The James C. Snyder Memorial Lecture is the Department of Agricultural Economics’ signature event at Purdue University. The lectures were established in February 1975 as an appropriate memorial to a distinguished member of the faculty. Funds are contributed by friends and corporations who wish to encourage the continuation of Jim Snyder’s professional efforts during his brief but brilliant career. As a highlight, a top professional in agricultural business and economics, or related areas, is brought to the campus to give a lecture and interact with staff and students. The Memorial Lecture, of general interest to all Department professional staff and students, is the high point of the visit. The lecture is open to the public with selected professionals invited as special guests.
45th Annual Snyder Memorial Lecture Guest Speaker Bio
President and CEO, Land O'Lakes, Inc.
Beth Ford is the President and CEO of Land O'Lakes, Inc. one of the nation’s largest food and agricultural cooperatives and #216 on the Fortune 500.
Ford comes to the CEO role after a series of successful executive postings within the company. In December 2017, Ford was named Chief Operating Officer of Land O’Lakes Businesses, in which role she oversaw Land O’Lakes’ WinField United, Purina Animal Nutrition and Dairy Foods business units. Prior to that, Ford was head of Land O’Lakes’ Dairy Foods and Purina Animal Nutrition businesses, where she led record performance and growth, leveraging innovation through R&D to strengthen both brands. She also was instrumental in the acquisition of Vermont Creamery in early 2017.
Prior to joining Land O’Lakes in 2011, Ford had excelled in executive operations management and supply chain roles at International Flavors and Fragrances, Mobil Corporation, PepsiCo and Pepsi Bottling Company and Scholastic. Ford has more than 20 years’ experience specifically in the areas of technology and R&D, as well, across these four companies.
Born in Sioux City, Iowa, Beth earned an MBA at Columbia University Business School and a BBA at Iowa State University. She remains involved in both universities, sitting on the Deming Center Board of Advisors for Columbia Business School and the Dean's Advisory Committee for the College of Business at Iowa State.
Ford also sits on the Board of Directors for the National Milk Producers Federation and non-profit boards, including Greater Twin Cities United Way in Minneapolis. She sits on the Boards of Directors of two publicly traded companies, including PACCAR, Inc.
Ford becomes the ninth CEO of Land O’Lakes, one of the nation’s largest agricultural cooperatives, which was founded in 1921. Ford and her spouse, Jill Schurtz, have three teenage children and live in Minneapolis.
Previous Snyder Lecturers
- Keith Coble, 2018
- Daniel A. Sumner, 2017
- Robert L. Thompson, 2016 - Powerpoint Presentation
- Helen Jensen, 2015
- J.B. Penn, 2014
- Robert B. Zoellich, 2013
- Rob Paarlberg, 2012 - Video of Lecture Download (700 MB), (700 MB), Presentation Slides
- Thomas Hoenig, 2011 - Video of Lecture Download (300 MB)
- Ian Sheldon, 2010
- Brian Wright, 2009
- Scott Irwin, 2008
- Jason Shogren 2007
- Zoltan Acs, 2006
- David Downey, 2005
- Douglas Hedley, 2004
- Susan Offutt, 2003
- Victor Davis Hanson, 2002
James C. Snyder
March 31, 1930 - June 1st, 1974
James Snyder was born March 31, 1930, in Ontario, Canada. After earning a bachelor’s degree at Ontario Agricultural College in 1953, he came to Purdue for graduate study in Agricultural Economics, earning a master’s in 1956 and a PhD in 1962. Very early on Jim demonstrated extraordinary initiative and creativity. He became intrigued with the potential use of management decision models for agribusiness. He was the first Purdue student to receive a PhD thesis award from the American Farm Economics Association (now the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association). Upon completion of graduate study, Jim became a member of the Agricultural Economics faculty at Purdue and began a standout teaching and research career. He attained the rank of professor in 1969.
His pioneering research contributed greatly to knowledge about the practical applicability of quantitative approaches to decision making in management of agribusiness firms. Jim’s design of functional programs for management decision-making is well known. His consulting activities gave him insights and opportunities to make his work relevant to everyday business needs.
Jim Snyder was a master teacher of graduate students. He provided the personalized, rigorous training that qualified them for leading positions in business, education, and government. He made research exciting, and students responded with hard work, devotion, and admiration. Students wanted to work with him. Jim Snyder is remembered as a brilliant colleague whose work, standards and style are an inspiration to those following in his footsteps at Purdue University.