2016 Plant Science Symposium Program

Communications in Agriculture

Part of the Dupont Plant Science Symposia Series(link is external)

Monday November 14, 2016
The OAC Arboretum Centre

The Guelph Plant Science Symposium is bringing together five remarkable individuals with diverse perspectives and backgrounds to speak about communications in the agricultural sector.
The day-long seminar was completely free to attend, with meals included.


2016 Program

7:45 AM - 8:30 AM  Registration opens
8:00 AM - 8:30 AM Light Breakfast (coffee and snacks)
8:30 AM Opening statements by Plant Agriculture Department students, faculty, and Dr. Tabare Abadie (Dupont Pioneer)
9:00 AM Talk by Dr. Radu Totir - A private industry perspective on communication throughout a scientist's career
9:40  AM  Talk by Dr. Alastair Summerlee
10:20 AM Break with snacks
10:40 AM Keynote by Dr. Kevin Folta - Discussing modern agricultural technologies with a concerned public
12:00 PM Lunch (sandwiches)
12:40 PM Bruce Sargent - Communicating agriculture effectively in a fast paced world
1:20 PM

Dr. Ian Duncan - Animal Welfare: Combining Science with Ethics

2:00 PM Break (coffee and cookies)
2:20 PM Jennifer Christie
3:00 PM Closing Remarks



Speaker Biography


Dr. Kevin M. Folta is a Professor and the Chairman of the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida.  His strawberry research uses novel genomics approaches to identify genes related to flavor and disease resistance. His research also examines how parts of the light spectrum affect strawberry shelf life and flavor. He has been recognized as an expert in guiding the communications efforts in agricultural technologies, and recently has been recognized with the prestigious CAST Borlaug Award in Agricultural Communications.  BS/MS Northern Illinois University 1989/1992, Ph.D. University of Illinois at Chicago, 1998.

Bruce Sargent is the owner and operator of Farm Boy Productions, a marketing and communications company focused on serving farms and agricultural businesses. Bruce grew up on a dairy farm in southern Ontario, and started Farm Boy Productions during his first year of studies here at the University of Guelph. His background in agriculture, skill in design, as well as his fluency in traditional and social media, has benefited numerous farm/ag clients across Canada.

Dr. Alastair Summerlee is a passionate humanitarian, dedicated teacher, and internationally renowned researcher, Alastair Summerlee served as president of the University of Guelph in 2003-14. He has attracted significant research to study relaxin, cancer biology, iron deficiency anemia in women and HIV/AIDS in aboriginal populations. Dr. Summerlee spent six years as the chair of the board of the World University Service of Canada (WUSC), one of the leading Canadian international development agencies, and became involved in humanitarian issues in the refugee camps in Kenya. More recently, he had worked with a team of students in Cambodia on a novel health innovation to alleviate iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia – a condition with significant health and negative economic challenges.

Dr. Ian Duncan is Professor Emeritus and Emeritus Chair in Animal Welfare at the University of Guelph. He has been carrying out research into the welfare of animals since 1965 and was thus one of the first people to bring a scientific approach to solving welfare problems. His approach has been to develop methods of 'asking' animals what they feel about the conditions in which they are kept and the procedures to which they are subject.He has published more than 170 papers, most of which are connected to animal welfare. Although officially 'retired', Ian is still heavily involved in teaching and this year his first-year Animal Welfare course had 250 students enrolled. He has won multiple awards for this research including the inaugural award given by the RSPCA for research into animal welfare and the U of G Medal of Merit for his contribution to teaching.

Dr. Radu Totir is a Senior Research Scientist in the Global Breeding and Marker Technologies Department at DuPont Pioneer. He earned a B.S in Animal Science from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, followed by a PhD in Animal Breeding and Genetics from Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. The research interests of Radu Totir are focused on the large scale use of interdisciplinary predictive sciences within commercial plant breeding programs.

Jennifer Christie graduated from the OAC in 2006 and has worked in the agricultural sector ever since. Over a 10-year career with John Deere, a heavy equipment and machinery manufacturer, she held various marketing, sales and management positions. She is now the Global Network Summit Event Chair at 4-H Canada, a non-profit educational organization. Jennifer is a strong advocate for women working in traditionally male-dominated industries, providing networking opportunities and advice to women looking to become more involved in agriculture. To this end she created the Ag Women's Network in 2013. When she's not busy with her various endeavours, Jennifer spends time at her family's 6th generation dairy and grain farm in Bruce County.