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Jan 12—15, 2020
4 days
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
USD 10000
USD 2500 per day

How it works



Many types of change, from emerging technologies to natural resource shortages to political shifts, have put pressure on traditional agribusiness business models—and created new possibilities for companies that can innovate, develop new strategies, and scale their operations. For more than 50 years, business leaders from around the world have gathered for the Agribusiness Seminar at Harvard Business School (HBS). This annual event provides a unique opportunity to join an elite group of global executives as they discuss the changing agribusiness landscape—and shape the future of this vital industry. You will gain valuable insight into agribusiness trends, challenges, and emerging opportunities, and find new ways to build competitive advantage and drive business growth.

Key Benefits

Whatever role your company plays in the agribusiness value chain, this program will help you stay current on shifts in market demand, regional and global trends, and local operating realities. You will examine new business models for navigating rapid changes in technologies, consumer trends, geopolitics, and natural resources. With a more nuanced understanding of the key issues facing agribusiness today, you will be better able to create a strong future for your business—and for the planet and its people

What You Will Learn

Through faculty presentations, case studies, group discussions, and industry guest speakers, you will explore agribusiness trends and best practices covering a wide array of business, economic, political, environmental, and social issues.

The curriculum is based on the world-renowned HBS case method—a highly interactive approach that engages participants in a dynamic exchange of ideas as they identify and test possible actions. Further enriching the sessions is the unique opportunity to meet and hear from top executives of the companies featured in the cases.

The 2019 seminar will feature new agribusiness-specific cases incorporating the latest trends, bold business models, strategies for success, and novel thinking about industry opportunities and challenges. Anticipated case studies will feature the following companies and organizations:

  • Administración Enrique Duhau (Argentina)
  • Almarai (Saudi Arabia)
  • Bord Bia (Ireland)
  • Darling Ingredients (U.S.)
  • Driscoll's (U.S)
  • Jain Irrigation Systems (India)
  • Lagunitas Brewing Company (U.S)
  • The Nature Conservancy (U.S.)
  • New Hope Liuhe (China)
  • Tyson Foods (U.S.)
  • Zespri (New Zealand)

Key Topics

Creating more resilient, sustainable supply chains

  • How are traditional supply chains being disrupted by emerging competitors, changing business models, new technologies, natural resource scarcity, shifting consumer demands, and volatile political climates?
  • How can companies meet strategic objectives while mitigating risk, controlling cost, and capturing value?
  • Which companies will benefit from integrating vertically, and why?
  • What kinds of partnerships will be most successful?
  • How can companies balance tight control and predictability with flexibility and responsiveness?
  • How will demand for transparency and sustainable sourcing change the supply chain?

Addressing the needs of consumers around the world

  • How can firms design effective strategies for different market challenges, such as food safety, food scarcity, and the demand for healthy, sustainable, and convenient choices?
  • How can they connect with consumers in target markets and build differentiated brands?
  • How can fast-growing consumer demand for protein be met efficiently and sustainably?
  • How can the industry and government work together to promote national and regional food security and to promote the environmental sustainability of energy and food production?

Harnessing innovation

  • How are new business models, novel investment vehicles, and technology-enabled distribution strategies providing new ways to create value for customers and investors?
  • What are the ripple effects of these innovations?
  • What kinds of innovation will drive the industry in the future?
  • How can existing barriers to the effective implementation of business practices and governmental policies be overcome?
  • How are leading companies increasing their capacity to innovate and bring new products to market?
  • How should companies innovate to overcome environmental challenges?

Navigating a volatile landscape

  • How can companies maintain momentum in the face of climate change, regulatory and policy uncertainty, widely fluctuating commodity supplies, and dramatic price swings?
  • What are the key steps to anticipating change, managing risk, and responding effectively?
  • How will government policies impact companies doing business locally, across borders, or globally?
  • What other kinds of volatility will force companies to adapt their strategies and operations in the years to come?

Supporting farms of the future

  • What is the future of farming in developing and mature markets?
  • How are unpredictable trade and immigration policies creating new challenges for farmers?
  • Who will constitute the next generation of farmers, and how will farmers access the agricultural labor necessary to operate farms?
  • What role do governments and the populations they serve play in ensuring a sustainable farm workforce? How can farmers establish financial security?
  • How will technological advances evolve the practice of farming and bring important efficiencies?

Who should attend

  • Current and rising leaders, ranging from senior executives in large multinational companies to heads of family businesses and agribusiness entrepreneurs, in all sectors of the industry
  • Producers, processors, and distributors of agricultural and food products
  • Marketers of fresh and packaged foods, convenience meals, and snacks
  • General and specialized grocery retailers, food e-commerce players, and foodservice providers
  • Manufacturers and distributors of agricultural inputs, supplies, and farm equipment
  • Financial services firms that directly serve the agribusiness industry
  • Government agencies and nongovernment institutions that further agribusiness for the public good
  • Digital, biotechnology, and other technology players that shape the food, agriculture, and energy sectors

Particularly appropriate for: Chairpersons, chief executive officers, presidents, managing directors, owners, and other company leaders who drive strategy for their firms.


Rajiv Lal, is the Stanley Roth, Sr. Professor of Retailing at Harvard Business School. He is currently teaching an elective MBA course on the Business of Smart Connected products/IOT. He has been responsible for the retailing curriculum and has served as the course head for Marketing, required st...
Forest L. Reinhardt is the John D. Black Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.  Professor Reinhardt is the head of HBS’s Business, Government, and the International Economy unit.  He also serves as the faculty chair of Harvard Business School''s Asia-Pacific Research...
William C. Kirby is Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies at Harvard University.  He is a University Distinguished Service Professor.  Professor Kirby serves as Chairman of the Harvard China Fund, the University'...
Joshua Margolis is Professor of Business Administration in the Organizational Behavior unit, Faculty Chair of the Christensen Center for Teaching and Learning, and course-head for the required first-year MBA course, Leadership and Organizational Behavior. His research and teaching revolve around ...
Philip Caldwell Professor of Business Administration Gunnar Trumbull is a Professor at the Harvard Business School, where he teaches in the Business, Government, and the International Economy area. Trumbull graduated from Harvard College in 1991 and earned a Ph.D. in political science from M.I.T...
Shawn Cole is a professor in the Finance Unit at Harvard Business School, where he teaches and conducts research on financial services, social enterprise, and impact investing. Much of his research examines corporate and household finance in emerging markets, with a focus on insurance, credit,...
José Alvarez was President and Chief Executive Officer of Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover from April 2006 through July 2008. José joined Stop and Shop, a subsidiary of Royal Ahold NV, in 2001. Prior to his tenure as President and CEO, José was Executive Vice President of Supply Chain and Logistics...
Kristin Fabbe is an assistant professor in the Business, Government, and International Economy Unit, where she teaches the course of the same name in the MBA required curriculum. Her primary expertise is in comparative politics, with a regional focus on the Middle East and southeastern Europe, pa...
Ayelet Israeli is an assistant professor of business administration in the Marketing Unit. She teaches the Marketing course in the MBA required curriculum. In her research, Professor Israeli focuses on pricing and pricing policies, channel management, and online marketing. Her research has been ...
David E. Bell is the George M. Moffett Professor of Agriculture and Business at Harvard Business School. He is chair of the school’s marketing faculty and is also responsible for all of HBS faculty recruiting. He runs the annual Agribusiness Seminar for executives and teaches an MBA course on...


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