Agriculture faces a variety of challenges and opportunities in the near future including finding a way to feed a growing global population and cultivating new leaders.
In this environment, Monsanto Company is developing the technologies farmers need to produce more crops using fewer resources and is committed to training a new generation of agriculture leaders. One way Monsanto identifies these leaders is through partnering with Agriculture Future of America on leader development programs for college students and young professionals pursuing careers in agriculture. Through this partnership, Monsanto financially sponsors student delegates to the AFA Leaders Conference and invests time in building relationships with delegates, providing them with valuable insight into working in agriculture.
Students, such as local student Erin Christenson who attends South Dakota State University, were able to gain added-value in the Conference environment through personal interactions with Monsanto employees, including those from the company’s human resources, vegetable and business divisions. Christenson from Saint James, Minn., was invited to a special breakfast at Conference where Monsanto employees, many of them AFA alums, took the time to learn student’s stories as well as share the opportunities Monsanto has to offer.
“AFA has a history of success in creating leader training, personal development and peer networking opportunities for young adults who are interested in careers in agriculture,” said Karen Wishart, Monsanto vice president of human resources. “At Monsanto we too believe investing in AFA students is important to the future of our industry and we are committed to the young people that will lead the next generation.
For four days, Nov. 1-4, over 500 students met in Kansas City, Mo., for the AFA Leaders Conference. They engaged with agriculture and food industry professionals and developed soft skills they needed to put their scholastic and leadership training into action. Student delegates were chosen through a competitive application process and their participation was funded through a variety of means including sponsorship from their school, community or industry businesses, such as Monsanto, that partner with AFA.