Marketing Staff

Ray Grabanski

Ray Grabanski, J.D., MS/BS Ag Econ

President, Lead Market Analyst, Attorney

Ray has roots that run deep in agriculture. Ray developed his passion for agriculture growing up on a small grain and livestock farm near Inkster, ND. Balancing working on the farm and earning his BS and MS in Agricultural Economics, Ray worked to triple the family farm's acreage during the difficult 80's, while he graduated magna cum laude from North Dakota State University. Ray, as part of his M.S. Education, worked as a legislative intern at the 1989–1990 session of the North Dakota Legislature writing bill amendments and bill summaries for the House Ag and State and Federal Government committees, where he developed his passion for the law. Ray firmly believes after a thorough study of economic theory and applying it to a lifetime of business excellence, that as the Bible teaches, "There is a time for every season...", which includes a time to buy and a time to sell!

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Bryan Strommen

Bryan Strommen

Agency Manager, Market Analyst

Bryan Strommen joined Progressive Ag’s team in 2008. Bryan serves as Progressive Ag Marketing's Agency Manager and is a Market Analyst. He is also a licensed crop insurance agent. Bryan is a native of Glenwood, MN and a graduate of North Dakota State University, where he was a member of the cross country and track team. After college, Bryan taught school in Kindred, ND for one year and then served as an assistant county agent in Hillsboro, ND. Over the next 22 years, Bryan worked in the banking industry, focusing on agricultural lending. Bryan maintains a purebred herd of Simmental cattle. He lives in Arthur, ND with his wife Jane. Together they have three grown children: Tabitha, Britney, and Brock.

Joan Braaten

Joan Braaten, MS Agricultural Economics

Administrative Manager of Marketline & Insurance, Crop Insurance Agent

Joan joined Progressive Ag in 2016 as the lead trainer for Marketline and marketing promotions and to oversee the crop insurance underwriting. She brings experience from the economic development, sales, and marketing worlds. She earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Agricultural Economics from North Dakota State University. She also has deep roots in the agricultural community as she grew up on a cattle and grain farm in rural southeast North Dakota. Joan is a stockholder in Progressive Ag Systems.

Joan is married with two children, one in college and one working in estate planning. She enjoys traveling and playing golf with her family.

Andrew Mages

Andrew Mages

Assistant Marketing Manager, Market Analyst


Andrew Mages joined Progressive Ag in the spring of 2015. He is licensed in commodity trading and crop insurance. He studied civil engineering at North Dakota State University and worked for a civil engineering firm in West Fargo, ND for 10 years. Andrew wanted to get back to his agricultural roots, so he went back to NDSU and earned a degree in Agricultural Economics in 2014. He grew up on a corn and soybean farm near Belgrade, MN. He currently rents land in central Minnesota, and he is involved with the family farm. He is responsible for the everyday activities, expenses, and marketing of his farming operation. He hopes to one day be back on the family farm.

Andrew enjoys fishing and hunting in the great outdoors, and he also keeps active by participating in various sports.

Tom Lilja

Tom Lilja

Market Analyst & Risk Management Specialist

Tom served as Executive Director of the North Dakota Corn Growers Association where a number of major projects were accomplished during his tenure. Among them were securing legislative funding of $800,000 for site location of the National Agricultural Genotyping Center and $2 million for bio-fuel distribution infrastructure. Tom was instrumental in restructuring the corn inbred release mechanism at NDSU into a royalty based system. He also worked closely with the Risk Management Agency of the USDA to expand federal crop insurance coverage for corn to more than 18 counties in northern, central, and western North Dakota. Tom secured a federal USDA grant for risk management education to growers and coordinated the programming. His favorite presentation is making people aware of their personality types and the strengths and weaknesses that personality has in making grain marketing decisions. Additionally he has presented testimony to the Public Service Commission on the risk exposure of North Dakota grain handling.

Tom, his wife, Stacey, and daughter, Aubrey, reside in rural Cass County.