean material susceptibility on main soybean diseases.

Dr. Birgit Wilhelm, WWF

After completing a degree in Agriculture in Germany, Birgit Wilhelm worked on different projects relating to sustainable agriculture worldwide, with field work experience in Africa and Asia. In 2010, she finished her PhD in Agriculture on conservation tillage in organic farming. Since 2012 she has been working as an expert for sustainable agriculture and resource management at WWF Germany. Birgit’s main focus at WWF is “soy” and “soil fertility”. In 2014 she took on a position as project coordinator of the so called “German Dialogue Forum for more sustainable protein feed”. 

Ernst Gauhs, RWA AG

Mr. Gauhs started his career 1986, after finishing his studies at the University of Agriculture in Vienna, working in the import- and export-business of grain and oilseeds for the Raiffeisen cooperatives in Austria. In RWA AG - the whole sale specialist for the Austrian rural cooperatives – he is managing the division for trading agricultural commodities covering the activities in Austria and all subsidiaries in central and eastern Europe.

Giorgio Dalla Bona, Cereal Docks International spa


Giorgio Dalla Bona has more than 30 years experience in agri-business particularly focusing on oilseeds and oilseeds products.

He is the Ceo of Cereal Docks international spa

Cereal Docks Group is active in crushing oilseeds, marketing oils and vegetable meals as well as in originating/marketing grains in Italy and Europe.

The company also has strong connections with overseas suppliers in all North and South America.

Cereal Docks is supporting Italian farmers on non GM crops of soybeans and corn in northern part of Italy where the company has its roots and assets.

Cereal Docks is also leader in sustainability and traceability programs for the crops production in Italy. 

Jochen Koester, AgroTrace

Jochen Koester is an old hand in the Non-GMO and sustainable soy business. He began spreading the Non-GMO identity preservation concept with traceability in Brazil as early as 1999, always keeping an eye on the European demand and its needs. Starting in the soy sector with a certification provider in the U.S. he later worked as the European Director for a large Brazilian soybean crusher. In his function as President of Geneva-based Non-GMO brokerage firm AgroTrace he has been a member of the Board of VLOG since its foundation and serves also as a Director on the Board of the ProTerra Foundation. Jochen is a specialist in European and national regulations on GMO and GMO-free labeling.

Dragos Dima, Danube Soya

Dragos Dima is an agribusiness professional with more than 20 years experience in management, consulting and project development in Eastern Europe. His expertise is very much related to seeds, crop protection products and agriculture machinery.

Dr. Volker Hahn, University Hohenheim

Voker Hahn is the Head of the Soybean Group of the State Plant Breeding Institute of the University of Hohenheim.

Our main objectives are developing elite soybean lines and varieties for German climatic conditions, developing and optimizing breeding strategies and analyzing the genetic potential of lines with diverse agronomic traits.