December 15, 2019

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Conversation and Collaboration Opens Careers Opportunities in Agriculture

Submitted by: B.J. Warren

Posted: Aug 17, 2015 – 06:00 AM EST

Series: Education for a Sustainable Future

Tags: agriculture, science, food, education

 
Bjwarren

This is the most recent article in our series "Education for a Sustainable Future". For more articles, go to http://www.csrwire.com/blog/series/86-education-for-a-sustainable-future/posts

The debate around food production, including everything from advanced production technologies to food waste, can’t continue to be a debate. We need to make it a conversation that is inclusive of many perspectives and gets input from multiple disciplines. It was refreshing to be a part of just such conversations at the May Nourishing 9 Billion SolutionLab at University of California, Davis.

Student-led discussions at the SolutionLab focused on how to feed our estimated world population of 9 billion people by 2050. What was most heartening to me about the event was how quickly the students understood the complexity of the problems we face with feeding a growing population. During the group breakout session, students quickly identified several food challenges, but they struggled to develop the solution to solve the problems. The students learned very quickly what all of us in the industry understand: solving this complex problem will take collaboration from many disciplines to identify and implement holistic solutions. 

Collaboration is a point we emphasize at Monsanto. Bringing people from numerous disciplines and with various viewpoints to the table is vital to developing solutions that will meet our growing food needs. That’s why events like the SolutionLab are so important to Monsanto and the industry as a whole – they enable us to expose more students to career opportunities in agriculture. As a member of Monsanto’s University Relations team, it was important to me that students who would not normally engage with one another come together to discuss the challenges of our field. We need students to see how they can fit into agriculture by using their talent to produce more and more nutritious food with less waste while also conserving land, the topic for the UC Davis SolutionLab. At Monsanto alone, we hire more than 300 summer interns, trainees and six-moth co-op employees each year. Our largest programs outside of sales and seed production include engineering, information technology, finance, and technology (breeding, biotechnology, chemistry and regulatory). 

As a former educator, I am well aware of the silos that can form between disciplines. I believe the SolutionLabs empower students from across different academic departments to identify challenges and work together on solutions. By focusing on open and candid dialogue, rather than debate, the students are able to develop more unique and sustainable solutions. This generation needs to be empowered to take up their role as our future leaders who will tackle the challenge of nourishing 9 billion. Support for the SolutionLabs is just one way for Monsanto to encourage this development.

This is the most recent article in our series "Education for a Sustainable Future". For more articles, go to http://www.csrwire.com/blog/series/86-education-for-a-sustainable-future/posts

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by CSRwire contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of CSRwire.

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