Purdue Food and Agribusiness Executive Summit

Purdue Food and Agribusiness Executive Summit

The most recent Purdue Food and Agribusiness Executive Summit was delivered in September 2021. If you are interested in more information or attending the next summit, please contact us or check back here for updates!


Change and uncertainty are continuous challenges for senior leaders – wherever their responsibilities lie within the value chain. Through their partnership and the help of an exceptional Steering Committee, Purdue University and Wells Fargo Food and Agribusiness bring the right issues and senior leaders to the table for critical industry discussions at the Purdue Food and Agribusiness Executive Summit.

Summit participants will explore the challenges facing our food and agribusiness industry and examine options for a strategic response. The engagement with industry and academic thought leaders attendees experience during the summit allows them to brainstorm new strategies and leave invigorated to take action. Attendees will also experience the cross-pollination of ideas across industry segments, as well as an unprecedented opportunity to build personal and professional relationships.

As senior industry leaders think about future challenges and opportunities for their organizations, our accomplished faculty bring their research and expertise to facilitate the discussion.

“Attending the summit was one of my highlights last fall. I was excited to see the save-the-date for 2021 in my inbox. The agenda is intriguing, and this event is something to look forward to in some very challenging times.” – John Wyffels, President, Wyffels Hybrids

Who Should Attend?

This summit brings together business leaders from across the value chain who are shaping today’s food and agribusiness environment. It is intended for, but not limited to: chairpersons, chief executive officers, owners, managing directors and other current and rising leaders who drive strategy and decision making in their firms. Those with significant responsibilities and considerable agri-food industry knowledge and experience are encouraged to apply.

Case studies and topical sessions are designed to engage senior leader and executive decision makers throughout the supply chain, including: input suppliers, agricultural producers, merchandisers, distributors, retailers, food service providers, financial service companies, government agencies and technology companies working in the food and agribusiness industry. Seating is limited to 50 participants. If you have further questions or are unsure if your role and responsibilities are a good fit for the summit, contact one of our Business Development Managers:

Betty Jones-Bliss
(217) 549-2883

Aissa Good
(765) 299-3486

Taryn Nance
(765) 714-2771

“I attended the Purdue Food and Agribusiness Executive Summit for the first time in 2019. What set the summit apart and made it so valuable was the interaction with other attendees. The case study format gave us the opportunity to discuss and learn from each other, along with hearing directly from leaders featured in the cases. The diverse viewpoints and insights from other executives were incredibly thought-provoking and broadened my perspective. I left inspired and with renewed energy for advancing innovation in the food and agribusiness sectors.”  – Janet Sichterman, Executive Vice President of Enterprise Innovation, Kent Corporation


2021 Food and Agribusiness Executive Summit case studies will focus on discovering and debating how the food and agribusiness industry can embrace agility and create more resilient markets, supply chains, firms, leaders and employees.

2021 Case Studies and Topics

Restructuring the Food Supply Chain: An Equity and Lender Market Perspective (EY)


To kick off the 2021 Purdue Food and Agribusiness Executive Summit, we will rethink how the food supply chain is being restructured from an investor standpoint. How will the industry be reshaped following the pandemic? Are there different actors in the market? Have relationships changed? Are supply chains being restructured? Does the financial community still see food and agriculture as an innovative growth space? Will the vertical integration of supply chains we saw pre-pandemic continue as we emerge from this disruptive period?

Rob Dongoski, EY Global Food and Agribusiness Leader, and several financial community guests will join us to explore these questions and more in further detail. Rob has worked with many food and agribusiness companies as they navigate the business world both pre- and post-pandemic. His high-level thinking in regard to these issues is exemplified in this recent article: How vertical integration is impacting food and agribusiness.

Identifying Opportunities in a Volatile Environment (CGB Enterprises)

CGB Enterprises

How does a company such as CGB Enterprises with domestic grain procurement focused on supplying its parent companies identify opportunities for continued growth in a volatile environment? Have the fundamentals of the grain industry shifted, and will the U.S. grain industry continue to be a key source in the global market? Are the relationship competencies that have given CGB an advantage in procurement still relevant to today’s U.S. farmer? Join Kevin Adams and Allan Gray as they discuss opportunities and challenges regarding global grain trade in the U.S. market, the future role of a U.S. domestic grain procurement company with its Japanese parent companies, and the potential to enhance growth in domestic markets.

Digital Disruption – Online Marketplace in Brazil (Orbia)


The agribusiness industry continues to search for new go-to-market strategies that bring value to farmer customers. In doing so, Bayer and its partner company of Bravium have joined forces to create Orbia, an ag marketplace. According to Bayer, several driving forces are behind this initiative, such as farm consolidation, increases in farm professionalization levels, generational changes and the growth of agricultural digitization.

Currently, 170,000 producers have accessed Orbia and have the ability to purchase inputs through the secure, digital platform using trusted distribution channels that feature a wide range of competitive products. Orbia’s model is based on a robust loyalty program that serves multiple agribusiness segments. This program allows producers to earn points that can be exchanged for over 700 products and services ranging from electronics to farm inputs to financial services.

As Orbia continues to grow, three main pillars are fundamental for this innovative concept to succeed. The first pillar deals with the marketplace. Here, Orbia has added multiple ag retailers to strengthen its e-commerce platform. The second pillar is the loyalty program. Orbia has already attracted many agribusiness companies to join the program and offered points to farmer customers to be redeemed for products and services. Now, Orbia must launch the third pillar, commodity trading, which would allow farmers to sell their production output in the platform in exchange for more points.

Join Orbia CEO Ivan Moreno as he, Luciano Castro and Scott Downey discuss Orbia’s growth plans and strategies as online marketplace competition intensifies.

Examining Multi-Channel Opportunities for Producers and Suppliers (CommoditAg/Topcon Agriculture)

CommoditAg/Topcon Agriculture

Distribution is a timely issue for companies in agriculture. Advances in information technology, communications and a more educated customer base have allowed agribusinesses more options when it comes to distributing products and services to end users. 

One of these advancements has been in the field of ecommerce. Despite its popularity in consumer marketing, online buying has experienced relatively slow adoption in agriculture. In an industry that has been built based on traditional brick and mortar retail locations, how can an online provider of farm products compete? CommoditAg, an ecommerce marketplace designed to sell farm products online, believes it has found the answer.

While farm input products such as seed and chemicals are sold online today, other more technical products continue to be sold through the retail channel — for example, precision agriculture components. While precision agriculture has been an option for farmers since the 1990’s, it has experienced very slow growth until recently as more barriers to entry are reduced and farmer acceptance and adoption increases. Topcon Agriculture, a company helping to build the market with its line of precision agriculture components traditionally sold through agriculture machinery dealers, has been there since the beginning.

While CommoditAg and Topcon are each focused on innovation, how can they work together to create an online distribution model for precision agriculture components? What issues and challenges do they face? What are key factors to success, and what impact does an omni-channel distribution strategy have on traditional retailers of Topcon products?

Join Justin Funk of Agri Studies as he chats with Brian Sorbe of Topcon Agriculture and John Demerly of CommoditAg regarding their development of an online marketplace for precision agriculture components, the journey and approach of bringing these two organizations together and the challenges and key success factors they have encountered along the way.

The Great Debate: Driving for Efficiency and Resilience – What Will it Take? (AgriTech Capital/Land O’Lakes/The Nature Conservancy/Cargill/Mars)

AgriTech Capital/Land O’Lakes/The Nature Conservancy/Cargill/Mars

Join Aidan Connolly of AgriTech Capital as he facilitates a debate around our current food supply and how we build resilience in a post-crises environment. This session is meant to be more than a discussion. It’s a sharing of candid thoughts and perspectives about the direction of a global, dynamic food system. Dig deep with experienced contributors and senior leaders in the classroom as we tackle a critical topic.

Assertive and Agile in a Post Crises, Fresh Produce Supply Chain (GoldenSun Insights)

GoldenSun Insights

We watched as 2020 unleashed volatility on our food and agribusiness supply chains. In the fresh produce supply chain, disruptions impacted the seed industry, growers, shippers, wholesalers and retailers. While consumer behaviors and preferences also shifted during this time, shoppers continued to place importance on choosing grocery stores based on the availability of fresh foods — especially high-quality fruits and vegetables.

Recently, Allan Gray, executive director of Purdue University’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business, had the opportunity to speak with Jason Fuller and Randy Riley, co-owners of GoldenSun Insights, about challenges, opportunities, consumer trends and new technologies in the fresh produce market as a result of the past twelve months. Their conversation was captured here in our latest blog, Opportunities in the Fresh Produce Supply Chain.

GoldenSun Insights was founded on a deep understanding of what drives retail produce operations. Using this knowledge, GoldenSun supports clients in crafting solutions that elevate products and services beyond commodities to value-added positioning for retailers.

You can engage with Fuller and Riley at the 2021 Summit as they join us to discuss opportunities — post crisis — in the fresh produce supply chain.

Large Commercial Producer Survey: 2021 Top Themes (Center for Food and Agricultural Business)

Center for Food and Agricultural Business

Seeking to bring practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges, the Large Commercial Producer (LCP) Survey is the largest, longest-standing research project from the Purdue University Center for Food and Agricultural Business. The LCP Survey establishes a valuable understanding of commercial producers’ decision-making processes and how these processes have changed over time. Conclusions drawn from survey insights shed light on the agricultural supply chain and aid agribusiness professionals in better serving their customers and increasing their organization’s odds of success. For the 2021 iteration, 1,700 U.S. farmers representing 43 states were surveyed to bring you the opinions, preferences and results that matter most. During this session, Brady Brewer and Scott Downey will overview the top themes emerging from the 2021 survey.

Envisioning the Future: A Catalyst for Innovation (Kent Corporation)

Kent Corporation

As a historically solid-performing 90-year old company and its recent selection as a 2020 U.S. Best Managed Company by Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal, Kent Corporation was less than content when its recent 10-year revenue projection reflected a lower than optimal growth rate. With the acknowledgement that past performance does not guarantee future success now staring the company down, it became evident that Kent’s current course of action would not continue to generate the capital it desired.

So, how does a nine-decade old company with a diverse fleet of four divisions foster a culture of innovation? Rightfully, it extends its current products into new and compelling offerings and channels, while placing an intentional focus on innovation. To carry out these initiatives, Kent created an innovation approach with a dedicated team to work across business units. In doing so, critical questions must be answered to foster this new culture and generate the capital it desires for the next 90 years and beyond:

  • Should innovation be embedded in the business, separate groups or both?
  • Should Kent pursue collaboration outside of the company?
  • If capital is limited, how will Kent reconcile issues and think about the future (particularly, an extremely unclear post-COVID future)?

Engage with Janet Sichterman, Kent Corporation’s executive vice president of enterprise innovation, as she and Pete Hammett discuss the challenges and complexities that come with fostering a culture of innovation in an organization that built its historical success on past practices.

Mind Blowing Flavor. Heart Warming Impact. (Blue Nest Beef)

Blue Nest Beef

This past year has taught us a great deal about our food supply chain and the way consumers buy. These learning and insights have left us preparing for how the future of our food supply and consumer behavior will look. One organization focused on the future of beef is Blue Nest Beef. Launched in 2019, Blue Nest Beef operates under an innovative business approach that reinvents animal agriculture at scale using cattle as its tool and birds as their guide.

Blue Nest Beef procures, processes and markets grass-fed beef produced on ranches The National Audubon Society has certified as “bird friendly” directly to consumers. This certification program focuses on getting ranchers to use intensive rotational grazing, which is important in restoring bird habitats and increasing bird populations. By using this model of regenerative agriculture in which farmers and consumers co-create a new and better food system that enhances the health of both people and the planet, Blue Nest Beef is able to use birds as a measure of success. This approach has allowed Blue Nest Beef to build a strong network of partnerships with cattle ranchers and expand its consumer base for shipped-direct product offerings, which resulted in exceptional sales growth of about 300% in 2020.

At the 2021 summit, you can join Russ Conser, Blue Nest Beef CEO, and Damien McLoughlin, Professor of Marketing in the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, as they consider how Blue Nest Beef’s branding, innovation, sustainability and supplier decisions can be executed in a way that provides sustainability and low prices to consumers who demand it, as well as farmers who often view sustainability as a cost. They’ll unpack the future of beef and reimagine the industry segment.

Strategic Options for the Industry: A Facilitated Discussion (Center for Food and Agricultural Business)

Center for Food and Agricultural Business

It will have been an intense three days of strategic conversations. As we wrap-up the Purdue Food and Agribusiness Executive Summit, Allan Gray and Marcos Fava Neves will lead the group through a discussion summarizing key points. Complete this experience by outlining your take-aways and action steps.

Summit Agenda

*Please note that Indiana is on Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) during this conference.

Download a printable PDF of the 2021 Food and Agribusiness Executive Summit agenda here.

Schedule at a Glance

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

11:00 am
Check-In Outside of Faculty Lounge
Purdue Memorial Union (PMU

11:30 am
Lunch and Program Opening
East and West Faculty Lounges
Welcome – Jay Akridge, Provost (Purdue)
Introductions – Betty Jones-Bliss

12:45 pm
Class moves to Ross-Ade Pavilion (via bus)

1:15-1:30 pm
Welcome and Stage Setting
Allan Gray (Purdue University)

1:30-3:00 pm
Restructuring the Food Supply Chain: An Equity and Lender Market Perspective
Facilitator: Rob Dongoski (EY)
Dave Chen (Equilibrium)
Chris Erickson (Parsonage Lane Advisors)
Roland Fumasi (RaboBank Research)

3:30-5:00 pm
Case Study Analysis:
CGB Enterprises: Identifying Opportunities in a Volatile Environment

Orbia: An Innovative Business Model in the Digital Agriculture Space

5:00-6:00 pm
Dinner (Ross-Ade)

6:00-7:30 pm
Case Debrief: CGB Enterprises
Allan Gray (Purdue University)
Kevin Adams (CGB Enterprises)

7:30 pm
Depart for Networking Reception
PMU Hotel Lobby and Patio

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

6:00 am
Breakfast – 8Eleven Bistro, PMU

7:00 am
Board bus Union Club Hotel to Ross-Ade

7:15 am
Arrive Ross-Ade (coffee available)

7:30-9:00 am
Case Debrief: Orbia
Luciano Castro & Scott Downey (Purdue University)
Ivan Moreno (Orbia)

9:15-10:00 am
Case Study Analysis: Topcon & CommoditAg: Examining Multi-Channel Opportunities for Producers and Suppliers

10:30-12:00 pm
Case Debrief: Multi-Channel Opportunities
Justin Funk & Scott Downey (Purdue University)
John Demerly (CommoditAg)
Brian Sorbe (Topcon)

12:00-1:15 pm
Lunch (Ross-Ade)

1:15-2:30 pm
The Great Debate: What Will it Take? Driving for Efficiency and Resilience
Facilitator: Aidan Connolly (AgriTech Capital)
Yone Dewberry (Land O’Lakes)
Michael Doane (The Nature Conservancy)
Mary Shelman (Shelman Group)

3:00-4:30 pm
Gaining Alignment in the Produce Value Chain
Randy Riley & Jason Fuller (GoldenSun Insights)

5:00-5:30 pm
Large Commercial Producer Survey – 2021 Top Themes
Scott Downey & Brady Brewer (Purdue)

5:30 pm
Depart for Dinner: McGraw’s Steak House

Thursday, September 30, 2021

6:00 am
Breakfast – 8Eleven Bistro, PMU

7:00 am
Board bus Union Club Hotel to Ross-Ade

7:15 am
Arrive Ross-Ade (coffee available)

7:30-8:15 am
Case Study Analysis: Kent Corp. – Envisioning the Future: A Catalyst for Innovation

8:30-10:00 am
Case Debrief: Kent Corp.
Pete Hammett (Purdue University)
Janet Sichterman (Kent Corp.)

10:15-11:00 am
Small Group Analysis: Blue Nest Beef: Going Against the Grain

11:00-11:45 am
Lunch (Ross-Ade)

11:45-1:15 pm
Case Debrief: Blue Nest Beef
Damien McLoughlin (University College Dublin)
Russ Conser (Blue Nest Beef)

1:30-3:00 pm
Strategic Options for the Industry: A Facilitated Discussion
Allan Gray (Purdue University)

3:00 pm

*Agenda subject to change
Updated September 24, 2021

Travel and Information

*Effective Monday, August 2, 2021, Purdue University is requiring all individuals to wear a mask while inside on-campus buildings, regardless of vaccination status. This protocol will be enforced during all Center for Food and Agricultural Business programs until further notice.

Program Location

Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN 47906


A block of rooms has been reserved at the Purdue Memorial Union Club Hotel for a discounted rate, checking in on Monday, September 27 and checking out on Thursday, September 30. If you have not done so already, please contact the Purdue Memorial Union Club Hotel to make your reservation by August 28. Be sure to mention you are with the Purdue Food and Agribusiness Executive Summit to receive the $189/-night room rate.

Purdue Memorial Union Club Hotel
201 North Grant Street, West Lafayette, Ind.
(765) 494-8922
Locate with Google maps

Getting to Purdue University: Directions and Maps


A continental breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided to the group on September 28 and 29. Lunch will be provided on September 30. Coffee, soft drinks and refreshments will be available to you throughout each program day.

What to Wear

Attire for the program is business casual. September in Indiana is typically a low of 52 degrees with a high of 72 degrees. Layers are recommended for the classroom.


A spiral with case studies and additional information will be provided.

Summit Payment/Cancellation

Payment for the Summit is due before September 27. Please refer to our cancellation policy for full details and information.

For more information, contact:

Danielle Latta
Senior Program Manager

Cancellation Policy

Should you need to cancel or defer participation, you must submit your request in writing more than 30 days before the start of the program to receive a full refund. Applicant substitutions who meet the criteria are possible upon request. Due to program demand and the volume of pre-program preparation, cancellations or deferrals received 30 days prior to the start of the program are subject to a fee of one-half of the program rate. Requests received within 14 days are subject to full payment.

Past Summits

Since its launch in 2008, the Purdue Food and Agribusiness Executive Summit has been managed and led by Purdue University’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business in partnership with Wells Fargo Food and Agribusiness. The center and Wells Fargo collaborate to develop a Steering Committee of industry leaders that provide critical input and guidance to summit themes and case studies.

Past Summit Agendas

Past Participating Companies

1st Farm Credit Services
21st Century Equipment Inc.
AG Processing Inc. (AGP)
AGR Partners
AgReliant Genetics
AgriCapital Corporation
Agricultural Retailers Association
AgriTech Capital
Alltech Biotechnology
Alpharma Inc.
American AgCredit
American Crystal Sugar Company
American DairyCo
American Feed Industry Association (AFIA)
Aurora Organic Dairy
Aviagen Inc.
Bane Welker Equipment, LLC
BASF Corporation
Bay State Milling Company
Bayer US ‐ Crop Science
Beck Ag
Becks Superior Hybrids Inc.
Belstra Milling Company
Big Dutchman USA Inc.
Bulkmatic Transportation Inc.
Bunge Limited
Bunge North America Inc.
Centennial Ag Supply Company
Ceres Solutions
CGB Enterprises Inc.
CHS Inc.
CoBank, ACB
Compeer Financial
Context Network
Corn States LLC
Country Hedging Inc.
Crop Production Services
Dee River Ranch
Deere and Company
Demeter LP
DuPont Pioneer
Entira Inc.
Fair Oaks Dairy Farm LLC
Farm Credit Services of America
Farm Foundation
Farmers Business Network
Fastline Publications
FLM Harvest
Foremost Farms USA Cooperative
GLK Foods
GNP Company
Golden State Foods
Grammer Industries
GreenValley Ag & Turf
Gro Alliance LLC
GSI Group
Hirzel Canning Co.
Ice Miller LLP
Indiana Soybean Alliance
International Agribusiness Group
International Ingredient Corp.
International Raw Materials Ltd.
JBS United Inc.
John Deere
Kemin Industries Inc.
Kent Corporation
Key & Company LLC
Koch Industries Inc.
Kokomo Grain
Lake City Bank
Lakeshore Food Advisors LLC
Land O’Lakes, Inc.
Landus Cooperative
Lange-Stegmann Company
Maple Leaf Farms Inc.
McDonald’s Corporation
MFA inc
MFA Incorporated
Midwest Ag Finance Inc.
Midwest Growth Partners
Midwest Poultry Services
Midwest Poultry Services, L.P.
Miller Milling Company
Muscatine Foods Corporation
Nationwide Insurance Company
Neogen Corporation
New Holland Agriculture & Construction
Novus International Inc.
Oliver Manufacturing Co.
Passport Capital
Peterson Farms Seed
Pioneer Equipment Co.
Remington Seeds LLC
RiceTec Inc.
Riverview Farms
Select Sires Inc.
Siemer Milling Company
Specialty Commodities Inc.
Stoy Farms
Sunrise Cooperative
Teays River Investments
Texas A&M University
The Andersons Inc.
The Equity
The International Companies
The Kroger Company
The Mennel Milling Company
The Mosaic Company
Threemile Canyon Farms
Tom Farms LLC
Topcon Agriculture
Trimble Inc.
Trupointe Cooperative Inc.
UFA Cooperative Ltd
Una Terra LLC
United Farmers of Alberta Co‐operative
Vita Plus Corporation
Walker Ag Group
Wells Fargo Food and Agribusiness
West Central Inc.
West Plains Company
Western Milling LLC
Wyffels Hybrids Inc.