Matthias Kunerth, a senior agricultural business major from Brewster, Minnesota, has been selected as a 2020 Farm Foundation Cultivator. As a Cultivator, Kunerth will receive a $500 honorarium for participating in the Farm Foundation Round Table, an invitational discussion forum for agricultural leaders held virtually June 18-19, 2020.
“When I found out I was selected as one of six in the nation to participate, I felt honored that I was chosen to represent not only myself, but also SDSU and the Ness School of Management and Economics at the national level,” Kunerth said.
Based on a highly competitive application and nomination process, six undergraduate students from accredited agricultural programs at North American land-grant colleges and universities are selected semiannually for the program. The Farm Foundation invites leaders of these agricultural programs to nominate interested undergraduate students for the chance to be selected for the highly esteemed group before each Round Table meeting.
“Matthias is truly an exceptional student, and we knew that he would be a fantastic representative of SDSU and the Ness School,” said Nicole Klein, associate academic director and professor for the Ness School of Management and Economics. “The networking and engagement from the Cultivators program will help him make a positive impact as he brings these leadership skills into his agribusiness and the agricultural industry.”
The Farm Foundation Round Table hosts a variety of leaders from the agriculture and food industries, including the selected Cultivators, at each meeting. The forum provides a platform for discussion of important issues facing agribusiness, the food system and rural communities. These discussions can aid in the exchange of ideas between participants to foster change in the industry and help spark new ideas for Farm Foundation projects.
As part of his participation in the forum, Kunerth gave a brief presentation relating to the meeting’s theme of “Emerging Issues for Food and Agriculture in a Post-COVID-19 World.” His topic, titled “Low Prices, High Subsidies,” included discussion on the emerging role disaster relief subsidies play in agriculture and corn production.
Kunerth was also assigned to a host who served as his mentor throughout the experience and helped him meet other students, speakers and guests. In addition to formal programming, Kunerth networked with industry leaders and listened to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue speak about the future of agriculture.
“I would recommend several of the Farm Foundation student career development programs to any student looking to gain traction within the food supply chain,” Kunerth said.