Focus on Food Production Recap

September, 2016

This August, three instructors and nineteen participants from across the University of Minnesota and Chiang Mai University in Thailand explored two complex food systems in the week-long Focus on Food Production program. 

100% of participants said program expanded their understanding of food production systems

Food commodities and agricultural crops, such as pork and soybeans play critical roles relevant to public health, energy and economic vitality, feeding the increasing global human population, and providing multiple outputs from feed for animals, to fuel for vehicles, transpiration and energy.

95% of participants said the program will make them more effective in their area of work, study or research

The organizations that buy, sell, trade, produce, manufacture and process these commodities and crops need employees who understand the nature of business and business models within the food system. The Focus on Food Production program two main goals were to help participants understand the nature of business and business models within the agriculture and food system, and gain new perspective on pork and soybeans and their impact and implications on the state, national and global stage. By all accounts it was a very successful program, with our participants saying: 

  • "I was able to identify specific and crucial needs in different links within the chain of food production."
  • "I liked the diversity of student background, faculty background and speakers."
  • "You learn the most when you actually can see things in real life and can talk with the experts. I learned a lot about the complexity of the food systems."
  • "I liked the interdisciplinary nature of this program and the chance to have quality time to interact with students and professionals from other programs." 

We would like to extend a huge thank you to our guest speakers and site visit locations:

  • Great speakers from Ecolab, Food Safety Information Service, Minnesota Department of Agriculture,  College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Site visit locations to the Southern Minnesota Experiment Station, Minnesota Soybean Office, AgStar Financial, Duncanson Farm, Kibble Equipment, Minnesota Pork Producers and Hormel. 

Focus on Food Production 2016

soybean filed

Out into the field to take a closer look at how the plans grow

soybean filed

Soybean field

pig processing facility

Visit to the Southern Minnesota Experiment Station

pig processing facility

Pigs were used as an example of complex food systems

man giving presentation

Sustainability is just one of the many factors looked at by those in the agriculture business

Women in tractor

Tractor Fun!!!

At John Deere equipment deeler

Visit to Kibble Equipment, a John Deere Dealer to see the equipment used in soybean production

Outside of the SPAM museum

Visit to the SPAM museum

Group presentations

Final reports at the end of the program.

Group photo of attendees

Program at Minnesota Soybean Office in Mankato