Nearly ten years ago, there was an opportunity to widen the distribution market for Nutrena®, Cargill's branded animal feed. To fill this gap, Cargill partnered with the Center for Business Promotion Entrepreneurship (OPiWPR) and developed Nutrena College, an interactive learning center and training program for rural farmers in Poland. Today, the program has expanded to 101 college trainings, boosting rural families' incomes and the communities they live in, and has tacked on two additional training programs, too.

"Since its start in 2007, Nutrena College has made huge strides in educating Polish farmers in various ways," said Zanet Mikos, brand manager for Cargill's animal feed business in Poland. "It's a great example of Cargill's continuous commitment to rural development, in Poland especially."


Rural farmers gain many crucial competencies and skills needed to run small feed distribution businesses while also supplementing their farming incomes through Nutrena College, a program in which Cargill has invested $700,000 since its inception.


The curriculum


Nutrena College's "student body" is made up of small agricultural business owners – those who have ten employees at most or are self-employed – as well as farmers, technicians, veterinarians and professionals of the Polish Dairy Federation. Students can enroll through the Nutrena College website, or contact Cargill employees directly in the field to learn more.


The curriculum is made up of training modules that include business skills like employee motivation, effective management and sales skills, as well as technical courses like calf rearing, nutrition for dairy cows, milk quality, pork reproduction and piglet raising. And they're all taught by employees in Cargill's animal nutrition business.


"We're trying to respond to changes in the market and our clients' needs by supplying knowledge to our clients that will actually bring value to their business, and we'd love to offer more trainings," said Phil Graham, group director for Cargill's animal feed business in Europe.


The growth With the growth of Nutrena College, Cargill tacked on another training program in 2013 called Provimi College, which, like Nutrena College, supplied farmers with the tools they needed to run small agricultural businesses.


"After seeing the success of Nutrena College and Provimi College, we recognized the need to help producers or customers who are extremely business-savvy but would like to grow their technical knowledge," said Wieslaw Ilkow, business to business sales leader.


Thus, Cargill College was created to help business-to-business farmers improve their profitability with new technologies, better nutrition, management and efficiency.


"The creation of all three training programs allows us to reach all farmers, ranging from small-business owners to huge breeding businesses," said Bogdan Kajkowski, business to consumer sales leader. "We provide these farmers with a training package that matches their level of knowledge and expectations."


Over the past two years, all three programs have amassed 6,142 trainees, with 170 training sessions offered throughout the five biggest regions in Poland – 110 in Nutrena College, 52 in Provimi College and 17 in Cargill College.


"The pork industry is evolving very fast, so we must follow it," said Jaroslaw Madry, pork marketing manager. "We try to react to what is happening in the market to better serve our clients and advise them on how they can boost their success."

The investment


The Nutrena College program is just one example of Cargill's ongoing investment in emerging markets and global support. Here's how it's helped customers:


• Training farmers on best practices in crop and animal agriculture,

• Providing loans and credit assistance,

• Discussing fair and transparent pricing policies, and

• Increasing access to markets.


Cargill's involvement in these activities not only boosts rural families' incomes and living standards, but it also helps to improve the quality of local agriculture, and develops infrastructure and operating facilities that strengthen the local economic base.


"These programs have allowed us to demonstrate to our customers and our communities what it truly means to be customer focused," said Blaine Blackburn, managing director for Cargill's animal nutrition business in Poland. "These programs are designed to make our customer more profitable and build a deeper loyalty to the Cargill brands. Our customers are the reason we are in business and helping them succeed in their businesses helps us succeed in ours."


The Nutrena College, Provimi College, and Cargill College programs have allowed the company to build deeper connections with its stakeholders and engage its customers. It's helping to accomplish Cargill Animal Nutrition's vision of better nutrition for better lives one module at a time.

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