A Woman’s Perspective from the 2nd Annual Women in Agribusiness Summit

Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Woman farmer studying crops

  • What are some of the key demographics of women in agribusiness?
  • What lessons can be learned from female leaders in our industry?
  • How can agribusiness unite as a single voice when it comes to public policy?
These are a few of the questions that were answered at the second annual Women in Agribusiness Summit last week in Minneapolis.  And they are only a taste of what took place at this two-day-long meeting of the minds…minds that just happen to belong to some of the top females in agribusiness. Inci Dannenberg (far left) talks innovation with representatives from DuPont Pioneer, Mercaris and Agrium

The summit featured a mix of keynotes, break-out sessions, roundtables and panel discussions spanning both professional development topics and hard-hitting issues related to our industry.  Examples include innocuous subjects like Strategies for Recruiting and Advancing Women in Agribusiness and what might be considered more controversial subject matter, like GMO labeling.   (And we have to give a shout out to our Vice President of Commercial Operations, Inci Dannenberg, who participated on the panel discussion regarding strategies for developing cutting-edge innovations in agribusiness.  She made us proud!)

 

Meshea Brodie received Demeter Award of Excellence, Innovator of the Year Award There were many passionate women in attendance — 434 to be exact — representing 165 companies along the agribusiness spectrum.  They expressed their views.  They asked questions.  They shared best practices.  They honored industry colleagues (like our own Meshea Brodie, State Registration Manager, who received an inaugural Demeter Award of Excellence for spearheading the Bayer CropScience Women’s Leadership Initiative.  Way to go, Meshea!) And last, but not least, they networked, hopefully making some new friends in the process.

 

While everyone didn’t agree on every subject (let’s face it; a little contention is healthy), there were some things on which we all seemed to agree: An executive with Land O’Lakes talks about Agribusiness and how it’s a great growth industry with mission value and opportunity for women


*  Diversity is good, and our industry has opportunities for improvement in that area, particularly on the gender front. Diversity fosters innovation, and we can always use more of that.


*  STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education is extremely important to the future of agriculture. We owe it to ourselves and each other to help get the next generation excited about and engaged in these areas.


*  Agriculture has an important mission to fill, and it’s only going to become more important (albeit more challenging) as the population continues to grow.  So, despite the controversy that’s out there, we must work together to find solutions.  The Global population is counting on it; even if not all of them realize it yet.


Thank you to everyone who helped organize and sponsor this special event.  May it continue to improve and grow as much as it did from last year’s inaugural summit to this year.  (It nearly doubled in size from both a content and a participant standpoint!!)  Not too shabby.


Some Stats Shared at the Event:


     -    Men comprise the 86% majority in Agribusiness


     -    The Ag industry will soon have a significant shortfall of graduates; 54,000 ag-related jobs generated annually; Only 24,000 graduates with ag degrees 


     -    In 1930, farmers made up 22 % of the workforce and each farmer fed around 10 people; Today, farmers make up about 2% of the workforce and each farmer feeds about 155 people


     -    By 2050 food production will have to increase by 70% to meet higher demand, despite declining natural resources.


About Jennifer Poore:

 

Jennifer is responsible for managing internal communications and promotional strategies for Bayer CropScience in the U.S. to educate and engage employees, promote a high performance culture and foster employee pride in the company.


Hired in 2010, she works with senior leaders and various functional areas to provide guidance and communication elements for special internal communication initiatives while also managing and coordinating on-going internal communication programs and events.   She also supervises internal and contracted communications support staff and serves as the communications lead for the Bayer CropScience’s high performance culture initiative in the U.S.


Jennifer holds a BS in Marketing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.  She has more than 17 years of professional communications experience spanning roles in both marketing and corporate communications and has worked in both the chemical and life sciences industries.

 

 

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