The fourth annual CSU Ag Innovation Summit wraps up Friday at the Lory Student Center on the Colorado State University campus.
Since its debut in 2015, the summit has brought together representatives from higher education, industry and government with a range of diverse perspectives to spark conversations about the future of agriculture.
This year's summit focuses on the theme of "Building the Innovation Mindset."
"We wanted to broaden the conversation around innovation beyond strictly technology to include the science of organizations — how we can be innovative in building processes, teams and cultures for transformative results," noted Paula Mills, who organizes the annual summit. "One way innovation shows up this year is in diversity and inclusion, one of the core values of the college's strategic plan. Incorporating a variety of perspectives in our decision-making is not only the right thing to do, but it makes good business sense."
The event will feature two keynote speakers: Saswati Bora, head of food systems innovation for the World Economic Forum, and Robb Fraley, former executive vice president and chief technology officer for Monsanto.
As the head of food systems innovation at the World Economic Forum, Bora leads a global initiative to use technology and innovations to address food systems challenges. She is also responsible for content development, partnership facilitation, and program development on food systems transformation.
At the summit, Bora was scheduled to address global forces — macroeconomic, environmental, political, social, technological and financial — that demand a relentless focus on innovation in agriculture.
Fraley, who is scheduled to speak on Friday, led a team of agricultural scientists at Monsanto dedicated to developing seeds and solutions that help farmers around the world yield a more abundant, affordable and sustainable food supply. His keynote will focus on the importance of disruptive thinking and technologies to a successful future for global agriculture.
Several panels are also being featured during this year's summit.
Highlights include Polly Ruhland, executive director of the United Soybean Board and a CSU alumna, who will discuss the opportunity of using agriculture as a teaching tool to expose more students to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.)
Quentin Tyler, the associate dean and director for diversity, equity and inclusion at Michigan State University's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, will join a panel on leveraging diversity as a catalyst for innovation.
Florian Schattenmann, vice president for research and development at Cargill, will be part of a leadership roundtable on the defining characteristics of perennial innovators.
The final industry panel will feature Candace Laing, vice president of sustainability and stakeholder relations at Nutrien, who will discuss innovation for resilient food systems.
Select female leaders from the summit program will also serve as panelists at a networking event on Friday evening, where they'll share wisdom from their leadership journey with CSU students.
The Ag Innovation Summit is part of a special series of events being held in conjunction with Colorado State University's 150th anniversary.