By Joe Camp, Jason Czapka, and Drew Hesker
A light breakfast at the hotel followed the hearty jambalaya dinner provided to by special guests Gary and Ann Baise in their Virginia home. Monday morning’s seminar started strong with a riveting presentation about the World Bank’s mission of ending poverty by the Head of the Africa Policy Unit, Holger Kray. Holger extolled the many virtues of agriculture in Africa and had us excited with thoughts of our International Studies possibly being somewhere on that continent.
Our second stop of the day was at USAID. Jen Mack, Deputy Assistant to the Administrator in USAID’s Bureau for Food Security, welcomed the IALP Class of 20’ to USAID Bureau for Food Security and provided a history and mission of the organization. Rob Bertram, Chief Scientist in USAID’s Bureau for Food Security, discussed the Feed the Future initiative and Soybean Innovation Lab USAID, including why USAID invests in agriculture. Nora Lapitan, Division Chief of Research in the Bureau for Food Security, discussed an overview and the benefits of the Innovation Lab USAID. Jerry Glover, National Geographic Society Explorer, and Senior Sustainable Agricultural Systems enlightened the group on the Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab, which is helping to increase productivity within agriculture. John Peters wrapped up the session at USAID with a discussion on the history and impact of the Farmer 2 Farmer program.
After our time at USAID, we walked through The Mall to the USDA. We first listened to Martin Barbre, RMA Administrator, on new crop insurance programs his team his working on. As an Illinois farmer, he understands that risk protection not only benefits the farmer but the rural communities as a whole. Next, Under Secretary McKinney gave the IALF an update on the status of the various trade agreements President Trump is working on. He expressed optimism on those pending deals, and how U.S. Ag is poised to benefit from them. After Under Secretary McKinney, Dr. Holland discussed the role of NIFA and Brandon Lipps covered the nation’s 15 federal nutrition assistance programs.
The highlight of our time at USDA was having a Q&A session with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. He was very open with us on topics ranging from trade to genetics and organic farming to President Trump’s 2018 Market Facilitation Program. The program will very likely not be repeated in 2019, so he suggested using the futures markets to lock in minimal margins if the opportunity exists. In
A visit to Nestle Corporation lived up to the hype created by IALP President and CEO Lee Strom, who promised us the best view of Washington DC. Gathered on the 33rd floor of the Nestle building, the Class of 2020 was addressed by Senior Vice President of Corporate and Government Affairs Molly Fogarty with her colleague Kent Wilson, Policy Advisor, U.S. Public Affairs. We were immensely grateful for the opportunity to hear about the world’s largest food company and its connections with U.S. and global agriculture.
Monday ended with ample time for fellowship among the classmates. A few eventually went off to find a quite spot for work, including the Presiding