GreenSeam: Developing Talent & Innovation

Although everyone has to eat to survive, many people in the United States give very little thought to where their food actually comes from. For many in the Minnesota-Iowa area, much of their food may be coming from very close to home due to the area’s rich farming land and strong ties to agribusiness. GreenSeam LLC sees how much the world relies on and is impacted by agriculture, and to forward agribusiness in the areas of southern Minnesota-northern Iowa, GreenSeam has a united Board of Governors that seek to accomplish this goal.

At the University of Minnesota, I currently serve as the dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS), director of the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES), and professor of applied economics. I am on the GreenSeam board because I’ve been working in ag my entire life. I grew up on a family farm and it’s still in our family. My present role at the U of M is to help develop the talent and innovation necessary to meet both our regional agricultural economy and meet the growing demands for food security and preservation of our natural resource.  GreenSeam provides a way to connect that work to advance needs of the GreenSeam region and beyond.  GreenSeam helps the U of M to remain relevant in delivering talent and innovation and we strive to develop those resources for GreenSeam.

GreenSeam and the southern Minnesota-Northern Iowa area matter to me because I am originally from Iowa so it really cuts across both borders for me. GreenSeam addresses critical goals of regional economic development and supporting investment and talent development.  This in turn supports the vibrancy of rural and regional communities that rely on agriculture as a key engine of growth. In my particular role, that growth represents greater opportunity for our students to enter fulfilling careers in agriculture and rural communities.

Since I grew up on a farm, I’ve had the opportunity to work and engage in many facets of agriculture locally, nationally and internationally.  It’s also given me the opportunity to work with people who are likewise dedicated to improving food security and preserving and protecting our natural resources.  As a professor, I’ve also been able to help many students achieve their goals and attain successful careers in agriculture and food businesses as well as work with agribusinesses and government.  Agriculture has been a constant part of my life and I’ve been fortunate to be a part of Minnesota’s agricultural heritage and future.