A Yearlong Adventure in AgricultureShare
Since joining the Land O’Lakes, Inc. team in 2014, I’ve been blown away by the people I’ve met, and the students that I’ve led through the Global Food Challenge Emerging Leaders for Food Security fellowship program. You see, my job is to manage the program. From helping to recruit the students in the fall, to what I consider their “graduation” at the end of the summer, I’ve gotten to watch 20 college sophomores transform into 20 agriculture advocates. Year after year, I’m left inspired by these future leaders as they find their passions along the way.
Established in October 2014, the Global Food Challenge fellowship is one of the most unique internship programs in the country. Now, I may be a little biased, but considering the partnerships with leading universities and their professors, mentorships with colleagues of mine from Land O’Lakes who are experts in his or her fields, and visits to farms in rural America, Washington, D.C. and Africa, the opportunities Emerging Leaders have to learn are limitless.
We recently announced the 2016-2017 class of Emerging Leaders, the third in my, and the program’s tenure. Since November, they’ve been busy getting acquainted, accelerated by a brief yet very productive visit to Minnesota. Through a number of assignments, they’ve determined their working styles and personalities and begun to learn a little more about Land O’Lakes. They’ve been assigned to their project teams, three in total, each tasked with creating a feasible, implementable proposal related to agricultural challenges and food security issues.
During their next semester, Emerging Leaders will think big on solutions to address food insecurity here at home, and around the world. With their university advisors, the teams will research and refine their project topics. Then, when they arrive to Land O’Lakes, Inc. headquarters here in Minnesota this May, they’ll work closely with Land O’Lakes mentors to determine how to make their projects best fit within our animal nutrition, dairy foods or crop inputs businesses, or even our International Development nonprofit, as Land O’Lakes works to feed human progress from farm to fork.
As we begin 2017, I’m feeling the excitement of a new year and the anticipation of new ideas to come from this new class of Emerging Leaders. And most of all, I’m looking forward to helping give these 11 Emerging Leaders their voices in agriculture. Follow along with us and maybe you might become an advocate, too.