It’s been a year.

Farmers are used to adapting to circumstances, whether droughts, floods or pest infestations. Overcoming unpredictable hurdles goes with the job, but the pandemic brought a range of new challenges to growing the food people depend upon.

“In Louisiana we had two hurricanes this past fall, and now extreme rains, so extreme weather has been a big player in my world. When you throw COVID on top of that, it makes things super interesting,” says Meryl Kennedy, Founder and CEO at 4Sisters Rice.

On the other side of the globe, Margo Andrae, CEO at Australian Pork Limited, faced African swine fever, which impacted 30% of the company’s global herd for weeks on top of the pandemic. “It has been an interesting year, and I think it’s probably taught us all to put people first. And most importantly, I think it’s put agriculture and food security back into the main arena,” says Andrae.

Each agrees that the challenges of the past year make it clear that more must be done to enhance the resilience of our food system. Both CEOs recently chatted with Jeff Sloan, President of Sloan Implement, a family-owned network of John Deere dealerships in the United States, for a special agricultural YPO Presents – Ask the Experts, to discuss our fragile food system, how new technologies are improving the agricultural business, sustainability, food insecurity and much more.