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Five Favorite Stories from 2021

By Michelle Pelletier Marshall, Women in Agribusiness Media (January 4, 2022)

Welcome to 2022! The last couple of years have presented many trials and tribulations in so many different ways for so many, but we are hopeful that 2022 brings renewed faith and better journeys for all. We wish the best for you, our readers, in health, happiness and success, and thank you for joining us each week for our WIA Today blog posts.

We hope we have provided some food for thought throughout the year with our coverage, and look forward to presenting exciting, topical stories in the new year (please reach out to Michelle Pelletier Marshall, editor, if you’d like to contribute or have a story idea).

Here are the Top Five Favorite Stories from 2021

Known for being a trailblazer for women in ag, Krysta Harden, now the first female CEO and president of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), and formerly a speaker for the WIA Summit, met with WIA Today to talk growth in U.S. dairy exports, how her job transitions kept her challenged and got her voice heard, and why women should strive for leadership positions in ag.

At the 10th annual Women in Agribusiness Summit (September 21-23 in Minneapolis) one of the key presentations was by Julie Anna Potts, CEO and president of the North American Meat Institute (NAMI). Potts highlighted how NAMI has shifted its focus away from defend and deflect, to embrace and change. In doing this, the organization and its partners throughout the animal protein supply chain recently united to launch the Protein PACT, for the People, Animals and Climate of Tomorrow. This is the largest-ever effort to strengthen animal protein’s contributions to healthy people, healthy animals, healthy communities, and a healthy environment.

As female leaders in the crop insurance industry, Kendall Jones, president and CEO of ProAg and chair of the National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS), and Becky Piechowski, chief strategy officer of ProAg, are uniquely positioned to offer women in agribusiness valuable insight. From those just beginning their careers to those in leadership positions, all women in agriculture can learn a lot from each other — and from Jones and Piechowski.

The 2021 virtual Women in Agribusiness Summit Europe conference in “Paris” (March 8-10) included topics such as The Importance of Trade in Global Food Security, Building a Resilient Supply Chain, and Accelerating Trust in a Sustainable Future for Agri-Food. But a long-standing favorite is always the sector-disrupting products discussed during the ever-popular Ag Innovation Hour, which at this event featured Rosalie Toth of Ipiit, Ariana Cohen of BioBee Biological Systems, and Pedro Coutinho, CEO of Olho do Dono.

It was September 2012 in New Orleans and a group of inquisitive women had gathered for a new conference, one that promised to help “recruit, retain and advance” women in the ag sector. Guided by expert speakers and through providing thought-provoking discussions, unparalleled networking, and a focus on the challenges unique to women in the agribusiness sector, the conference was all that and more. The Women in Agribusiness Summit (WIA) was born. In 2021, we gathered for our 10th anniversary event in Minneapolis.

In this video interview, WIA Today spoke with Greg Mellinger, CEO of HighQuest Partners, parent company of WIA, and Joy O’Shaughnessy, WIA event director and COO of HighQuest Partners’ Agribusiness Division, for more insight into the event and the WIA mission.

And here are some other key stories WIA Today brought to you this year:

Michelle Pelletier Marshall is contributing editor and author for HighQuest Partners’ GAI News and Oilseed & Grain News, and managing editor for its WIA Today blog. Additionally, she is the company’s PR/Media Manager. She can be reached at


Do you have a story you'd like to contribute to WIA Today? Or a suggestion for a story, or comments about an article? Please reach out to Michelle Marshall at and share your thoughts. We'd love to hear from you.

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