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Minnesota hosts IFAMA World Conference

Will take place from June 14th – 17th

By Diego Flammini,

Become the Solution: Food Security 2050.

That’s the theme at the 25th International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) World Conference taking place in St. Paul, Minnesota from June 14th – 17th 2015.

It’s estimated that by 2050, the world population will exceed 9 billion people – putting an extraordinary amount of pressure on farmers, processors and the entire agribusiness sector to find a way to provide enough food for the planet.

The conference will feature different roundtable sessions involving people representing education, agribusinesses and other sectors within agriculture, discussing the three main challenges facing the food industry – people, climate and big data.Roundtable

“Human capital is the biggest constraint,” said Mary Shelman, Director of the Agribusiness Program at Harvard Business School who will also serve as a moderator during a roundtable discussion. “It’s not technology, it’s not capital, it’s not even land or water that we talk about. It’s the people that have the right types of skills and capabilities that want to work at all levels of the food system, whether that’s from the farm all the way to the processing and the retail sectors.”

In order for people to acquire the skills that Shelman talked about, they have to attain a higher education. Making sure that agribusiness is part of the curricula going forward can be a tough task for professors.

“The real challenge for us as educators is that goal of feeding 9.2 billion requires solutions that are multifaceted,” said Drew Starbird, Dean of the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University. “It’s not just about producing more food, it’s about distributing more food. Food distribution involves supply chain issues, politics and communication.”

Tell us your thoughts about the upcoming IFAMA conference in St. Paul. Are you attending? As a farmer, what are some challenges that you’ll face as the population and demand for food continues to grow?

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