Dr. William H. Danforth was honored this week by the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) with the organization’s inaugural Distinguished Service Award for his significant contributions to education, plant and life sciences, and advancements in agriculture.
“Dr. Danforth’s positive influence on agricultural sciences is immeasurable,” said Thad Simons, president and CEO of Novus International, and incoming president of IFAMA. “From the establishment of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center to his 24-year tenure as Washington University’s Chancellor, Dr. Danforth’s work has inspired young adults, scientists and leaders to pursue solutions that have improved food, agriculture and ongoing efforts to end hunger.”
The IFAMA Distinguished Service Award honors an individual whose pioneering contributions have made significant, transformational impacts to the global food and agribusiness system. The award was presented during IFAMA’s 23rd annual World Forum at the Presidential Awards Banquet hosted at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Ga.
Danforth’s contributions to agricultural education in particular highlight one the key themes of the IFAMA World Forum: The importance of the agriculture industry engaging future generations in the field. In keeping with this theme, Forum attendees heard from Dwight Armstrong, CEO of the National FFA Organization, and Don Floyd, president and CEO of the National 4-H Council regarding the importance of providing today’s youth with the education and tools necessary for successful careers in food and agriculture.
In his remarks, Floyd highlighted 4-H’s work in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the organization is helping transform young people’s false perceptions that agriculture is not a viable career path by underscoring how it can positively impact their futures.
“Most young people don’t see agriculture as a promising career, especially in Africa, where food security is a significant challenge and requires localized solutions,” explained Floyd. “Through the 4-H’s global outreach program, we are teaching young adults in Africa about agriculture with a scientific approach, which is helping them understand how it can improve their futures and communities.”
FFA’s Armstrong focused on the importance of fostering young adults’ and professionals’ interest in pursuing careers in agriculture.
“Young people who are a part of agricultural education and FFA have a passion and talent for agriculture, and we want to be sure that we’re doing all we can to foster that interest,” Armstrong said. “FFA’s Agricultural Career Network and other initiatives help ensure they have more access to agricultural career opportunities.”
The IFAMA World Forum concluded Thursday with a keynote speech from Jeffrey Armstrong, the president of the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. Other conference speakers represented the entire spectrum of agriculture from academia, nonprofits, business and government.