John Andrews, Joey Mitchell, and Randi Gerwatosky represented ARE’s Agricultural Business Management undergraduate program at the Agricultural Future of America (AFA) Conference from November 1st thought November 4th in Kansas City, Missouri. AFA Leaders Conference is a four-track program designed to offer college men and women four different personal and professional development opportunities matched to their year in college. Students are given the opportunity to network with peers and leaders in the agriculture industry as well as increase their excitement about the future of agriculture by creating awareness about career opportunities in food and agriculture.
Randi explains that it was a “networking opportunity of a lifetime” and despite being naturally shy she opened up when it was time to interact with the 85 nationally-known companies’ representatives in attendance. At a breakfast with Nutrien’s head manager of supply chains, Randi was advised that “change is inevitable, it’s going to happen whether you want it to or not so you have to search for the positives in it and look as it as an opportunity to grow.”
Joey, who was attending for the second time, identified one takeaway as learning that “there isn’t a tradeoff between valuing diversity and inclusion and being profitable; rather, the two correlate. Encouraging diversity and inclusion helps profitability because more perspectives and ideas are introduced into the decision making process, and the business is financially better off because of it.” Joey also appreciated the networking opportunities with companies like Farm Credit, Rabo Agrifinance, Helena and BASF.
The seminars that John most appreciated focused on evaluating job offers, saving money, paying off debt, and preparing for change in the agriculture industry. The three students all agree that the conference flew by but the positive effects will last a lifetime.