Seed World

Seed World Next Gen Panel: Who’s Stepping Onto Your Bus?

The seed industry’s single greatest asset isn’t technology; it isn’t innovation; it isn’t even seed. Our one critical asset – the single most important factor that will carry this industry through whatever unprecedented challenges and changes lie ahead — is our people.

That’s the good news.

The not so good news is that every other industry is competing for the same passionate, innovative people. How can the seed industry recruit, retain and build up the Next Gen workforce it needs to tackle today and be ready for the future? 

In the third of our Seed World Innovate Series of panel discussions, held live at the Field Crop Seed Convention in Orlando, we’ll be pulling together three next generation seed industry thought leaders to chat people: how to find the right ones, how to draw them to the seed industry, and how to provide an environment that allows them to excel.

We’ll be digging into big questions:

How can we overcome the common myth that working in agriculture either means farming or holding a PhD?

What’s different looking towards 2024: do we keep doing what we’ve been doing or is it time to change the game?

As we celebrate the innovation and new ideas of an incoming generation, how do we make change comfortable for older generations so they don’t run for the hills?

Most importantly, we’ll be talking tools: what concrete strategies can each of us act on today, regardless of where we fit into the seed value chain, to build the workforce the seed industry needs?

The panel will feature:

Brittany Lloyd – Global Head of Seeds Quality at BASF


Brittany Lloyd works across seed supply for all crops and in all regions to make sure customers receive high quality seed. Brittany completed a Bachelor of Science in plant science at North Carolina State before starting her career in GMO research, leading multiple research facilities and programs. While leading these teams, she also completed a Master of Science in agronomy at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, and an MBA at North Carolina State. Working to support the next generation of ag professionals is a true passion of Brittany’s. She is a second generation FFA member and is a founding member of the BASF FFA Alumni and Supporters Chapter. Brittany works with organizations like FFA, AFA and MANRRS to discuss career paths, recruit and inspire young people to join the agriculture community, no matter where their career leads.

Catherine Frans – ED of the Independent Professional Seed Association (IPSA)


Catherine Frans is a dynamic, impassioned, and results-oriented leader. As the Executive Director of IPSA, her mission extends beyond market influence; it encompasses the strategic safeguarding of the future of the independent seed industry. With a background in marketing and communications, Catherine has an unwavering commitment to delivering value to the market and championing the rights of Independent Seed Companies as a visionary force. Catherine was named one of Seed World’s Top 10 Next Gen Leaders in 2022 and is passionate about building up the next generation of seed industry leaders.  She was recognized in 2023 by the Women In Industry Podcast. Outside of her professional commitments, Catherine serves as the President for the Northeast Arkansas Children’s Advocacy Center, fighting to eradicate child abuse.  Catherine can often be found navigating the waters of the White River on a paddleboard or engrossed in pages at a local bookstore. Catherine is currently pursuing a second degree in Agriculture at the University of Arkansas with eyes towards an MBA in International Marketing.

Jacob Prather – North America Business Integrity Lead at Bayer


Jacob Prather has spent just over a decade in the seed and agri-chemical industries, moving up from first interning in field sales with Monsanto, to managing sales, to today serving as the North America Business Integrity Lead for Bayer Crop Science. Jacob holds a Bachelor of Science in crop science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

This panel will be final in Seed World Group’s three-part Seed World Innovate Series, all of which will be hosted live on the Seed Expo stage at the Field Crop Seed Convention. The three panels take place as follows:

Panel #1: Changing the Game with Capital ‘I’ Innovation – Thursday: 12:00-12:45 pm

Panel #2: Influencing for Action – Thursday: 2:00-2:45 pm

Panel #3: Next Gen Insights – Friday: 10:00-10:45 am