AGILITY Innovation Series hosting panel of leaders from agricultural sector for two-day event

The AGILITY program, an experiential program at the University of Lethbridge that fosters innovation and nurtures entrepreneurial thinking, will be hosting business leaders from the Canadian agricultural sector for a two-day event March 2 and 3, 2016, at the University of Lethbridge’s Lethbridge and Calgary campuses.

Innovation in Agriculture, Where’s the Smart Money Going, is the fourth event in the 2015-16 AGILITY Innovation Series and features a panel of agriculture and finance leaders who will discuss the role that innovation, rapid changes in technology and finance are playing in exposing and developing new agribusiness opportunities that place Canada at the forefront of meeting changing global food demands.

“Global food demand will double in the next 35 years and Canada is one of only six countries in the world with the capacity to increase food and nutrition experts,” says Dr. Lesley Brown, the University of Lethbridge’s Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (Academic). “Agribusiness and the opportunities it presents are a key theme of the AGILITY program and by bringing together leading agribusiness experts as part of our Innovation Series, we are giving our students the chance to engage with people who have pushed innovation in the province and across the country.”

Tom Burke, Senior Investment Advisor for Canaccord Genuity, is the moderator for both the Lethbridge and Calgary events. He says that the broader financial market, while always being aware of agriculture, has taken full notice of the potential and scope of agribusiness over the last decade.

“The growth trends that we are seeing are over and above anything we’ve seen before and it just continues to heat up,” he says from the Canaccord offices in Montreal. “Obviously, if people are seriously considering career options in this field and want to get a sense of what is going on out there, this will be an eye-opening experience for them.”

Among the panelists are Wade Barnes, president and CEO of Farmer’s Edge; Brad Farquhar, director, executive vice-president and CFO at Input Capital; Graeme Lempriere, CEO at Clean Seed Capital Group; and Remi Schmaltz, CEO of Decisive Farming.

Burke marvels at how fast the world of agribusiness is changing.

“Who would have thought we would be talking about setting up financial structures where you can actually finance a farmer’s production and get paid back in canola. This is all new, cutting-edge stuff,” he says.

The Lethbridge session takes place Wednesday, March 2, 2016, at the U of L’s Students’ Union Ballrooms, beginning with a networking event at 4:30 p.m. and followed by the panel discussion at 5 p.m.

On Thursday, March 3, the U of L’s Calgary campus at Bow Valley College (Room N231) will host a networking event beginning at 4 p.m., followed by the panel discussion at 4:30 p.m.

Both events are free to students and interested members of the business community. For more information, or to register, visit the AGILITY website.