Global Food Challenge Launches Career in D.C.Share
In 2014, Trey Forsyth’s college advisor told him about a new program Land O’Lakes was implementing called the Global Food Challenge. Forsyth’s thoughts immediately turned to butter.
“I had the image some people have of the company,” Forsyth, then a sophomore at Iowa State University majoring in ag business, recalls. “I was intrigued, though, and did some research into the program and into Land O’Lakes’ corporate philosophy, including some of the projects it had going on in Africa.”
Suddenly, a chance to intern with “the butter company” turned into an experience that would change Forsyth’s life.
For Forsyth, the initial allure of being selected as an Emerging Leader in the Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge was the chance to go not only to Botswana, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia, but to Washington, D.C. “That was a big opportunity that I wanted to take advantage of,” he says. “I liked all of the travel opportunities the program offered, including going to Indiana to get on-the-ground experience at a cooperative. I was also excited to engage with students and faculty from other prominent agriculture and business schools.”
The trip to Washington, D.C., was a game changer for Forsyth. “I knew I was interested in perhaps pursuing a career in policy, and it offered some valuable networking opportunities. I really enjoyed getting to share the story of the Global Food Challenge program with members of Congress and elected officials. That was a rewarding experience.”
And the experience continues. Earlier this summer, Forsyth began working full-time in Land O’Lakes’ Washington, D.C., office on the government relations team, after spending a year at the Land O’Lakes corporate office.
Where the action is
In his current position, Forsyth works on federal affairs that affect both Land O’Lakes cooperative members and the business. “One way we advocate for policies that positively affect our business and our members is by using our cooperative network for grassroots efforts,” says Forsyth. “For example, we invite our members to Washington and brief them on key issues that Land O’Lakes is advocating on behalf of. We also help them tell their story with elected officials and represent our cooperative on Capitol Hill.”
Learning to collaborate
Forsyth credits the Global Food Challenge with demonstrating the importance of collaboration, whether it’s between the public and private sectors or between agricultural cooperatives and the farmers they represent and members of Congress.
“The cool thing about D.C. is that there are many ways for the agriculture industry to coalesce and have a strong voice in a way that can benefit farmers at home and abroad,” he says. “Just understanding the importance of that coordination and how Land O’Lakes can strengthen its voice by partnering with others has been very helpful to me.”
Paying it forward
Forsyth remains active in the program today as an alumni. During his Global Food Challenge experience, Forsyth spent a week at Ceres Solutions — the previously mentioned Land O’Lakes cooperative in Indiana. “I was actually able to take two Emerging Leaders back to Ceres Solutions last year as a chaperone and mentor,” he says. “Not only do we have a Global Food Challenge alumnus interning with us here in D.C., but we also brought the current class of Emerging Leaders out to Washington in July. The relationships the program has created will always be one of the favorite parts of my experience.”
© 2018 Land O’Lakes, Inc.