Women in Agribusiness
Demeter Award of Excellence
Three exceptional women in agribusiness have been chosen to receive the 2018 WIA Demeter Award of Excellence. The award recognizes those who have achieved excellence in their field or demonstrated an extraordinary contribution to the agribusiness industry.
Nominated by peers and others in the sector, the recipients -- Robynne Anderson of Emerging Ag Inc., of Calgary, Canada; Amy Cornell of Bose McKinney & Evans LLP in Indianapolis, Indiana; and Christine Tacon, appointed by the UK government to regulate the UK groceries sector -- have all been invited to attend the 7th annual Women in Agribusiness Summit in Denver, September 24-26, where they will be recognized for their accomplishments.
Robynne Anderson, President of Emerging Ag
Nominated as a “visionary leader and facilitator of change… a leading international expert on agriculture and food policies, and a trusted, collaborative partner for our Canadian industry,” Robynne Anderson’s roots in ag go back to growing up on a seed farm in Manitoba. Anderson went on to found and lead two successful agribusinesses: Issues Ink, an agricultural publishing company, and Emerging Ag, an international consulting firm that provides communications services to ag, food and health clients.
Anderson’s contributions to agriculture are diverse. Internationally, Anderson is the founder of Farming First, a coalition for global ag advocacy; she also helped build the International Agri-Food Network; and has worked closely with the UN to establish the group’s 2016 International Year of Pulses, and Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Agricultural Investment. She has worked extensively to increase the attention on the role of women farmers, and support land tenure rights for women in places where those rights don’t exist.
Amy Cornell, of Counsel at Bose McKinney & Evans LLP
Amy Cornell was nominated as a leader in the areas of agricultural law and policy, and as the “greatest champion” for Indiana’s 90,000 farmers and the 245,000 people who work in the sector. There are many firsts in Cornell’s history: she facilitated a critical merger during her first year as president of the Agribusiness Council of Indiana; she is developing the state’s first agricultural law program at the request of the Indiana University McKinney School of Law; and she is regularly first to volunteer for additional responsibilities that will result in a positive impact on Indiana agriculture.
“I have seen firsthand her ability to bring people -- who are often on opposing sides -- together to create impactful solutions to the problems facing Indiana farmers and agribusiness,” said her coworker Rachel Wheeler who nominated Cornell. “Her ability to bring out the best in people to help create opportunities is a big reason that so many clients and organizations rely on her leadership.”
Christine Tacon, Groceries Code Adjudicator, UK Regulator
Hailed as a “dynamic businesswoman who has had a major impact in agribusiness and the food sector”, Christine Tacon is credited with transforming the largest farmer co-operative in the UK from operating at a huge loss to ending with an $8 million profit, and a $30 million increase in revenue. She also took on the role as the first ever sector regulator in the UK, bringing fairness to the relationship between direct suppliers and the country’s 10 biggest supermarkets by enforcing a Groceries Supply Code of Practice. Her success in pursuing breaches of the Code has been proven in annual surveys that show issues experienced by suppliers have been cut in half, and the number of retailers complying with the Code has risen dozens of percentage points.
Tacon also is the chair of Management Development Services, a recruitment and training provider for graduates of the food and produce sector, and non-executive director of Anglia Farmers, a $350 million farm-purchasing co-operative. Additionally, she is the founder of Ladies in Agriculture, created to facilitate networking and mentorship opportunities.