“We know we need to think differently about education and to help you help your students,” said Polly Ruhland, executive director of the United Soybean Board. Ruhland spoke to teachers attending Nourish the Future’s Science of Food and Fuel workshop in St. Louis during dinner. This workshop, sponsored by a USDA NIFA grant, included lessons from both GrowNextGen and Nourish the Future’s websites.
“Agriculture is facing an enormous challenge in the future. We have a tech talent dearth. We need diverse scientists who bring outside points of view into agriculture to help us innovate faster than we ever have before. We need different faces and different voices and different ways of being and thinking to help us move into the future. If we continue only to recruit from ag families—by the way, ag families are shrinking a number every day—we’re in trouble.”
“We’ve got to have that innovation and talent that lives in the brains and behind the faces of people that we have not been welcoming to in agriculture as much as we should have been. This is why we fund programs like this at the United Soybean Board. The farmers realize that diversity is an issue. The farmers want good technical, innovative talent in agriculture for the future. And those are different faces and different voices and different backgrounds—hardly any of them are going to come from a farm.”
“We will continue at United Soybean Board to fund programs like this for you and for the children that you nurture and teach, because we believe in you and we believe in your mission, and we thank you,” Ruhland concluded.
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