Reevaluation of Labor Resiliency for the Food Supply Chain: Lessons Learned and Future Implications from COVID-19 Pandemic

Watch a video of our virtual panel discussion.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 pm (CT)

You are invited to attend a dynamic virtual panel discussion organized by the Food and Agriculture Collaboratory for Transforming Supply (FACTS) group at Mississippi State University on May 18, 2022 (Wednesday) from 1:00-3:00 pm CST. The theme for the event is “Reevaluation of Labor Resiliency for the Food Supply Chain: Lessons Learned and Future Implications from COVID-19 Pandemic.” We are hosting a panel of four leading experts representing industry, law firms, and the USDA.


1:00 – 1:15 pm: Welcoming and Speaker Introduction

1:15 – 1:45 pm: Initial Disruption and Mitigation of the Labor Workforce at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak 

1:46 – 2:15 pm: Technologies/Policies Adopted to Protect the Labor Workforce during the COVID-19 outbreak

2:16 – 2:45 pm: Lessons Learned and Long-term Solutions and Preparations to Protect/Prepare the Labor Workforce

2:46 – 3:00 pm: Discussion and Adjourn


Honorable Speakers:

  • Dr. Ganesh Bora: National Program Leader of Precision Agriculture and Advanced Technology at National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Larry Stine: Senior Principal in the Labor and Employment Law Firm of Wimberly, Lawson, Steckel, Schneider & Stine, PC in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Nick Geale: Vice President for Workforce Policy, American Trucking Associations (ATA)
  • Dr. Nathan Oakley: Deputy Director for K-12 and Innovation at Accelerate Mississippi

Who Should Attend: Stakeholders in the food supply chain. Academicians in the areas of Industrial & Systems Engineering, Computer Science, Food Science, Livestock & Dairy, Poultry, Commodity Crop and Produce, Agricultural Economics, Economics, and Business and Government officials. 

Free Registration

(This event is sponsored by the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU))

We look forward to seeing you at the virtual panel discussion. We would appreciate if you could share this event information with your interested colleagues and students. Thank you for your time and participation.

Conference Organizing Committee:

  • Wes Schilling, Professor, Department of Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion at Mississippi State University
  • Kalyn Coatney, Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics at Mississippi State University
  • Thu Dinh, Associate Professor, Department of Animal & Dairy Sciences at Mississippi State University
  • Christopher Boone, Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing, Quantitative Analysis, and Business Law at Mississippi State University
  • Mohammad Marufuzzaman, Associate Professor, Industrial & Systems Engineering Department at Mississippi State University

Speaker Biographies

Dr. Ganesh Bora

Dr. Ganesh Bora is a National Program Leader of Precision Agriculture and Advanced Technology at National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Dr. Bora provides leadership at ‘Farm of the Future’, ‘National Robotic Initiative (NRI), ‘Regional Innovation and Climate Smart Agriculture’, ‘Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) Institutes’, Inter-Disciplinary Engagement in Animal Systems’ and ‘Data Science for Food and Agricultural Systems’. He represents USDA at the ‘Networking and Information Technology Research and Development’ of National Science and Technology Council of The White House. He is NIFA representative for four multistate projects including ‘Delta Region Farm Management and Agricultural Policy Working Group’.
He is an active member of American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and presently serves as the Chair of the Executive Committee on Global Engagement. Ganesh also serves as a U.S. expert on ‘Smart Farming” and “Agricultural Machinery” in International Standard Organization (ISO).

Mr. Larry Stine

Larry Stine is a Senior Principal in the labor and employment law firm of Wimberly, Lawson, Steckel, Schneider & Stine, PC in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a former regional counsel to the U.S. Department of Labor. He specializes in OSHA, employment discrimination issues, OFCCP, and wage and hour matters. Providing clients with the information and guidance they need to avoid controversies is Larry’s first line of defense. Larry is co-author of two nationally recognized books, one on Wage & Hour law and the other on OSHA law.

Mr. Nick Geale

Nick Geale currently serves as ATA’s Vice President for Workforce Policy. Prior to joining ATA, he served as a Senior Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation and Chief of Staff, Deputy and Acting Solicitor at the U.S. Department of Labor.
Before being appointed to US DOL, Mr. Geale was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a member of the National Mediation Board, overseeing labor issues in the railroad and airline industries, and served as Chairman of the Board for part of his term.  Immediately prior to joining the National Mediation Board, Mr. Geale was an attorney on the U.S. Senate HELP Committee for Ranking Members Lamar Alexander and Michael B. Enzi. Mr. Geale also served at the U.S. Department of Labor from 2006-2009, as an attorney in the Office of the Solicitor and as Counselor to the Deputy Secretary of Labor.
Prior to federal service, Mr. Geale had six years of experience in labor and employment matters, general commercial litigation and alternative dispute resolution in private and public practice, including serving as Assistant General Counsel for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
Mr. Geale graduated from Georgetown Law in 1999 and Claremont McKenna College in 1996.

Dr. Nathan Oakley

Dr. Nathan Oakley serves as the Deputy Director for K-12 and Innovation at Accelerate Mississippi, the state's lead office for workforce strategy and implementation. He previously served for 10 years in various roles at the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE), including as the Chief Academic Officer, where he guided multiple academic and career-technical program offices. While at the MDE, he supported in the transition to Mississippi's college- and career-readiness standards and the implementation of key legislative initiatives during a period of record academic achievement by Mississippi students. In addition to working as a school and district administrator, Dr. Oakley began his career as a band director.
A native of Starkville, Mississippi, he holds a Bachelor of Education degree from Mississippi State University (MSU), a Master of Education degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, an Educational Specialist degree from MSU, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree also from MSU. He and his family live on a farm outside of Jackson.

Mississippi State University is an equal opportunity institution. For disability accommodation, please contact Dr. Mohammad Marufuzzaman at 662-325-7216.

This meeting is funded by Oak Ridge Associated Universities.