National Conference for Agribusiness to feature new research

September 8, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Results of a new survey about performance management practices in agribusinesses will be a featured discussion topic on Nov. 10-11 during the National Conference for Agribusiness at Purdue University.

The conference, hosted by the Center for Food and Agricultural Business, will be at the Courtyard by Marriott, 150 Fairington Ave., Lafayette, and will cover talent management topics, including performance management, which describes the formal employee review process. Data from the Performance Management in Agribusiness Survey will be released and summarized for the first time.

Steve Vande Loo, retired national vice president of region commercialization for Coca-Cola Refreshments, will serve as keynote speaker.

The conference goal is to help leaders shape performance management strategies within their organizations, said Michael Gunderson, associate director of the Center for Food and Agricultural Business and associate professor of agricultural economics. Given that survey responses indicated more than half of all middle managers in agribusiness believe their organizations are ineffective at performance management, the topic is vital.

“There is a correlation between effective performance management and company success,” Gunderson said. “Company strategies not only have to identify poor performers but also address the issue. The goal is to help poor performers improve, but if that doesn’t work it might mean asking them to leave. High-functioning employees will be upset if not, and you will risk losing your best people to companies where strong performance is recognized and rewarded.”

A key survey finding is that executives and managers tend to indicate that weak performers in their organizations hear the message that their performance needs to improve. But employees disagree.

“Different parties view performance management differently,” Gunderson said. “If you have a set of employees who are being evaluated, but they don’t see the system as very functional, they aren’t going to buy into the process.”

Vande Loo’s session, titled “Transformational Leadership,” will focus on the key steps for building a culture of transformation based on truth and trust between leadership and employees. He will talk about the successes of the Coca-Cola system and share his view on the competencies and mindsets required to build a successful business team.

Other speakers include faculty from Purdue and Rhode Island College and executives from both agricultural and non-agricultural companies. A full list of topics and speakers is available at

Registration is $995 per person until Sept. 15. After that, the price goes to $1,295. Register online at

Continuing education units and credits for certified crop advisers will be available. 

Writer: Jennifer Stewart-Burton, 765-496-6032, 

Source: Michael Gunderson, 765-496-2010,

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

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