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Pioneer and the MANRRS conference


Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences will hold its national conference in Des Moines March 25 to 27. More than 600 college students are expected to attend the conference at the Des Moines Marriott, 700 Grand Ave., at which they will meet industry professionals and attend workshops on leadership development and job readiness. The Business Record spoke with Desiree Fletcher-Hayes, a spokeswoman for Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., about the event.

Q: What is Pioneer’s role in the conference?

A: Pioneer is the lead conference partner. Iowa State University, Deere & Co. and Cargill Inc. are the other conference partners. We are hosting some activities and providing speakers for the breakout sessions, and we are one of the stops for the mobile tours, which allow students to visit regional businesses in agricultural and related sciences and see the work they do there. Students will visit labs on the Johnston campus to see the work that goes into product development.

Q: Why did the company get involved?

A: We see great value in diversity, and see it as critical to building an industry-leading workforce and a world-class business that can deliver the greatest good for our customers. The MANRRS conference is a chance to promote agriculture as a viable career option. We’ve been involved with MANRRS since 1998.

Q: What are some goals of the conference?

A: One of the main goals is to provide a networking and professional development opportunity for MANRRS members, and help them see a wide array of career choices. The conference should help members connect with industry professionals and see the opportunities out there to find a career in their chosen industries. Another key goal is to let minority students interested in agriculture and natural resources see that they’re not alone. There are other students like them with similar interests.

Q: What does the conference bring to the community?

A: It brings an opportunity for Des Moines to host a lot of very talented future professionals and make a positive impression. When these students graduate and decide where to live, they will remember the quality of life and caliber of business the Midwest offers. Des Moines will get a chance to see the depth of agricultural and natural science, and that they are important industries, not just to Des Moines and Iowa. The event also brings in revenues for local businesses, with the money they will spend at hotels, restaurants, and on sightseeing.

SHOW IN ITALICS: For more information, visit www.manrrs.org or contact Desiree Fletcher-Hayes, at 334-6768.

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