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2017 Executive Breakfast Forum: Embracing Change & Coming Out on Top

March 26, 2017

On Friday March 24th, 2017, Young Professionals in Ag hosted their annual Executive Breakfast Forum at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny, IA. This event was created to connect young professionals with today’s agriculture executive leaders. 36 executives and 115 young professionals were in attendance.


 Young Professionals & Executives visit over breakfast.


David Miller of Iowa Public Television introduces himself.




Each year, the committee who plans the event, choses a topic and keynote speaker based on the current landscape of the agriculture industry. This year they decided to focus on managing change and inspiring young professionals and executives to be proponents of change in a time when change is inevitable. Many conversations and discussions between young professionals and executives during the meal were centered around how one can stay positive and embrace the rapidly changing agriculture industry.

 The panel was moderated by Amanda De Jong, senior policy advisor of Iowa Corn Growers Association and past YPiA board president. She asked questions to the three panelists. Each panelist represents a different sector of the agriculture industry.


The three panelists were:  

                  Mark Core, Vice President at Vermeer. Core will discuss how Vermeer has handled the transition of the Vermeer brand as well as the leadership of the family owned company. He will also share Vermeer's collaboration with Iowa State and the Cultivation Corridor, which is changing the resources available for the next generation of ag professionals.


Janelle Thomas, Chief Human Resources Officer at Landus Cooperative. Thomas joined Landus Cooperative shortly after the merger was completed between the former cooperatives: West Central Cooperative and Farmers Cooperative Company. She'll discuss her role in assisting with the merger and building a brand new culture for the newly merged organization.


Wendy Wintersteen, Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University. Wintersteen will cover the changes happening at Iowa State University, including an increase in enrollment, a large mid-year budget cut, and efforts to increase federal agricultural research funding.


 Mark Core, Janelle Thomas, and Wendy Wintersteen answers questions and provides advice during the panel discussion



A food drive also took place during the Executive Breakfast to raise donations for the Food Bank of Iowa where attendees brought food items or monetary donations. The drive continued for a week after the event. Donation locations were placed throughout several businesses in the Metro. When the drive concluded, $1275 and 250 lbs of food were donated to the Food Bank of Iowa. This is equivalent to more than 5100 meals for Iowa families. Way to go YPiA!

 YPiA Board Members, Michael Dolch, Steph Carlson, and Nathan Katzer delivered the donations to the Food Bank of Iowa.

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