Bringing the Next Generation Into the Fold

Farm Foundation announces the January 2022 Cultivators.

If you know Farm Foundation, you are probably familiar with our Round Table events. Twice a year, we gather leaders from across the food and agriculture value chain to promote discussion and interaction among thought leaders in government, academics, agribusiness, and other interest groups.

With the goal of exploring ideas, analyses, and insights, a broad range of perspective is essential—and that includes the next generation of agribusiness leaders. That’s why we established the Farm Foundation Cultivators Program.

Cultivators, who may be undergraduate or graduate students, are selected from a competitive pool of applicants from accredited North American colleges or universities. Students are nominated by their college dean or department head.


Each Cultivator is connected with a Farm Foundation Round Table participant who acts as a mentor for the meeting, letting students know what to expect and making sure they are interacting with other attendees. Cultivators are expected to participate in all aspects of the meeting and present a poster representing a key aspect of their studies.

We are pleased to announce the students who will be joining us in January at the next Round Table, and can’t wait to inspire—and be inspired—as we work toward a strong future together.

Cultivators selected for January 2022 are:

Adam Knoblock
Iowa State University

A sophomore studying Agricultural Business, Adam grew up on his family farm and is currently actively involved with the Iowa Corn Growers Collegiate Club and several other organizations. He has interned at AgriGold and will spend next summer interning at Poet as a grain merchandiser.

Justin Leslie
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Justin served in the U.S. Army before studying Agribusiness and Food Industry Management at Carolina AT&T where he is now a senior. Witnessing the decline caused by people leaving Sparta, Georgia, where his grandfather has a farm, has motivated him to teach people about the relevance of agriculture in rural communities.

Kirsten Nickles
The Ohio State University

Kirsten graduated with an M.S. in Animal Sciences from Ohio State where she is now a graduate research associate in cattle nutrition. She is motivated to produce high-impact research with outcomes that will help beef producers and advocate for the livestock industry.

Roberto Ortez
University of Florida

Roberto is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Management in Agriculture while also working full time as a Sugarcane Rotational Development Program Ag Supervisor at Florida Crystals.

Kantilata Thapa
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

After completing her undergraduate degree from Agriculture and Forestry University in Nepal, Kantilata moved to Nebraska where she is now a graduate student in the Biosystems Engineering department. She is passionate about learning from varied perspectives to develop solutions for sustainable and resilient agriculture.

Alyssa Vander Woude
California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

Alyssa grew up on her family’s dairy farm, which sparked a lifelong passion for agriculture. She is currently in her second year at Cal Poly where she is working toward a B.S. in Agribusiness. She hopes to one day make an impact in Ag finance.

The Farm Foundation Round Table is an invitation-only group of thought leaders, policy makers, and influential figures from a broad cross-section of the food and agriculture value chain. The group, with invited guests, meets twice a year to discuss issues of importance to agribusiness, the food system, and rural communities. Round Table discussions also generate new ideas for Farm Foundation project work. By attending, student Cultivators have the unique opportunity to interact with leaders in today’s food and agriculture sector. Learn more at

Share This Article