Farm Foundation® Welcomes June 2023 Cultivators Program Cohort

Farm Foundation has announced its latest cohort of Cultivators to present at an upcoming Round Table Event. The June 2023 cohort marks the 10-year anniversary of the Farm Foundation Cultivators program.

Twice a year, Farm Foundation gathers professionals from across the food and agriculture value chain to promote discussion and interaction among thought leaders in government, academics, agribusiness, and other interest groups. The topic for the upcoming June Round Table meeting in Chicago is, “Mapping a Successful Future for Food and Agriculture.”

The Cultivators Program gives the next generation of agribusiness leaders a seat at the table. 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.

“In ten short years, the Cultivator program has evolved into a very meaningful experience for these outstanding future leaders of the agriculture industry,” says Jenna Wicks, program manager at Farm Foundation. “It is also instrumental for meeting attendees to interact with the students. If anyone has any doubts that the future of agriculture in this country is bright, they only need to look to these students.”

Cultivators selected for June 2023 are:
Sophia Darrow
Oklahoma State University
Sophia Darrow is an Oklahoma City native and a senior at Oklahoma State University studying horticulture science. Sophia serves as the student coordinator for OSU’s new Student Farm and will continue her involvement while pursuing her master’s degree. She dreams of teaching on the university level at a land-grant university. She is passionate about incorporating the cornerstones of research, instruction, and extension into the education experience.

Gustavo Castro García
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Gustavo Castro García is a Ph.D. student of biological systems engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has over eight years of teaching experience in rural areas in Latin America. He has an interest in applying principles of a circular economy to foster improvements in agricultural sustainability through his genuine passion for helping others achieve success.

Elizabeth Lynch
West Virginia University
Elizabeth Lynchis a native of Martinsburg, West Virginia. She has a bachelor’s degree in animal and poultry science with a minor in biology from Delaware State University, and a master’s degree in food and nutritional science from West Virginia University. She is also currently Miss West Virginia. When she gives up her title in June of 2023, Elizabeth plans to go back to West Virginia University to pursue her Ph.D. in food and nutritional science.

Joseph Oboamah
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Joseph Oboamah is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in computer science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Originally from Ghana, Joseph has used his computer science skills to contribute to the development of the Peer-Learning Agricultural Network (PLAN) in western Nebraska, which has helped address critical agricultural issues such as water management, disease detection, and ag system monitoring.

Guang Tian
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Guang Tian is a third-year Ph.D. student studying agricultural economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He finished his master’s degree at the University of Idaho in 2020 and is originally from Beijing. His dissertation is about climate change and farmer’s adaptation behaviors.

Carolina Vargas
Michigan State University
Carolina Vargasis a Ph.D. candidate (and master’s graduate) in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics (AFRE) at Michigan State University. She is currently finishing her dissertation on the relationship between violence and urbanization on the structuring of the agri-food value chain as well as the actors within it. Before starting her Ph.D. program, she worked for four years in a think tank within the Colombian Ministry of National Defense.

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 these events, student Cultivators have the unique opportunity to interact with leaders in today’s food and agriculture sector. Learn more at

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