New Leadership Needed to “Feed the 9”

It’s going to take a new type of leader to pave the way to global food security according to Todd Hall, executive vice president of Cargill.

Hall (’82 animal science) spoke at a Global Food Security Consortium symposium at Iowa State University in April. He emphasized that to successfully feed 9 billion people by 2050, agriculture needs leaders who can approach the volatility and interdependencies within the industry with open minds and global perspectives.

“To tackle these challenges we need a workforce with a thorough understanding of the issues and their complexity and the ability to bring informed, intelligent and global perspectives to the solutions. That’s one of the reasons Cargill is such an advocate and supporter of the Global Resource Systems major at Iowa State,” says Hall.

Building the next generation of leaders to navigate complexities and anticipate consequences of their decisions is a passion for Hall.

He is co-chair of the advisory council for Global Resource Systems (GRS) at Iowa State. GRS allows students to develop a core set of technical agricultural compe- tencies. Students choose a world region in which to specialize. Then they develop competency in a relevant language and participate in an immersion experience in their chosen world region. They carry out a senior project related to their technical specialization within the context of that region to complete the program.

GRS’s multi-pronged approach makes students especially well-suited for being open to new viewpoints, says Hall. He appreciates how the major encourages thinking critically and creating innovative solutions—all key to meeting future global food challenges.

“Cargill has 150,000 employees who manage these complexities in 70 countries around the world every day,” says Hall. “We work with growers, producers, manu- facturers and retailers to put food on tables every day. It’s likely everyone consumes one product produced by Cargill each day.” In Hall’s more than 30 years with Cargill, he has held leadership positions within animal nutrition businesses regionally and globally. In his current role he’s responsible for strategy, execution, profit and loss in the area of animal protein and salt. Hall’s work with Cargill has taken him around the world. Most recently he worked as a platform leader focusing on poultry operations in Central America, China, Europe, Thailand and the United States before accepting his current position earlier this year. He also serves on Cargill’s Board of Directors.

Cargill has provided a $485,500 gift to the GRS program to enhance student recruitment, support faculty and award two new types of Cargill GRS Scholarships. Gail Nonnecke, Global Professor in horticulture and faculty coordinator of GRS, says programs made possible by the gift will strengthen the curriculum and develop students’ leadership skills and global competencies.

“We are excited to help develop future agriculture, food and natural resource leaders who have an understanding of resource systems, as well as the passion and ability to approach these challenges with a global perspective and understanding,” says Nonnecke.