The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program (IALP) Class of 2020 participants recently explored innovation and change in agriculture during the “Farm Credit Innovation & Change Seminar,” sponsored by Farm Credit Illinois and Compeer Financial held in Chicago. The IALP is sponsored by the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation (IALF).
The seminar held at Wells Fargo in downtown Chicago, beganwith a presentation on the emerging developments and trends in alternative meats, presented by Sasha Duchnowski, Partner with Bain and Company. Duchnowski addressed the science, venture capital funding and consumer trends for this new technology and its impact on animal-based protein agriculture.
IALP fellows then received a briefing from Ariella Rada, Consul for Academic and Consumer Affairs and Bob Schwartz, Senior Policy Advisor with the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest. Rada gave an overview of the history of Israel, its government, business environment, culture and technological contributions to agriculture. Schwartz also fielded questions concerning policy issues concerning the country and its impact on the region and the world. Both speakers were part of the preparation for the Class of 2020’s International Study Seminar taking them to Kenya and Israel this coming February and March.
The program resumed its focus on innovation and change with a timely presentation on hemp and cannabis production in relation to agriculture from Eric Diekhoff, Executive Vice-President of Operations with Revolution Global. Diekhoff shared information on government policy, development and challenges the emerging industry segment faces. He also discussed what opportunities producers may have in hemp production.
The class also was welcomed to the seminar by Bob Rhode, Senior Vice-President and General Counsel with Farm Credit Illinois. Rhode gave an overview of Farm Credit Illinois as well as an inspirational presentation on dealing with life challenges and relationships based on the book “Stillness Speaks”.
The afternoon session began with a presentation on soy-based biofuels with Kerry Fogarty, Quality Control Manager with Incobrasa Industries. Fogarty discussed the latest developments in biodiesel and its impact on producers and the ag industry. He also addressed the history of Incobrasa Industries and an overview of their facility in Gilman, Illinois.
The seminar concluded with a focus on agricultural education. Sheila Fowler (IALP ’10), Assistant Principal at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences was joined by students Amaya Butler and Adam Villareal to discuss how the institution is preparing future leaders for agriculture as well as the students’ journey in becoming involved with our industry.
The IALP program continues its seminar schedule with the Maschhoffs’ State Government Seminar on January 15-17 in Springfield.
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. It is a non-profit educational corporation under Illinois law. A board of directors, comprised of recognized leaders in agriculture and business, oversees the program. Candidates for the leadership program are selected during a competitive application process, currently underway for the next class. Men and women 25 to 49 years of age working full-time in production agriculture or agri-related occupations are encouraged to apply. Applications will be accepted through February 29, 2020, for the class that begins this fall.