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Steve Sonka

ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss

Steven T. Sonka is Director of the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss at the University of Illinois and emeritus professor of agricultural management. At the University of  Illinois, he was the first faculty member to hold the Soybean Industry Chair in Agricultural Strategy. His administrative responsibilities there included serving as the Vice Chancellor for Public Engagement and being the first Director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory, a multidisciplinary institution focused on furthering the effectiveness of soybean research.  

He joined the University of Illinois faculty in 1975. He also has held assignments with the Monsanto Corporation; New Zealand’s AGMARDT Foundation; Arthur Andersen & Co.; the Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; the Institute of Agribusiness, Santa Clara University; and the Illinois State Water Survey. In 1982, he cofounded the Centrec Consulting Group, LLC, in Savoy, Illinois, and was a partner there for more than 20 years. From a Midwest farm family, Dr. Sonka received a Bachelor's degree (1970, with distinction) and a Ph.D. degree (1974) in economics from Iowa State University. 

Dr. Sonka's teaching and research emphasize strategic change and decision making in the food and agribusiness sector. He has been the instructor to more than 2,200 undergraduates, MS, MBA and doctoral students in more than 15 different courses. He has served on numerous state, national, and international commissions, including being Chair of the National Research Council’s committee on precision agriculture. As Director of NSRL, he averaged more than 60 public presentations each year on strategic challenges and opportunities for agriculture at venues that extend from Dalton City, Illinois, to Delhi, India. 

Listed in Who’s Who in America, he has authored or coauthored over 220 books, articles and publications.  In 1983, he authored Computers in Farming, the first text devoted to computer use in the sector. An internationally known scholar, he’s been recognized for distinguished teaching by the American Agricultural Economics Association in 1996 and by the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture in 1992. Twice publications he co-authored received "Awards for Professional Excellence" in research from the American Agricultural Economics Association. In 1991 he was selected to receive the Paul A. Funk Award, his College's highest faculty honor.

A respected researcher, Dr. Sonka is well known for his unusual ability to relate that scholarship to practical issues of importance to decision makers. In addition to private sector clientele, he has served as consultant to special projects of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, to special task forces of the U.S. Senate, and to the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress. His international experiences include consulting and lecturing in on every continent except Antarctica. 


My Speakers Sessions

Friday, October 19

9:00am CDT