MNPorkLogo_574UP PC 2016

2016 Young Leaders in Agriculture Conference

June 20-22, 2016
Double Tree
Bloomington, MN
Registration Deadline: June 1, 2016

2016 Conference Highlights:



Are you one of agriculture’s future leaders? Do you have the desire and passion to grow your network and develop your skills in order to lead one of the most challenging and rewarding industries in the world- AGRICULTURE?

If Yes, the 2016 Young Leaders in Agriculture Conference is for you!

The Minnesota Pork Board is hosting the second annual Young Leaders in Agriculture Conference ‘Fork to Farm: Consumers influence on our food.’ June 20-22 in Bloomington, MN. The conference is open to 18-22 year-olds interested in agriculture, all areas of agriculture are welcome.

2016 YLAC Logo

June 20, 2016


9:00 a.m.          Registration Begins

9:30 a.m.          Welcome and Introductions

10:00 a.m.        Best Time Ever To Be In Agriculture


Dr. Lowell Catlett – Futurist, Economist and Keynote Speaker

Retired Dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and Regents Professor in Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business and Extension Economics at New Mexico State University

Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, we know that when a consumer’s socioeconomic status changes their demands on our food systems also evolve. As a futurist, Dr. Catlett will address new technologies and share their potential implications on the way we live and work.  As agriculturalists, how do we manage the diversity in consumer’s demands on our food system now and in the future?


11:00 a.m.        Seek to Understand – Critical Thinking and Networking Skills


Lucas Sjostrom – Vice President Sales and Marketing Redhead Creamery and Government and Policy Relations Manager Midwest Dairy Association

How do you work a room? Do you ask questions with the intent to understand other’s viewpoint? In today’s fast paced and competitive agricultural industry it is critical that you maximize every interaction you have with others in an effort to build both your knowledge base and network.  Mr. Sjostrom will share networking best practices and give some pointers on how to ask better questions and develop your critical thinking skills.


12:00 p.m.        Lunch – Consumer Perceptions from an AgVocate’s Perspective


Wanda Patsche Farmer, Blogger and AgVocate

A recent survey of Minnesota consumers showed that 59 percent do not know a farmer.  As we stare this statistic in the face it is imperative that agriculture’s voice has a place in the online discussion about food and agricultural practices.  Wanda’s blog, Minnesota Farm Living, has drawn national attention from supports and critics alike.  Wanda will share her perspective of consumer demands on our food system and what we can do as agriculturalists to engage in the discussion.


1:30 p.m.          Influence: Who has a voice in how we raise food? 

The demands on our food system are complex. Those involved in agriculture do not live in a vacuum therefore it is critical that we cultivate opportunities for agriculturalists to think critically and find shared values with other food influencers including retailers, dieticians, farmers and allied industry. This panel will serve as an opportunity for attendees to gain perspective on the pressures that each respective stakeholder faces as they influence our food.                                     

Emily Zweber – Organic Dairy Farmer

Randy Spronk – Conventional Pig and Row Crop Farmer

Christi Calhoun – Food Chain Outreach, Zoetis

Dr. Joanne Slavin – RD, Ph.D., Professor of Food Science and Nutrition- University of Minnesota

Retailer – TBD


3:00 p.m.          Break


3:30 p.m.          Formal Networking

This will be an opportunity for attendees to network with industry stakeholders in a structured setting.  Individuals in attendance will consist of commodity leaders, Human Resource professionals from across agriculture, farmers and more.  This is designed as an opportunity to develop attendees networking skills which could lead to future mentorships, internships or a career.


5:00 p.m.          Networking Social Hour


June 21, 2016

7:00 a.m.            Breakfast 


8:00 a.m.            Depart for Tours

                                           CHS Barge Loading Station


12:00 p.m.          Return from Tours – Lunch

1:00 p.m.            ENOUGH: Practical solution for a food secure world.

 Shari Westerfeld  Commercial Operations Food Animal Implementation Advisor Elanco


2:00 p.m.            Minnesota Hunger 101

Minnesota Hunger 101 is a unique role play simulation in which participants are asked to take on the life circumstances of someone in Minnesota at risk for hunger. The goal of the simulation is for each participant to try and get enough food to feed his or her family for 1 day by tapping the resources of the food shelf, county human service office applying for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), grocery store and the bank.

Through the simulation, Second Harvest Heartland aims to:

  • Help participants understand the complex, intersecting economic and social circumstances that lead to and perpetuate hunger.
  • Develop compassion and empathy for people in need by helping participants understand how poverty creates tough choices and provides few solutions.
  • Motivate participants in the fight against hunger and poverty and provide specific suggestions for how to take action.

3:30 p.m.            Break

4:00 p.m.            The Power of One

 Aaron Thomas – Teacher, Coach and Public Speaker                     

Aaron Thomas’ father Ed was a beloved high school football coach who not only trained generations of players on the importance of hard work, dedication, excellence and commitment but personally put these values into action when he was the community leader who inspired his town to rebuild in the wake of a deadly EF 5 tornado. Not long after the community withstood the disaster of the storm, the small town of Parkersburg, Iowa, endured a far worse tragedy: the fatal shooting of Ed Thomas by a former player with some mental health issues.

In this incredible story of ordinary people thrust into an extraordinary situation, Aaron Thomas shares his family’s journey of showing uncommon strength during the darkest of times. Aaron will address how to deal with adversity, making the most of all opportunities and the power of one. He will challenge you to look at your life, your family, and your job to see if you are being a difference maker.

5:30 p.m.            Depart for Second Harvest Heartland Volunteering


June 22, 2016

7:00 a.m.            Breakfast

8:00 a.m.            Breakout Sessions

                                           Legislative Involvement 101 – Staci Martin

                                           Communications – Theresa Twohey

                                           HR – Ann Wood-Randeris [Miller Agriculture Recruiting]

                                           Diversity – Dr. Amy Smith

11:00 a.m.          Lunch

11:30 p.m.         10X Challenge – Mark Jewell 

It is one thing to KNOW something, another to BELIEVE it, and entirely another to EXPERIENCE it. This year at YLAC you are going to experience what is required to stop surviving in life and truly start THRIVING. Mark Jewell will be back with us this year to expand on the concept and help us experience his trademarked Surviving to Thriving 10X Challenge. This program is incredibly hands on, and will push you to discover possibilities for yourself that you had never considered. The best part about this activity is that you will actually get to help deliver Real Results in Real Time with a Real Impact in our community. We are so excited for you to experience this!

2:30 p.m.            Review and Close – Safe Travels


Thank you to all of the amazing sponsors that we have


AgStar- Presenting Sponsor PC 2016
Boehringer Ingelheim Boehringer-Logo
CHS Foundation CHS-LOGO
Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council Soybean - PC 2016
PIC ThePigSite_Product&Services
Southern Minnesota Center for Agriculture 3745927_G
Zoetis Zoetis_c - PC 2016