Farm Foundation Awards

Farm Foundation Transformational Leadership Award

Honoring an individual who has demonstrated innovative and transformational leadership in food and agriculture.

The Farm Foundation Transformational Leadership Award 2024 Recipient

Dr. Robert Fraley, Former Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Monsanto Company

Rob Fraley Head Shot copy

Dr. Robert (Robb) Fraley is the former executive vice president and chief technology officer at Monsanto Company. He is widely recognized as a key contributor to the worldwide science and agriculture communities, most notably for developing the first genetically modified crops (often referred to as GMOs) as a solution for farmers battling pests and weeds that threatened yields and food production.

He grew up on a small farm near Hoopeston, Illinois, and attended the University of Illinois, where he earned a PhD in microbiology and biochemistry.  He did post-doctoral research in biophysics at the University of California-San Francisco, where he focused on biotechnology and DNA delivery before joining Monsanto Company in 1980.

Throughout his career, Fraley has authored more than 100 publications and patent applications relating to technical advances in agricultural sciences.  Recognitions for his contributions include being a recipient of the National Medal of Technology (1998), the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center Distinguished Service Award (2007), the World Food Prize (2013) and the Order of Lincoln (2020).

Fraley currently serves on several technology company boards including Trace Genomics, AgroSpheres, Harpe and Verdesian.  He has been a leading voice for agriculture, working to reset the public conversation about science. As he often says, “We can develop the greatest scientific innovations the world has ever seen, but if we can’t find ways to communicate and engage more effectively, nothing else will matter.”

Nominated by: Farm Foundation Awards Committee Recommendation

Launched in 2023 to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Farm Foundation, the Farm Foundation Transformational Leadership Award will be awarded to an individual who has demonstrated a lifetime of innovative and transformational leadership in food and agriculture.

Transformational Leadership Award Criteria
  • Exhibits traits and characteristics of a true leader through their visionary approach to leading an organization or industry
  • Identified as a mentor and changemaker within their established career
  • Was responsible for a transformational idea, product, or concept that had significant impact in the food and agriculture sector
  • Exemplifies high standards of professionalism in all their endeavors
  • Embodies the mission and vision of Farm Foundation through their work and contributions
Nomination Materials

Please provide the following for the Transformational Leadership nomination packet:

  • Contributions Summary: A bullet point summary of the significant contributions this individual has made to food and agriculture. You can share an overall list or the CV/Resume of this individual.
  • Supporting Letter: Please also provide at least one letter of nomination from a supporter who can share insight on the impact this nominee has made.

Submit materials to the nominations portal by no later than October 20, 2023.

Who can I contact with questions?

Past Recipients

2023: John Foraker, Co-Founder and CEO, Once Upon a Farm