By M. Roth
In late October, the National FFA Organization (FFA) held its 82nd annual national convention in Indianapolis, Indiana – and Hugh Grant, Monsanto’s president, chairman and CEO was on hand to deliver the keynote address at Thursday’s general session.
This year’s convention theme was Lead Out Loud, and Grant’s address to the more than 17,000 students, teachers and industry representatives gathered at Conseco Field House underscored agriculture’s increasingly important role in helping address global challenges such as meeting the increased demand for food, conserving natural resources and growing crops in changing climates. He also touched on the role these future leaders will play as agriculture and farming practices become even more important over the course of their careers.
“There’s never been a time when we needed leaders more in agriculture. I don’t think there’s ever been a time in agriculture when farmers have been asked to do so much, and yet at the same time they’re so misunderstood.”
During his talk, Grant also shared what he thought Leading Out Loud looked like to people within the industry and the students in attendance. “It’s a great time to be in agriculture, and the industry must ensure that young people know a career in agriculture is cool and cutting edge,” he said.: “If you were going to choose whether you’d develop the next gadget or whether you help feed hungry people, I think I know the choice you would make. And if people knew the stakes at hand, they would make the right choice too.”
He also focused on each person in the room simply doing more of what they are already doing, whether they are a teacher, an economist, a marketer, a scientist or a grower. “So I’ve left you with some really big challenges, but I’m optimistic about the leadership and the role you play in shaping our future. More and more the world is counting on you and the decisions you will make. So my question is, are you ready?”