As a high school freshman attending my first FFA meeting, I remember glancing toward a classmate I knew lived in town and likely knew nothing about agriculture. I thought, I wonder what she’s doing here. Is she chasing a farm boy? She was a successful and popular student that excelled in all sports; what interest did she have in agriculture? To my surprise, that classmate of mine ended up teaming up with me on soil judging and multiple speaking contests as well as studying both plant science and agribusiness in agricultural education courses alongside me. While she became quite active in the FFA chapter and agricultural classes in high school, her future endeavors eventually led her away from any prospect of an agricultural career.
As I sat down to write this blog meant to discuss AgCareers.com’s new Careers in Agriculture E-Book, I couldn’t help but think about my initial judgment of her, thinking she couldn’t possibly have any interest in agriculture or agricultural careers. It’s how I looked at most of my classmates and peers in high school as well as college that weren’t from a farming background, especially at the small liberal arts college I went on to attend (perhaps someone could have labelled me similarly to how I labeled my classmate, after all). But what was stopping me from discussing with them the opportunity of pursuing agricultural careers?
If I asked people in the agricultural industry to name two current events that are impacting recruitment these days, I would likely hear mergers and acquisitions right off the bat. It seems there are merger talks or acquisitions being announced every few weeks, and while that may be an exaggeration, there is no doubt our industry is currently experiencing quite a bit of consolidation. Our Organizing Committee of industry professionals for this year’s Ag & Food HR Roundtable Conference felt mergers and acquisitions were an important topic for the event, so we created a panel to dive into “Communicating through Mergers and Acquisitions” (Angie Scott, Lori Herrstrom, and Holly Bergman provided their insights). Great advice was shared on both sides of the merger/acquisition situation. That discussion focused on open and honest communications, as well as building resiliency through change.
Impressed. Surprised. Encouraged. Reflecting on last week’s event, these are the three words that quickly come to mind. The 2017 Ag & Food HR Roundtable was the first for me to attend and it did not disappoint!
Throughout my professional career I have been a part of organizing and executing several large-scale events and am aware of the in-depth planning that is required to successfully host an event with as many participants and speakers as the Roundtable has. The Roundtable went off without a hitch which is a testament to the competency of the organizing committee and AgCareers.com staff. Meals were substantial and caffeine was readily available! Attendees were welcomed with a gift bag full of goodies including the conference proceedings booklet that contained not only the schedule but also valuable conference information and speaker biographies.
Amy Gazaway, Career Development Coordinator for Oklahoma State University – College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, has been to so many AgCareers.com Roundtable events that she says she’s lost count. Which is why she wants to let university professionals know what they also stand to gain and how they can develop their careers at the annual Ag & Food HR Roundtable presented by AgCareers.com.
Why have you continued to attend the Roundtable? What is valuable about it for university professionals, specifically?
The AgCareers.com HR Roundtable provides the best opportunity for university professionals to develop relationships with and learn from industry representatives about how to best prepare students for and connect students to industry talent needs. There is no other opportunity that brings together the number of industry organizations specifically in agriculture and food for this purpose.
One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is the Ag & Food HR Roundtable. From the gathering of ideas and input of our Organizing Committee and then molding that into an agenda that will intrigue and provide solutions to the challenges our audience faces. To the meeting new people and making valuable connections for myself but also among the participants. Each step along the way is rewarding, knowing that this event provides a unique opportunity for human resource and university/college career services professionals within agriculture and food found nowhere else.
It is hard to believe that this will be the Roundtable’s fifteenth year. Yes, I know this ages me, but I’m lucky enough to say I’ve been a part of all but the first one! Plan to join us for a fun celebration of 15 years of success, August 1 – 3 in Kansas City, MO. Our Organizing Committee, yet again, has developed a great agenda and we have plenty of fun networking opportunities – can I say, Boulevard Brewery!!!
AgCareers.com is anxiously awaiting and preparing for the 2017 Ag & Food HR Roundtable in Kansas City, Missouri! This year’s event takes place from August 1-3 and, as always, is chock-full of exciting sessions with a broad range of topics. Not sure if you’d like to attend? Longtime Roundtable attendee Tina Dorner with CHS, Inc. may persuade you with her answers to these questions regarding the 2017 Roundtable:
What keeps you returning to the Roundtable each year?
Each year the roundtable topics are current and relevant to the agriculture industry. It’s an opportunity for me to learn from the presenters and to network with other HR and educational professionals in agriculture.
Wow! What a jam packed few days!
I absolutely loved attending my first AgCareers.com Ag & Food HR Roundtable and look forward to being able to attend again. The networking is amazing! I loved watching all different types of companies from different places with similar goals and challenges get together and share ideas, laugh about similar stories or just vent! Whether it was at a breakfast, break in between sessions or reception in the evening you could spot information being spread throughout.
For me it was awesome to be able to meet people I email and talk to over the phone live and in the flesh! One of my most memorable experiences is when a client told me they expected me to be taller! Well I am all of 5 feet tall but I guess my voice sounds a lot bigger!
Have you secured your spot at the 2016 Ag & Food HR Roundtable yet? You don’t want to miss it! There about as many reasons to attend this valuable HR conference as there are attendees, but the main ones our guests list year after year are:
• Invaluable networking with industry professionals
• Educational and collaborative sessions discussing problems in agricultural recruitment and retention
• A chance to re-energize from the daily grind and return to work refreshed and ready to take action
Historically, agricultural employers such as human resources professionals, recruiting and hiring managers have been the bulk of attendees at each Ag & Food HR Roundtable. This year, we look forward to seeing more than 100 in attendance along with collegiate career services professionals and association representatives from strong agricultural organizations such as FFA and AFA.
The countdown is on! With less than a month to go before the AgCareers.com Ag & Food HR Roundtable, it’s time to get those last-minute registrations in to guarantee your spot to this fun, educational networking event held in Des Moines, Iowa August 2-4, 2016.
The Ag & Food HR Roundtable is an incredibly unique event tailored to all parties involved in the active recruitment and retention of North America’s agricultural workforce. This event sees all kinds of professionals in human resources, recruitment, college career services and agricultural associations from all industries come together to bond over the common issues we face and how we can work together to continue to build the agricultural industry.
As mentioned, career services personnel from universities, colleges and community colleges across the United States and Canada are a crucial part of the Ag & Food HR Roundtable, as major agricultural companies and association representatives are eager to connect with them in order to better their recruitment efforts. University professionals also take advantage of gathering with agriculture-specific career services professionals to share strategies and explore solutions to problems with one another.
While attending an AgChat conference I had the opportunity to listen to a gentleman by the name of Matt Rush. Matt is a fourth generation farmer and cattle rancher from New Mexico. He is also the Executive Vice President of the New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau. Matt is very passionate about his values and the future of agriculture. I really enjoyed his keynote speech and thought his message would fit perfectly with our topic of ag-vocating.
Today, probably more than ever, it is extremely important for all of us to advocate for the agricultural industry. In a world where information is at our fingertips, it is our responsibility to be sure that people are receiving the correct information about the industry. Matt Rush broke down our responsibility using the three V’s. He explained that we all need to be viable, valuable and visible when we agvocate.