Jeff Simmons

Ag Leader Uses His Communication Skills to Promote Solutions for Food Security

May 8, 2013–The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) announces that the prestigious 2013 Borlaug CAST Communication Award goes to Jeff Simmons, the President of Elanco. Nominees must demonstrate an ability to communicate by written material; public presentations; and/or the use of television, radio, or other social media. Simmons was nominated by colleagues from several industry and nonprofit organizations. They recognize his significant contributions, including his passion for finding solutions for world hunger. Simmons is praised for his understanding of scientific data, his enthusiasm for agricultural innovations, and his support for the organizations and companies working on food security in a hungry world.

Knowledge and energy alone would not necessarily make Simmons a successful leader on the global stage; however, he is also able to transfer his personal passion into communicating effectively to a variety of audiences. As one colleague noted, “Simmons has that special ability to put the multiple complex issues involved in confronting hunger and the critical role of science in that process in terms that are not only understandable but inspiring.”

Established in 1986 by CAST, the annual award goes to a specialist who communicates the importance of food and agricultural science to the public, policymakers, and the news media. Simmons’ noted ability to communicate credible scientific information has made him a respected expert in his field and a popular speaker at agriculture and science events.

Simmons began developing his passion for food security as an ag student and FFA member in New York where he gathered experience and awards at an early age. After studying marketing and agricultural economics at Cornell, he joined Elanco, and his abilities led to leadership roles for the company in Brazil and Europe.  During the ensuing years, he has built a reputation for his writing, speaking, and organizing expertise. His international experience gave him broad perspectives on food and agriculture, and he has published two white papers on the problems of global hunger. Simmons supports many groups ranging from Gleaners Food Bank to Heifer International, and he has traveled worldwide in an effort to make food security a reality for all.

One nominator sums up Simmons’ impact this way: “Jeff’s affable personality and warmth balance his dynamic energy, intellectualism, and excitement when talking about our food future, so the message is readily received. Jeff can distill data and present it so that it is easily understandable, garnering confidence and trust in the premise conveyed.”

Diverse audiences benefit from Simmons’ insights because he has a clear message and an ability to bring statistics and research into focus. He addresses groups that include senior business executives, government officials, research scientists, and 4-H or FFA members. Simmons gets his point across whether he is working face-to-face, on YouTube, or through Twitter (@JeffSimmons2050). In the modern world of agriculture, he is an inspiring communicator and a worthy recipient of the 2013 Borlaug CAST Communication Award.

An award presentation occurred at a breakfast co-hosted by DuPont and CAST as a side event at the World Food Prize Symposium on October 16, 2013, in Des Moines, Iowa. Simmons is laying down a challenge in his reception speech: “Food security is solvable. Unlike many of our world’s challenges, there are clear solutions. There is a window of opportunity to meet the challenge. We have enough time if we act now.”  For more information on Simmons’ challenge, visit

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