10955323_10204671582050728_8696646899682697068_nWell, another Ag & Food HR Roundtable has come and gone already! Last week was an exciting whirlwind of new and familiar faces, in-depth conversations on recruitment and retention in agricultural business, riveting speakers, and way too much (but good) food.


I caught up with Breanna Lee, the West Region Recruiter for Crop Production Services, and Emily Gray, Director of Student Services at the University of Tennessee College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, to see what they thought of the 2015 Ag & Food HR Roundtable during the event in St. Charles, Missouri. Breanna attended her first Roundtable event this year while Emily attended her 13th.


Breanna Lee


Q: What did you think of the Roundtable?

A: I really enjoyed it and the opportunity to meet people that I normally wouldn’t. Also, to put a face to an email address or a phone number that I have been in contact with the past couple of months is nice. It’s nice to finally meet the people I’ve been working with behind the scenes.


Q: What are some unique takeaways you’ve had from this Roundtable?

A: The topic of branding really stuck with me. It’s something that needs to be addressed on a yearly basis as a company looks at future employees that are in the millennial generation to cater to what they’re looking for and how we can connect with them. The branding session was an “ah-ha” for me. I got great ideas on how to really meet the needs of the younger individuals that we are recruiting.


Q: What unique purpose do you think the Roundtable serves for agribusiness professionals?

A: I think keeping a fresh outlook on what the industry is doing on a national level rather than just your local area gives you a fresh perspective on new ideas and things that the future may entail for not only you but the company as a whole.


Q: Would you return to the Roundtable next year and would you refer this event to a colleague?

A: Absolutely. I look forward to next year and seeing familiar faces I’ve connected with. I’d like to see how the things I’ve taken away this year have changed in a year’s course, if I’ve implemented them.


Emily Gray


Q: How has this Roundtable compared to other Roundtables you’ve been to?

A: I have attended all of the Roundtable events and they’ve all been very productive experiences. It’s always fun to come back and see faces from past years and always meet someone new. The networking is great. I always meet companies who maybe haven’t recruited at UT before and I get excited about that possibility.


Q: What are some unique takeaways you’ve had from this Roundtable?

A: I thought the discussion about finding the perfect fit was very appropriate. As a career development professional, I’m always trying to encourage students to find what they’re passionate about. I thought that session brought out not only the technical skills, but the soft skills that we always tell students we need, and also find that right fit for the culture so that they can be successful.


My Own Takeaways


This was also MY first Roundtable event working with AgCareers.com, and after hearing about it for a year and a half, I had my expectations set pretty high. But the event certainly didn’t disappoint. I got to meet so many new people who are working hard each day to promote our industry and fill it with talented individuals to help secure our future. What was refreshing about this conference was how welcoming everyone was. I’m pictured above with some of my new friends at the networking dinner, which was held at The Foundry in St. Charles. It really felt as though we were all drawn together by our common goals of fueling the agricultural industry with fresh ideas and talent. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I left the conference feeling excited about the future and ready to implement my takeaways into actions throughout the next year.


Get a more in-depth wrap-up of the Roundtable by subscribing to our newsletter. Also, save the date for the 2016 Roundtable held August 2-4 by DuPont Pioneer in Johnston, Iowa.

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