An increase in population from 7 to 10 billion by 2050 will require a 70 percent increase in food production at the same time that natural resources are decreasing. Ten exceptional United States college sophomores, each committed to finding innovative and practical solutions to world hunger, will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do just that through a unique fellowship called the Global Food Challenge Emerging Leaders for Food Security™ Program.

Land O'Lakes, Inc. created the Global Food Challenge Emerging Leaders for Food Security™ fellowship in 2014 to engage future leaders in the challenges and opportunities facing agriculture in the coming decades. The 2015 fellowship recipients were announced today at the 2015 World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue, the foremost international annual symposium that brings the world's leading experts together to discuss cutting-edge issues in food security.

The 2015-2016 Emerging Leaders for Food Security are: Elizabeth Alonzi (Bloomington, Minn.), Katie Enzenauer (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), Blake Schweiner (Green Bay, Wis.), attending the University of Minnesota; Abby Adair (Crown Point, Ind.), Sydney Gray (West Lafayette, Ind.), attending Purdue University; Addison Bidwell (Grinnell, Iowa), Leah Ellensohn (Le Mars, Iowa), Megan Schnell (Charlottesville, Va.), attending Iowa State University; Diana Fu (Pleasanton, Calif.), attending Northwestern University and Ayse Muratoglu (Chicago, Ill.), attending The George Washington University.

"This experience is life-changing," said Mandi Egeland, a 2014 alumna of the program and a business student from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. Another 2014 alum, Trey Forsyth from Iowa State University, said, "We need people from different professional backgrounds, countries and viewpoints to make a difference in feeding the world."

"Ag is the greatest growth industry of our era and represents the most dynamic career opportunity for this generation," said Chris Policinski, president and CEO, Land O'Lakes, Inc.

Because a broad mix of skills is needed to find new ways of feeding the growing population, students are selected through a competitive application process that includes wide-ranging education disciplines from agronomy and environmental science to nutrition, finance and marketing.

Throughout the academic year, Emerging Leaders work closely with their university professors, delving into challenging assignments designed to spur their thinking about food security issues and to educate others. The experience includes summer work in key Land O'Lakes, Inc. locations, including headquarters in Minnesota and producers and rural agriculture cooperatives across the United States. The students also will spend time in Washington, D.C. with policymakers and agricultural experts and will travel to Africa to visit smallholder farmers in rural African communities. They address issues such as sustainability, global supply chains, ensuring broader access to new developments in agriculture, and empowering change in communities here, near and far.

Land O'Lakes, Inc. is committed to improving food security at home and across the globe, helping farmers grow more food in increasingly sustainable and productive ways. Through growing commercial businesses, Land O'Lakes, Inc. helps feed people, crops and animals. The company fights hunger, supports education and strengthens communities in the U.S. through the Land O'Lakes, Inc. Foundation in surrounding areas where employees and members live and work. In 2014, the foundation gave $5.3 million through financial and product donations to a variety of nonprofit organizations, educational institutions and community initiatives. Since 1981, Land O'Lakes International Development has been assisting farmers in developing countries improve the quality and quantity of what they produce and linking them to functioning markets. Through this work, International Development staff has implemented 280 programs in 80 countries, engaging in agricultural and enterprise partnerships that replace poverty with prosperity and dependency with self-reliance.

Learn more about the Global Food Challenge and join the conversation at http://foodchallenge.landolakesinc.com.