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Kennedy Fields, GFT’s Digital Marketing Intern Fall 2022

The Next 5 Years Conference

On Monday, September 12th, I walked into a conference hall in Moorhead, Minnesota with a notebook and a snack in my bag. I had just been hired as a digital marketing intern by Peter Schott, CEO and Co-founder of Genesis Feed Tech. The Next 5 Years conference hosted by the Northern Crops Institute (NCI) was the first tip of my toe into the agricultural community in Fargo-Moorhead.

I walked up the stairs, quietly clutching my bag in my right hand, and looked around. People milled around high-top tables, and a girl smiled at me from behind the registration booth.

I grabbed my nametag that read Kennedy Fields from the table and mingled into the clusters of people. I made my way over to the round table with a sign that read Genesis Feed Technologies and put my bag and folder down. I didn’t recognize a single face in the room apart from Peter Schott, my boss, and as the conference began, I leaned back in my seat, ready to learn.

The Starting Point

Last month was my first month working for an agriculture technology startup, and I have learned more than I ever thought possible since joining the industry. The Next 5 Years conference became the jumping point into the deep end of ag tech knowledge and innovation.

What Was The Next 5 Years Conference?

The purpose of The Next 5 Years Executive Conference was to “Strengthen the region’s agriculture by engaging organizational leadership teams in discussion on big-picture, impactful issues.” Hosted by the Northern Crops Institute, this conference hosted speakers from Geopoliticians to Agricultural energy specialists with breaks for networking. Learn more about The Next 5 Years on their website.

It united people in the agriculture industry on important, global topics by first setting ground rules:

  • Use your imagination
  • Look at situations from multiple perspectives
  • Be open-minded
  • Listen to others
  • Be concise

The invited speakers included industry experts in the areas of geopolitics, etc etc. They talked about important and relevant topics in their areas of expertise and educated the audience about how these topics are vital to understand in the industry today.

At the end of each presentation, the speakers gave time for a guided discussion amongst the tables. In these moments, I had no clue how to answer questions like “What are some of your most energizing ideas about this topics?“ based on my industry experience, but during these discussions, I learned the most about how people who work in jobs directly tied to the presentation topics felt about how the agriculture industry is changing along with the world.

Impact the Community, Change the World

This event brought the agricultural community of the Fargo-Moorhead area together to learn about the world of agriculture, meet in a place to talk about important topics, and network with peers in the industry.

In my experience working different jobs in digital marketing and professional writing during my time in college, I have learned the most from this one. Before this conference, I read my training material and wondered what industry I had just gotten myself into. After the conference, I realized the importance of so many of the questions and topics that had been brought up.

The Next 5 Years conference spoke on important topics within the industry that first impacted the agricultural community in Fargo-Moorhead but will go on to change the world.

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