Students Attend the 2019 World Food Prize

Posted: November 15, 2018

This year two undergraduate students pursuing a minor in International Agriculture (INTAG) and one graduate student pursuing a dual degree in International Agriculture and Development (INTAD) were selected by the College of Agricultural Science's Office of International Programs to attend the annual Borlaug Dialogue at the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa from October 17 - 19, 2019.  The following are reflections by two of the INTAG undergraduate students on their experiences attending the event.

Gracie Pekarcik writes:

My experience at the World Food Prize was wonderful. It was such a great opportunity to be amongst some of the top influencers in global food security and agriculture. I truly enjoyed learning from the experts and particularly was touched by the words of Norman Borlaug that were repeated multiple times throughout the dialogue: "Take it to the farmer." Smallholder farmers and their livelihoods are the backbone of so many countries and communities around the world and it is so true that we need to take our knowledge and innovations directly to the farmer to give them the power they deserve. Additionally, my mind was opened to the many different aspects that play into global food security and agriculture as well as the new techniques and innovations that are emerging to address a growing human population. Something that particularly struck me was the role that nutrition plays in food security and the call of this year's Laureates to be nutritionists in any field of agriculture we might find ourselves in. While food may be available/accessible, we need to be sure that proper utilization of such food is also a priority in order to ensure individuals are consuming the nutrients vital to health. 

In addition, the World Food Prize opened doors to converse and form connections with experts and intellectuals I would have never had the opportunity to otherwise. I was able to speak with empowering women such as Hon. Prof. Ruth Oniang'o of the Sasakawa Africa Foundation, Tessa Mahmoudi of Reaching Roots in Haiti, and numerous returned Peace Corps volunteers. Their stories and experiences have inspired me and rooted even further my desire to serve others in the International Development field. 


Chloe Boughton writes:

The opportunity to attend the Borlaug dialogue was a fantastic experience of being able to mingle with top minds in the agriculture field. I was able to listen to multiple panels surrounding issues on international agriculture, plant pathology, and the use of CRISPR and other technological methods of impacting production. The ability to talk to these professionals in informal settings outside of their panel presentations was similarly enlightening as we discussed careers, their opinions on development, and expansions on their ideas. To be able to learn alongside industry professionals and talk to high school students and be able to influence them in a similar way that I found myself being influenced by the professionals around me. I feel fortunate to be able to see connections between the class readings and lectures and current issues that the speakers were discussing on the panels.