According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), fall armyworm was first confirmed on the African continent in 2016. This destructive pest can feed on 80 different crop species, including corn, a food staple in Africa. It has been found in more than 30 African countries and poses a serious threat to the food security, income and livelihoods of people.
As participants in the Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge during the 2017–18 academic year, we learned a great deal about how business can have a positive effect on advancing agriculture, helping mitigate food insecurity and turning something that seems insignificant into something transformative. Our roles as Emerging Leaders in the program changed us forever and helped us further guide our career paths to an agricultural focus.
“Every participant will leave the program with a new and expanded appreciation of agriculture, and awareness of the incredible career opportunities to impact the world.” - John Lumkes, Associate Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Academic mentors who take part in this purposeful program find it nearly as transformative as it is for the students. They:
Play a pivotal role in developing students’ understanding of agricultural, food security and hunger issues;
Connect students with experts in related fields at their institution;
Support students’ research and development; and
Accompany students on a trip to Land O’Lakes International Development locations in Africa.
I'm hoping I’m able to bring a diverse perspective to the Land O'Lakes team and identify possible methods to innovate the Ag industry so that it can become more efficient.