The 2017 Youth Ag-Summit got off to a flying start today, with 100 delegates from all corners of the globe converging in Brussels to create solutions to feeding a hungry planet. The energy in the room was palpable as moderator and ‘professional nerd’ Simon Pampena took to the stage to kick-off the Summit and remind delegates that the future is in their hands. His advice? Think of the Youth Ag-Summit as an ‘Olympics of Change.’
Liam Condon, Member of the Board of Management Bayer AG and President of the Crop Science Division, was there to open proceedings, telling delegates that when it comes to the future of farming, no silver bullet exists and that change has to start with small individual actions: “Whatever you do, it better be something important.” Likewise, hearing from Bayer’s Derrick Rozdeba, the architect of the first Youth Ag-Summit in 2013, as well as a panel of alumni (Kelly Hodgins, Bridgette Byrne, Daniel Kasprowicz and Diego Moscoso) brought home the lasting impact that participation can have on delegates’ lives, whether that’s being inspired to set up a malnutrition clinic in Madagascar, creating a whole university course on tackling food security, or even changing their career plans entirely.
Professor Louise O. Fresco was next to motivate the youth audience, arguing that faced with a changing landscape of ageing workforces, urban influxes and declining resources, technological innovation will play a crucial role in agriculture. In an increasingly challenging world, it’s up to the next generation to engage with the responsibility of producing more with less; creating, showcasing and adopting technology which engages with everybody.
This was particularly evident during the Solutions Marketplace, where delegates heard from Bayer partner organizations in finance, research and market access how innovations are being put into action. Soon it was time to translate these insights into actions at the first of the week’s breakout sessions, with delegates tasked with developing concrete projects inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals. The surprise factor? Later this week, delegates will have the chance pitch their projects, with a view to winning funding and future support from Bayer. Something to get the delegates raring and ready to work!
“A farmer must work for a season, but think in generations.”
Liam Condon, Member of the Board of Management
Bayer AG and President of the Crop Science Division
“Dare to do things differently. This is not only about cultivating food. This is about cultivating people.”
Diego Moscoso, YAS Alumnus
"Be intentional about learning from others and take on the attitude of a learner."
Kelly Hodgins, YAS Alumna
“You and I are part of a history of thinking. We’re not doing it alone, we stand on the shoulders of others.”
Professor Louise O. Fresco, Wageningen University & Research
Social And Digital Impact
Since touching down in Brussels, delegates have been airing their excitement and sharing their experiences across social media. On Sunday 8 and Monday 9 October, there were over 1,300 original social media posts mentioning either the #youthagsummit or #agvocate hashtags, mostly on Twitter. Today, #youthagsummit was trending in Belgium. The total number of engagements with posts featuring either hashtag jumped to over 4,700 across Twitter and Instagram.
Social media activity from the Youth Ag-Summit owned channels generated a considerable amount of attention, including an engagement rate of 2.5% on Twitter (against a benchmark of 2%). This included 106 link clicks, 188 retweets, and 308 likes of YAS original content. On Instagram, the top post had almost 120 likes and almost 700 impressions.