Sanjeev Sable and Nikhil Ratnam came to share their mission. The successful entrepreneurs presented their work with hydroponics—cultivating plants by placing them in liquid nutrient solutions instead of soil—as well as micro-dairy goat farming. They explained how these practices are being used in their native India in the two companies they started. But they also ended up learning.
They were part of Dordt College’s first Global Agriculture Summit held on March 3 and 4 in Sioux Center, Iowa.
People and businesses from the local community and from around the world took part in sessions on many topics, including “Rangelands: Unique Peoples, Unique Challenges, Soil Care and Management.” This conference was put on by the college as well as several other organizations including Partners Worldwide, Bread for the World, and World Renew.
Sable and Ratnam were not the only ones who took something tangible home with them. Kisongo Mbelaulu is from Minnesota. He goes back to his native Republic of Congo twice a year for a couple of weeks to continue his work with chicken farmers and women starting their own small businesses. He came to this conference to get help with these projects and said he was very encouraged by what he learned.
Over 650 people attended the summit. According to Sonya Jongsma Knauss, director of public relations for the college, Dordt doesn’t plan on holding a big ag summit like this every year, but they do hope to have some regional summits. “This was the first time Dordt has hosted something of this magnitude. The goal is to host something on this scale again, potentially every second or third year,” she said. “In the other years, Dordt will continue hosting the more regionally focused Ag Summit.”
In his closing remarks at the conference, Dordt College President Erik Hoekstra reminded all of the four themes of the conference: to be encouraged, affirmed, equipped, and connected. He hoped that all attendees went away from the conference with more than “a mitt full of business cards” but also a plan of action. He hoped that people would connect with one another beyond this conference and work together to better the world.