As challenges for agriculture continue to evolve around the globe, they also continue to affect agricultural production and agribusiness. The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program (IALP) Class of 2020 recently investigated these issues – including hunger, food security, and technology. The GROWMARK Global Challenges Seminar was held in Chicago and included presentations by 11 speakers. The IALP is sponsored by the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation (IALF).
What are the challenges of international production? How do managers build a global workforce and retain the culture of a company? How are projects and people managed thousands of miles away? How can U.S. agriculture help farmers, the agriculture infrastructure, and food security in developing countries?
The seminar began with a visit to the Nutrien Terminal in Hammond, Indiana. Fellows toured the facility and learned about the logistics and the company’s operations. The visit was organized by IALP Class of 2020 fellow Sean Goretskie of Nutrien. The class then heard a presentation from Dr. Robert Mullen, Director of Agronomy for Nutrien concerning the company’s global initiatives.
The seminars second day took place at McCormick Place in Chicago and began with a welcome and remarks from Dan Mehochko of the IALP Class of 2016. Mehochko serves as the Market Development Manager for GROWMARK, Inc., which sponsored the three-day seminar.
Larita Clark, CFO for the Metropolitan Pier and Expansion Authority(MPEA), discussed the day-to-day operations of the MPEA and an overview of its mission. Clark’s remarks were followed by a tour of the McCormick Place Rooftop Gardens project.
Dr. Diana Horvath, President & Director of 2Blades Foundation, followed that discussion with a presentation on “Putting Science Into Action for Global Food Security,” which outlined efforts to combat world hunger by eliminating crop disease that affects small-holder farmers.
Matt Bell, Managing Director for the Discovery Partners Institute, addressed the class on the organization’s mission of building prosperity and workforce development in Illinois in several areas including agriculture. Bell was followed by Kate Maehr, Executive Director and CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository on the challenges of feeding the hungry and addressing the issue of poverty.
Rounding out the afternoon session was Theresa Mintle, Interim Vice-Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Mintle shared her leadership journey and discussed the attributes of what makes an effective leader. The final speaker of the day was Mark Beckmann, Director of Industry Solutions, Microsoft Manufacturing Sector. Beckmann presented on Microsoft’s effort’s in technology and data to further advance agriculture around the globe.
The third day of the seminar took the Class of 2020 to CNH Industrial in Burr Ridge, Illinois, facilitated by current class fellow Jason Czapka of CHN Industrial. IALP fellows were taken on a tour of the facility and learned about the companies work as a global equipment manufacturer. The seminar concluded at CNH Industrial with presentations by Monte Weller, (IALP ’16), Case IH Crop Production and Hay & Forage Product Line Director on crop production challenges and initiatives, followed by Robert Zemenchik, Case IH Global Product Manager Precision Solution & Telematics, focusing on the company’s precision solutions and telematics program.
Also joining the CNH team and addressing the fellows was David Larson, (IALP ’86), CNH Industrial Ag Digital Partnerships & Special Projects.
The next seminar for the IALP Class of 2020 will be the Martin L. Andreas Energy and Ecosystems seminar in the St. Louis Metro area on August 21-23.
The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation provides a 19-month seminar series that develops knowledgeable and effective leaders to become policy and decision-makers for the agricultural industry.