College of Business program grooming tomorrow’s Ag leaders

Bailey Brendel ® Staff Writer |

Agriculture is a huge part of our lives. It controls everything we do, what we eat, how we shop, and where we live. It is a worldwide industry that embraces new cultures and ideas. 

Its influence reaches everywhere, from farmers to business owners to consumers in every corner of the world. Even during the hardest times in our history, the food industry was there. Yet, this massive industry is often overlooked. 

At Minnesota State University, a program within the College of Business aims to open students’ eyes to the myriad leadership and career opportunities that await them in agriculture and the food industry.

The Henze Ag Innovators Leadership Development Program, shepherded by faculty member Shane Bowyer, is looking to bulk up its membership. 

The program has a select group of 18-20 students who are sophomores through grad students. Students are from a variety of different majors or colleges, but they all have a common interest in agriculture, food science or natural resources. 

“The group was very diverse as seven were international students and the group collectively spoke 16 different languages,” said Bowyer, the Agribusiness & Food Innovation Director.  

The students in this program get to attend a variety of events during the year. 

“Last year we went out to spend the day at Land O’ Lakes or at Canterbury farm,” Bowyer said. 

They also participate in many other events such as networking luncheons, the Agrigrowth annual conference and numerous company tours that let students engage with industry leaders and network with those in similar fields. 

By attending these and other training events, students gain leadership development skills that can be useful after graduation. They also conduct a research project with a company, giving them useful skills that apply to their career. 

Students who remain active group members are eligible for two internship credits. They’re also eligible for a scholarship. 

The deadline to apply for this program is Sept. 22. If interested, or if you have any questions, contact Shane Bowyer at

Header photo: A temporary worker from Mexico plants strawberries on a farm
in Mirabel, Quebec as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

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