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A Successful 2006 US Ag HR Roundtable
August 11, 2006

The 2006 US Ag HR Roundtable was held last week, August 7-9, 2006, and brought together nearly 150 human resources, university career services, and association professionals from the agribusiness industry.

This year's conference, hosted by Monsanto in St. Louis, Missouri, was packed with a great line-up of topics and speakers to help participants explore opportunities for growth and improvement when recruiting and retaining talent. Participants had multiple opportunities to network and collaborate to solve these issues.

The event kicked off with a keynote address from Director Fred Ferrell of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Director Ferrell's speech set the stage for the overall event by sharing his experience regarding the general public's perception of career opportunities in agriculture.

Andy Overbay, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and Dr. Levon Esters, Iowa State University, reviewed how employers and universities can work together to recruit students into agriculture majors. Andy shared recent research that he has done that shows that half of kids determine their career path between first and ninth grade. Dr. Esters shared his experiences of recruiting students into the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences.

Pete Heidelberg of Monsanto shared the new plan that they have implemented to help streamline the on-boarding process in hopes to impact retention. To conclude the days speakers, Jim Welch with The Growth Leader Inc., shared an inspirational talk on bringing four generations together in the workplace and how to brand the agribusiness industry.

On the final day, Dennis Clark of John Deere, addressed the upcoming problem of 'Baby Boomer' retirement. He stated that as of July 2005, the first 'Boomers' turned 59 and 25,000 'Boomers' will turn 59 each day for the next decade. He shared how John Deere as well as a few other companies are planning to deal with this issue.

To conclude the day, Liz Anderson with Pioneer Hi-Bred International, and Bob Broeckelman with Farm Credit, shared some up and coming recruitment tools. Their demonstration changed the way participants thought about pre-screening options and also recruitment management products.

Other educational components were provided through a Monsanto corporate tour and multiple breakout sessions.

Picture: Several members of the team participating in the 2006 US Ag HR Roundtable pose with our Monsanto host contact, John Lyday, at the Welcome Reception. (Left to Right: Eric Spell,; Rebecca Middleton, Rimfire Resources; Ashley Warlick and Kathryn Doan,; and John Lyday, Monsanto)

Beyond the educational aspect, participants had many great opportunities to network provided by our sponsors. The Welcome Reception, sponsored by Partners Advantage, had a great turn out. And the Grant's Farm dinner and Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour, sponsored by Anheuser-Busch, were one of a kind.

Thank you again to our participants, presenters, Monsanto, Partners Advantage, and Anheuser-Busch for helping to make the 2006 US Ag HR Roundtable a success.

If you missed the US Ag HR Roundtable, you still have a chance to get in on the action. Plan to attend the Canadian Ag HR Roundtable on September 26 - 28, 2006 in Guelph, Ontario. For more information click here.

To be included on the 2007 Ag HR Roundtable mailing list please e-mail your contact information to

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