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Calling all diverse farm and ranch owners: new expo brings big ag business to you

By Michelle Pelletier Marshall, Women in Agribusiness Media (October 27, 2020)

The parent company of Women in Agribusiness, HighQuest Group, has just announced the IGNITE Business Expo to provide a pathway to connect multinational corporations to agricultural producers who represent minority groups, whether that be based on culture, race, gender, sexual orientation or disability. The four-day virtual expo – this November 12 and 23, and December 1 & 2 – will provide training, networking and new business opportunities for those diverse owners.

“We work with many large global agribusinesses, such as Barilla and Cargill, and they have shown interest in connecting with diverse producers, which brought us to creating IGNITE,” said Joy O’Shaughnessy, chief operating officer at HighQuest Group and event director for the company’s Women in Agribusiness Summit, who noted that the IGNITE series began in 2019 with an expo to assist women-owned businesses. “We are excited to be a part of creating more opportunities for the economic advancement of diverse-owned businesses, and encourage these farm and ranch owners in the designated categories to reach out to us to take advantage of the IGNITE offerings.”

For the first day of the IGNITE Business Expo – Thursday, November 12 – HighQuest has partnered with the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) General Mills Outreach & Development Program for Women Growers and Farmers to provide producer participants with insight on the benefits and process of being and becoming certified as a diverse owner. This includes testimonials from certified business owners in dairy and agriculture, and a presentation from a commodity representative from General Mills who will detail the importance of certification, such as helping your brand and products stand out.

On day two, November 23, producers will receive training on creating a winning ‘elevator pitch’ and instruction on how to professionally present themselves on camera (Zoom) in preparation of their showcase presentations for the corporations.

On Tuesday, December 1, the suppliers and producers will come together (virtually) for roundtable discussions, networking and a showcase presentation to highlight their products and services. On the final day, Wednesday, December 2, the producers will have one-on-one meetings with potential clients, based on interest received from the previous day.

Interested parties – producers and corporations alike – are invited to register, or email with questions. For more information, visit


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