Director, U.S. Agronomy, Anheuser Busch InBev
Having grown up in a family of gardeners it was only natural that Jess Newman would develop a love for the environment. And it wasn’t long before it became her mission to protect it. Jess realized that to achieve the change she wanted, she had to work with the “movers and shakers” in the private sector. So when a position in raw materials procurement at Anheuser-Busch opened up, she knew she had found a perfect fit.
As Director of U.S. Agronomy at Anheuser-Busch, Jess leads a team of over a dozen crop scientists who provide agronomic and sustainability guidance to the company’s primary suppliers, farmers. Her work supports AB InBev’s Smart agriculture target to get 100% of its direct farmers to be skilled, connected and financially empowered. And it’s up to Jess and her team to determine what that means.
Jess improves the sustainability of the brewery’s global supply chain. Think about the main ingredients that go into making a can of beer: barley, hops and rice. Getting these crops from seeds to harvest-ready plants requires land, healthy soil, water, irrigation systems, and so much more. Jess helps farmers reduce the environmental footprint of this process by integrating emerging technologies into the farmer’s activities, like moisture sensors and precision irrigation and seeding, and advising them on sustainable practices.
Success requires Jess to position herself not just as an agronomic expert to the farmers, but as a trusted advisor. It’s a careful balancing act of ensuring the process is done sustainably, while bringing financial value to the farmer.
Jess was a Forbes 2018 Energy 30 Under 30 and is a mentor for EDF Climate Corps. Jess is a graduate of Harvard University.