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Record Attendance at the 2013 Ag & Food HR Roundtable
August 21, 2013 marked its eleventh annual Ag & Food HR Roundtable with our largest number of attendees ever-- 225 professionals from businesses, organizations, colleges and universities.  DuPont Pioneer hosted the event August 6-8 in the Carver Center at their headquarters in Johnston, Iowa.   

The opening day stressed the enormous need our industry must fill to feed the world’s growing population.  The event kicked-off with Dan Cosgrove, DuPont Pioneer, welcoming everyone to their headquarters.  Scott Vernon, Cal Poly State University opened with a passionate presentation about the honor of a profession in the agriculture and food industries. He quoted the namesake of the DuPont Pioneer Carver Center, George Washington Carver, “When you can do the common things in life, in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.”  Rod Hamilton from Christensen Farms followed with a humorous and enlightening discussion on evaluating today’s talent pipeline. 

The second day of the Ag & Food HR Roundtable was packed full of education and networking.  The morning began with a panel discussion about finding tomorrow’s leaders.  The panel, including Dr. Constance Hargrave, Iowa State University, Rod Hamilton, Christensen Farms, and Dr. Pamala Morris, Purdue University, and moderated by Ashley Collins,, talked about programs that encourage and educate youth about careers in the ag and food industries.

The second session was also a panel discussion about how needs can be met through collaborations of industry and education.  Nancy Barcus, Agriculture Future of America, moderated this session with panelists Carly Cummings, Iowa State University Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative, Chastity English, North Carolina A&T University, and Ann LaPorte, Ziegler Inc.  Panelists and attendees had a frank discussion about the importance of developing students’ soft skills.

Next, Linda Rosser, The Value of a Veteran, educated attendees on how to connect with returning veterans with skills that are valuable to the industry. 

On Wednesday afternoon, participants could select between three concurrent session options. Selections included sessions on talking to students about job offers, translating military experience for the workplace, and employee engagement.  These smaller sessions allowed participants to pick a topic that was most relevant to their position and organization.

After a full day of learning, attendees were treated to a social hour on the terrace and networking dinner at the State Historical Museum. 

The final morning started with Tim Glowa and Richard Kantor of Aon Hewitt.  Their presentation focused on reward programs and what can sometimes be the myth of generational differences.

The roundtable wrapped up with another set of concurrent sessions.  Guests chose from a beg, borrow and share session for university/college professionals, workplace social media, succession planning, and developing total reward solutions sessions.

Several other networking and educational opportunities were provided throughout the conference such as the Welcome Reception, DuPont Pioneer tours, Table Topics breakfast and Work Group Discussions Breakfast.

For the first-time in 2013, attendees had the option to add-on a Compensation & Benefits Workshop to their roundtable registration.  Forty individuals stayed Thursday afternoon for educational sessions on sales compensation for business leaders and marketing benefit programs for maximum employee use. 

We’d like to thank our Roundtable presenters, sponsors and host for helping to make the conference possible. Thank you to our host – DuPont Pioneer, and our sponsors –  Agriculture Future of America, Alltech, BASF, CHS, Inc., Dow AgroSciences , Helena Chemical Company, National FFA, PIC, Purdue University, Syngenta, Valent and Wilbur-Ellis.

To view media coverage of the event visit ZimmCast and for photos visit the Roundtable Flickr photostream.

Mark your calendars and plan to attend the 2014 Ag HR Roundtable – August 5-7, 2014 in downtown Minneapolis, MN hosted by CHS, Inc. To be included on the mailing list email

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