Advisory council supports Purdue's focus on commercial ag

October 5, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Center for Commercial Agriculture, a Purdue University farm management research and education program, has announced the establishment of an industry advisory council. The council will support the center's vision of being a leading source of management education and knowledge generation for commercial farmers, said Brent Gloy, a Purdue agricultural economist and the center's director.

"We are pleased that five leading agribusinesses have chosen to become founding members of our industry council," Gloy said. "The council will help keep us focused on issues relevant to commercial farms and undergraduates in the College of Agriculture."

The founding members of the council include AGCO Corp., Dow AgroSciences, GROWMARK, Farm Credit Services of Mid-America and Syngenta.

"All of the companies on the council have made significant financial contributions that will allow us to accomplish some great things in the area of commercial agriculture," Gloy said. "Those financial resources will be used to develop innovative educational programs for farmers, react to timely research needs in commercial agriculture and provide undergraduate students with out-of-classroom opportunities for engagement on commercial farms."

Additionally, each company has agreed to commit a key executive to participate in council meetings and priority-setting discussions.

Industry council representatives are:

* Doug Griffin of Duluth, Ga., vice president of global marketing and brand management, AGCO Corp. Griffin joined AGCO in 2002, where he develops global branding and marketing programs. He received a bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering from Purdue and has completed executive training programs at Bradley University and Emory University. He was named a 2011 Purdue Distinguished Agricultural Alumnus.

* Vern Hawkins of Greensboro, N.C., president of commercial operations and regional director for North America, Syngenta. Hawkins is a 26-year Syngenta veteran, rising through the ranks from sales territory manager to his current positions in the company's crop protection and seed businesses. He received a bachelor's degree in agronomy from Purdue and an executive MBA from Temple University. He was named a 2011 Purdue Distinguished Agricultural Alumnus.

* Stan Howell of Indianapolis, vice president of North America Regional Commercial Unit, Dow AgroSciences. Howell is responsible for overseeing the company's agricultural chemical, turf and ornamentals, urban pest, healthy oils, and seeds and traits businesses in the United States and Canada. He also is president of Phytogen Seed Co. He received a bachelor's degree in marketing from Indiana University.

* Dick Poe of Louisville, Ky., senior vice president of financial services, Farm Credit Services of Mid-America. Poe oversees the management and sales of 43 Farm Credit Services offices in Indiana, Ohio and northern Kentucky. He began his Farm Credit career in 1982 as a loan officer in Washington Court House, Ohio. Poe received bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Kentucky.

* Jim Spradlin of Bloomington, Ill., vice president of agronomy, GROWMARK Inc. Spradlin leads the company's seed, crop protection, plant protection, plant food and facility planning and supply divisions, and GROWMARK's Agronomy Marketing & Agronomic Services. He joined GROWMARK in 1982 after receiving a bachelor's degree in business administration and economics from Illinois College.

The Center for Commercial Agriculture, housed in Purdue's Department of Agricultural Economics, consists of professionals and faculty dedicated to producing knowledge for farmers leading today's production agriculture. It offers workshops, webinars, custom training, field events and online educational resources to help farmers better manage their agricultural operations. It also creates educational opportunities for the undergraduate and graduate students who will manage the farms and agribusinesses of the future.

For more information, visit the Center's website at

For additional information about the industry council program, visit

Writer: Steve Leer, 765-494-8415,

Source: Brent Gloy, 765-494-0468,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson,
Agriculture News Page

Related website:

Purdue Department of Agricultural Economics