Vilsack keynote speaker at CSU’s AgInnovation Summit Sept. 6-7 |

Vilsack keynote speaker at CSU’s AgInnovation Summit Sept. 6-7

Tom Vilsack

The College of Agricultural Sciences will host a summit at Colorado State University to discuss how innovation in the industry can lead to a global impact in the way that populations farm, feed, eat and grow crops.

Local industry leaders will be present at the event to spark the conversation surrounding best practices and future goals for how agriculture can continue to support the growing population, while best utilizing resources. AgInnovation Summit 2.0: Innovate Locally. Impact Globally. is a two-day conference being held Sept. 6-7 and is the second summit of its kind hosted by the college.

Tom Vilsack, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will deliver the opening keynote of the event. Vilsack now serves as CEO and president of the U.S. Dairy Export Council and as part of the CSU system as strategic adviser of food and water initiatives at the National Western Center. The summit will feature other industry and university leaders, including Archer Daniels Midland President and CEO Juan Luciano, Mars Inc. Chief Agriculture Officer Howard-Yana Shapiro, and Kroger Co. Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer Chris Hjelm.

“This year’s summit will convene thought leaders and innovators in the agricultural industry, government and higher education,” said Ajay Menon, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. “Without question, agricultural technology and business models are poised to enhance food systems; ensure that food is safe, secure, and available; and improve resource stewardship through new, sustainable practices. Gathering this group together cultivates the significant opportunity to grow the innovation ecosystem in Colorado and make this state a global leader at the intersection of business entrepreneurship and agricultural invention.”

Menon will join the conversation to discuss how Colorado State is encouraging the process of agriculture through education, awareness and action within the university. Topics to be discussed at panels and roundtables include: What’s Next in the Agriculture Supply Chain; Human Capital — Crossing the Generational Divide; and Financing the Future of Ag Innovation in Colorado.

Vilsack’s keynote address, titled “The Pillars of Food Policy,” aims to inspire a student-led movement in food and agriculture. Luciano’s address will detail his company’s evolution into one of the world’s largest food ingredient providers. Hjelm will discuss how information is transforming the retail landscape and consumer experience. CSU President Tony Frank will share his vision for the National Western Center as a both a global destination for agricultural heritage and innovation and a catalyst for statewide prosperity.

The first day of the conference will conclude with a roundtable dinner event, with an introduction by Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown, where all guests will engage in response to the challenge of making Colorado a global nexus of agricultural innovation.

Sponsors for this year’s summit include CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences, the CSU Vice President for Research, Colorado Livestock Association and CH2M. The 2015 summit featured Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, and former U.S. Secretary of Transportation, former U.S. Secretary of Energy and former Denver Mayor Federico Peña.

For more information on the summit or to register to attend, visit the summit website at