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Ag HR Roundtable -- Attendee Turn Out Up in 2010!
August 18, 2010

Ag HR Roundtable – Attendee Turn Out Up in 2010!
More than 155 human resources and university career services professionals joined together to discuss agriculture employment topics and partake in valuable networking at the 8th Ag HR Roundtable.
Hosted by Syngenta, industry professionals came from across the United States and Canada to attend the conference August 2 – 3, 2010 held in Minnetonka, MN. A full schedule of both educational and networking activities, led to one of the most successful events to date.
Joining us for a special welcome from Syngenta was David Morgan, Head of NAFTA Corn and Soybeans and President of NAFTA Seed. He greeted participants, shared a little about Syngenta but focused most of his comments toward the state of the industry and more specifically the talent pipeline and the opportunities available within agriculture. He said now is a great time to be looking at careers in agriculture! This was a sentiment that was expressed by several speakers throughout the conference.
Russell Weathers, president of Agriculture Future of America (AFA), provided the event’s keynote address by taking a further look at the talent entering the agriculture industry. He also shared some new research that AFA recently conducted on the preparedness of students. Participants were able to see where student and corporate perceptions of the necessary skill sets differed. 
The following day, participants learned about best practices in selection from Lynn Toney and Melinda Grau of John Deere. Participants also had a chance to ask questions and hear from some of today’s students and what they are looking for in an employer or their first job. Always an entertaining or eye-opening opportunity, this session showcased the potential of this young generation and what they can bring to an organization.
Syngenta recently built a new headquarters for their Seeds Division and a large initiative with their new facility is to be more environmentally conscientious or ‘green’. Caroline Ridout and Sharon Formato with Syngenta, shared a very brief presentation about the facility and the many features participants should look for in the building.  From coffee tables made from the timber cut down in the process of building, to the varying bins for trash, recyclables and compost, all were unique aspects that participants noticed as they networked in the facility during breaks.
Tuesday afternoon, guests attended a variety of concurrent sessions. A series of tracks provided topics for all audience members. The three tracks consisted of university/college focused sessions, recruitment sessions, and general human resources sessions. A great line-up of speakers for these sessions helped all to learn something new.
That evening, guests were treated to a wonderful dinner cruise on Lake Minnetonka. The weather cooperated marvelously and all enjoyed the time outside interacting with old and new friends.
The conference wrapped up on Wednesday with sessions from Balvinder Gill of Viterra, who discussed human resource practices for a global workforce. Jim O’Connell with Ceridian ended the conference on a high note with a review of the upcoming changes to the healthcare system. Jim’s informational yet entertaining style provided great insight on what these healthcare changes will mean for employers.
Guests had opportunities to network throughout the conference and as evaluations show each year, this is one of the most critical components to the success of the event for participants. This year beyond the dinner cruise, participants could participate in a Minneapolis tour, Syngenta research tour, the Welcome Reception, an optional Table Topics breakfast or a Social Media breakfast. All of these great networking events would not be possible without the support of sponsors. We would once again like to thank this year’s sponsors: Syngenta, ADM, AFA, CHS, Inc., J.R Simplot, Land O’Lakes, Seaboard Foods, and Valent.

Mark your calendars for the 2011 Ag HR Roundtable to be held August 1 – 3, 2011 on the Purdue University campus. If you would like to be included on the 2011 Ag HR Roundtable mailing list, please click here to email your contact information to

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