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100 young leaders develop ideas on global food challenges

Aug. 24, 2015, Monheim/Canberra/Calgary – By 2050, more than 9 billion people will live on our planet. This fact results in a dilemma: less available agricultural land will be available to produce food for this growing world population. Ultimately, this scenario leads to the overarching question on how to feed this hungry planet. That's why, from August 24-27 in Canberra, Australia, Bayer and the Australian youth organization Future Farmers Network will bring together 100 young thought leaders, aged 18-25, from 33 countries for the Youth-Ag Summit to exchange thinking on the role science and modern agriculture play in feeding a hungry planet.

During the Summit, young leaders will connect with each other, listen to inspirational speakers, exchange ideas in breakout sessions and experience agriculture during field trips. They will make a pledge to develop local solutions for local conditions and act as agricultural ambassadors in their home countries.

Taking into account this pressing issue of the growing world population, interactive sessions during the Summit will focus on sustainability, leadership and innovation, largely shaped by the essay topics the delegates handed in during the application phase.

"We are very pleased to co-host this once-in-a-lifetime event," says Georgie Aley, Chair of Future Farmers Network. "I believe that young people have so much potential to contribute to solutions on global and local food challenges. We look forward to an open dialogue and to hearing their ideas and perspectives."

"This is the second Youth Ag-Summit and we are delighted to continue our movement in Canberra today. Australia is a key country in terms of modern agriculture and an ideal host for this event," says Bernd Naaf, Member of the Board of Management, Bayer CropScience. "We are very proud to have such bright minds and great organisations on board to commonly build a sustainable global network of future leaders and strong partners in agriculture."

The inaugural Youth Ag-Summit in 2013 took place in Calgary, Alberta, where Bayer CropScience partnered with 4-H Canada to bring 120 young leaders together to tackle this trending topic. Canada continues their representation Down Under, sending four delegates and two alumni to share their Canadian perspectives. Courtney O'Neill, a delegate from Erinsville, Ontario, says "Agriculture affects everyone and being selected to discuss the future of ag and food with people from all of the world is truly an exciting and unique opportunity. I am thrilled to be here, share my passion and glimpse into global perspectives that I can take back to Canada."

Other Canadain delegates include Andrea Soesbergen of Dundee, Quebec, Brennah McKirdy of Kingston, Ontario and Vigne Sridharan of Guelph, Ontario.

The Summit provides a platform for young leaders to discuss challenges and develop solutions – small and large scale. This is reflected in the outcomes of the event. Personal commitments are expressed in the development of the "3 Things." These are individual challenges on food and agricultural issues that delegates want to address back home in their local communities. The other main outcome will be the 'Canberra Youth Ag Declaration,' a global call for action to help solve the pressing issues in modern agriculture. The Declaration will be presented at the UN's Committee on Food Security in Rome from 12-15 October where Bayer, as a member of the private sector mechanism, is hosting a side event.

"We're proud to see the Youth Ag-Summit continue and are looking forward to what Canadian delegtes will take away from this life-changing event," says Shannon Benner, CEO of 4-H Canada. "I hope Canadian youth will look at events like the Youth Ag-Summit and local 4-H programs to stay engaged on how they can contribute to feeding a growing world population."

James Craig of Arthur, Ontario, a delegate from the 2013 Youth Ag-Summit, recently completed his "3 Things" as he hosted his Perspectives Potluck – an event bringing together rural and urban persectives to discuss food. He and other 2013 Youth Ag-Summit Canadian alumni used this opportunity to update one another on their progress and share advice with the 2015 delegates in a short video posted online.

To download the press kit and learn more about the delegates, please visit:
To follow the Youth Ag-Summit social media live stream:

Join the dialogue on the YAS social media channels:

August 26, 2015  By News release


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