ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—AgGateway’s seventh annual meeting conference ended early Friday, Nov. 9, after the last couple roundtable discussion sessions concluded. A record number of attendees, 230, participated in workshops, educational sessions, roundtables and networking events. They also elected a new board, heard several industry speakers, set the date for next year’s meeting and recognized individuals for contributions to the organization and agricultural eBusiness.
AgGateway defines itself as a non-profit consortium of businesses serving the agriculture industry, which helps member companies improve their profitability and productivity by promoting, enabling and expanding eBusiness in agriculture and agriculture-related businesses. The organization currently has 160 member companies and 75 were represented on site by the 230 professionals in attendance. It was noted that the conference attendance has doubled from just three years ago, and membership has climbed quite drastically, too.
“Each year this group is more dynamic, and the work is more important and relevant to agricultural business success,” said new AgGateway Chairman Doug Mills, vice president and CIO at Mosaic Company. “The work of the Precision Agriculture Council and the new Grain Council—to cite two examples—is truly inspiring and was highlighted to attendees this week. We’re seeing more and more that our members’ efforts and council work is changing the way people do business in agriculture.”
One of the most active in being involved in almost every project being undertaken by AgGateway councils or breakouts of membership is the Ag Retailer Council. Other councils working in specific arenas are precision ag, crop protection, crop nutrition, seed and grain. As Mills noted, there was considerable attention paid to precision ag during the presentations and discussions this year.
The main award presented during the meeting was the Ron Storms Memorial Award that went to Andrew Jeremiah, business to business IT lead analyst at Monsanto. The award recognizes distinguished individual efforts in the promotion of electronic standards and protocols in agri-business, and is given annually to an individual at an AgGateway member company.
“Andrew has accomplished a lot, but what stands out is his attitude—his passion and joy in these efforts,” said last year’s winner Bruce Blitch, global CIO at Tessenderlo Group, in presenting the award. “In his nomination letters—and from our personal experiences—we’ve learned about his strong work ethic, technical knowledge and passion, and also his strong sense of volunteerism and the betterment of the entire ag community.”
Jeremiah has worked on numerous councils and task forces for AgGateway and its predecessor organizations. He has provided leadership and technical contributions within various crop protection and seed connectivity projects, for the Standards and Guidelines Committee, and in improvements to the AGIIS directory. These contributions have helped the ag industry build a foundation to support the expansion of standardized electronic connectivity, it was explained in the award announcement.
The award is named for Ron Storms, a leader in the earliest efforts to implement eBusiness in agriculture. Storms had a distinguished career at CF Industries starting in 1966, responsible for the development and coordination of all electronic commerce activities for the company. Criteria for winning the award are based on characteristics that Storms exemplified, according to AgGateway: volunteerism, integrity, reliability, selflessness, character, courage and sincerity.
AgGateway has been holding a mid-year meeting, and the 2013 meeting will be June 17-20 at the John Deere Financial Facility in Johnston, Iowa. The annual meeting will be November 12-14, 2013, at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club in St. Petersburg, Fla. More information on these meetings will be posted on the AgGateway website early next year (www.AgGateway.org).