Cargill continues to invest in the future of agriculture


Madeline McGarry/Iowa State Daily.

Students showcased their GRS summer internship posters prior to the official announcement, which took place between 6:30 and 8:00. 

Madeline Mcgarry

A partnership encouraging international involvement in agriculture just got a little bit stronger.

This evening, the global resources systems  degree program within Iowa State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences received a donation of $600,000 from Cargill Inc.

Cargill, a major agricultural, food and industrial company whose presence spans across 70 countries, announced their donation during a dinner reception with global resource systems students and faculty.

“As we nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way, we are looking for new solutions to increase productivity, protect the planet and develop the next generation of food and agriculture leaders,” said Todd Hall, executive vice president of Cargill’s Food and Salt sector. “Iowa State University is a great partner – we are working together to build a more food-secure future.”

Today’s contribution will bring Cargill’s cumulative amount of donations to the global resource systems program to over $1 million, and the company’s university wide donation total in excess of $21 million.

“They have already sunk a lot of money into the program, and they obviously see that global resource systems students have a lot of potential,” said Liz Hada, senior in global resource systems.

The global resource systems major was established in 2009, making it the newest of the 27 CALS degree programs. Since its advent, the program has grown to claim nearly 140 students.

“I like the multidisciplinary aspect of [global resource systems],” said Lauren Suhi, senior in global resource systems. “I like how I can study natural resources and socioeconomics…and to see holistically what is going on all levels.”

In addition to allowing students the ability to pursue international internships, obtain competency in a foreign language and expand their perspective on production agriculture, the major has attracted students in a versatile manner.

“It is a challenging major that draws in students from all types of backgrounds,” said Dr. David Acker, associate dean for agriculture and global programs in CALS. “It is just as appealing to a student from a farm background as it is to as student from an urban background.” 

With Cargill’s support dating back to 1996 through the funding of numerous study abroad trips, the company’s most recent donation has only continued to bolster the longevity of their relationship with CALS and global resource systems.

“Cargill believes the [global resource systems] majors are a great fit for their company and have committed to helping us grow and strengthen the major,” Acker said.

Cargill’s support of global resource systems extends beyond monetary contributions: the company has also supported the program’s students with professional development efforts on campus, Suhi said.

As it relates to Cargill’s general catalyst to support the global resource systmes program, Hall believes that it is crucial for today’s collegiate generation to become internationally adept within the realm of agriculture, and admires the major’s interdisciplinary nature.

“[Global resource systems] provides students with the international approaches necessary for companies like Cargill to lead and compete,” Hall said.

Hall, an Iowa State alumnus in animal science, regards Cargill’s continued support of the global resource systems program as a reflection of the values that they hope to see in their future employees.

“Agriculture has never been more critically important” Hall said. “In the face of changing climate and geopolitics, our ability to nourish the world and maintain a peaceful and prosperous world rests on the shoulders of future farmers, agronomists, data scientists and business leaders.”