The IALP Class of 2010 was greeted with sunshine and less wind as we headed out for Day 4 in Washington DC. The group was greeted at the World Bank with a continental breakfast. This was followed by a nearly two hour session with Mark Cackler, World Bank Manager of Agriculture and Rural Development. There are 180 countries that own the World Bank; the US ownership is 18%. Startling, but real numbers, 75% of the world’s poor are living in rural areas most likely involved in farming. The World Bank is interested in poverty alleviation.
Agriculture remains the fundamental way for poverty reduction. The group was challenged with the necessity to grow twice the food production on our existing amount of land. Mr. Cackler asked many questions of the group on US crop production and trends. One last statistic that struck a nerve with many in the group; 940 million people are going to bed hungry each night. As leaders in Agriculture and food producers – we can make a difference.
After traveling the metro system and in cabs, we were greeted at the Farm Credit Administration by Mr. Lee Strom, Chairman and CEO (IALP Class of 1988). The group had a concentrated hour and a half at the location, including a working lunch. Speakers included: Lee Strom (Chairman and CEO), Dallas Tonsager (Board Member), Roland Smith (Secretary of the Board), Charlie Rawls (General Counsel) and Bill Hoffman (COO). Agriculture this far has held strong through this down economic time.
The group had the very rare opportunity to spend the remainder of our afternoon at the Office for the Director of National Intelligence. It was an eye opening experience and a chance to learn more on topics that most of us knew very little about. Our general topics of discussion were:
· Intelligence from the Private Contractor Perspective – TAC
· CIA and Its Role in the Intelligence Community
· Department of National Intelligence Overview – How We Got Here; Where We Go From Here
· Agro-Terrorism, a USDA Perspective
· DHS Fusion Center – Illinois
· FBI Support to the US Ag Sector
With our only free night of the week, the majority of the group opted to go on the Monuments by Moonlight tour aboard our very own Old Town Trolley. While nighttime may not seem like the most ideal time to visit the prestigious monuments of our capital, it was truly the only opportunity during the week (and many have never been here before). We found it all to be equally breathtaking and moving.
We once again want to thank our Sponsors and everybody who worked so diligently to give us all of these opportunities.