The International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) Student Case Study Competition provides a platform for both undergraduate and post graduate student teams to showcase their analytical and presentation abilities. This year’s IFAMA conference was hosted by the Danish Food Cluster (an innovative and collective organisation) in Aarhus, Denmark with the agenda of Food Security 2050 built from ‘people, climate and big data’.
The UNE team of Conrad Rees, Craig McGlashan, Max Laurie, Sally Beer and Sarah Rohr accompanied by Sally Strelitz and Stuart Mounter arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark three days before the commencement of the conference with a chance to acclimatise and experience the city and culture. During our time in Copenhagen we had the opportunity to head out to the countryside to visit Kongskilde, a local manufacturer of agriculture equipment that now operates as a global organisation. Following the opportunity to see Kongskildes workplace, we were lucky enough to be generously hosted for dinner in a picturesque setting among rolling fields of wheat. Also in Copenhagen we were able to visit Ostegro, a rooftop membership built fruit and vegetable garden promoting urban agriculture. Throughout both our planned visits and free time we were able to experience the local culture, the primary means of transport – pushbikes and the European summer, which included daylight from 4am to 10pm.
The commencement of the IFAMA 2016 conference for students began with a casual dinner for the students before the heats of the case study competition the following day. Provided with a tough case the team utilised the procedures that we had developed we aligned their application to the marking criteria, went through robust discussion to determine our solution and processes required. The team worked extremely well together and supported each member during their preparation, speaking role and throughout question time. The experience in public speaking given minimal preparation time is invaluable, the assistance we have received from especially from Lyn Gollan has significantly developed the team’s ability to express our analysis.
The IFAMA conference following the student case study competition displayed the Denmark food cluster in a European and global context, discussed sustainability and was a great opportunity for networking as well as catching up with familiar faces for those that attended last year’s conference. Included were site visits to local agricultural organisations, an evening at an exclusive theme park and a night to ‘Dine with Danes’ where we were hosted by a range of local families who hosted us with their homes, family and food, all of which were extremely enjoyable. The opportunity to both listen and be a part of the discussions at IFAMA between leading industry members, academics and policy makers displayed the innovation and work behind increasing food security and sustainability as well as the opportunities for students entering the workforce. IFAMA 2016 was over far too quickly but it was more than worth the months of preparation that both staff and students contributed to the team.
None of this would be possible without the support and work of Derek Baker, Stuart Mounter, Sally Strelitz and our team sponsors Syngenta, Rabobank, Ceres Agriculture, AARES and Rimfire Resources. We are all extremely grateful for this invaluable opportunity and an experience that we will never forget.