Bayer Helps Youth “Agvocate” For Farmers

Farming Operations Represent 21 Million Jobs

By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate Editor

Less than two percent of the United States population is working in agriculture. This may not sound like much, but let’s break it down. Two percent of the population means roughly 21 million jobs, 10 percent of the total workforce, and more than 160,000 farms. The greatest credibility for this huge industry goes to the farmers who work 365 days a year to feed the world. But who is advocating for them while they’re out in the field? That’s where Rob Schrick and Bayer Crop Science comes in.

Schrick, the Strategic Business Director for Bayer, knows the importance of promoting the industry and making consumers more aware of where their food comes from.

Rob Schrick, Bayer CropScience“What we’re trying to get across is that everyone in agriculture needs to lean into the conversation about ag, and be a proud ‘Agvocate’ for our industry,” he said.

Explaining the importance of farming, using both science and an emotional connection is key to getting this incredibly important concept across.

One way Bayer is striving to accomplish this goal is by working with youth involved in 4-H.

“We’re trying to get the kids even more excited about STEM,” Schrick explained.

STEM is a program that combines Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to give the kids hands-on education and inquiry-based science learning, which they can relate to agriculture and share with their community.

It is said that today’s youth are tomorrows leaders, and Bayer is helping the future leaders found in 4-H represent the farmers that work so hard to provide the world with a safe, affordable food supply.

Bayer’s “Grow On” Tool Pinpoints Sustainable Farming

Program Segmented for Different Crops

By Joanne Lui, Associate Editor

Nevada Smith of Sacramento is a marketing manager for Bayer Crop Science’s Western Region. California Ag Today recently spoke with him about Grow On, a tool that farmers can use to identify, apply, and communicate sustainable farm practices.

“It’s a tool to help growers really think about how they approach the marketplace and how they communicate the message around sustainability. We think it’s a critical aspect for not only … their success but our success,” Smith explained. “But there’s many things they’re not really identifying that they do every day from a common standpoint that they need to promote themselves. What we’ve really done in the next step which we felt was missing was really going after each crop segment. In the Grow On campaign, we have a citrus segment, a tree nut segment, a grape segment, and several other ones. “

Segmenting the program can help target specific aspects of each type of crop.

“You can really understand what aspects might provide you from a labor point of view that really affects grapes and … performance,” Smith said. “If I’m a citrus guy, what am I doing about bees? These are different components, so you don’t really overlap. We’re really trying to ground into each crop.”

The idea behind Grow On is to give farmers the tools to be advocates for farming and sustainable agriculture.

“Bayer’s producing this before the marketplaces, which I really don’t understand, and let them be their own conduits,” Smith said. “We’ve talked about advocacy. We’ve talked about what growers are doing each day to solve their own problems to keep themselves sustainable, but now’s an opportunity to take these little aspects in six different buckets here and really understand how they can talk the story themselves.”

“We look at the big picture, and what we’re trying to do is provide solutions to what Bayer’s providing. They’ll begin to see other things that their doing themselves. They can organize themselves in thought and provide those tools to whoever’s buying their commodity and crop and also to that persons who’s asking them why do you farm? How are you helping the environment through your practices? This is the platform for them to do that.”

For more information about Grow On, visit cropscience.bayer.us.

Support Agriculture By Being An ‘AgVocate’

Bayer CropScience Says Farmers Need to AgVocate with Consumers

By Brian German, Associate Broadcaster

The California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA) recently held their 42nd Annual CAPCA Conference & Agri-Expo in Anaheim.  It was a sellout crowd at the Disneyland Convention Center, with about 1,600 registered participants and more than 160 different trade show vendors participating.  The theme of this year’s conference was “Feeding a Nation, Fighting the Fear,” with speakers covering a variety of topics related to public interest in agriculture. 

David Hollinrake, vice president of Agricultural Commercial Operations (ACO) Marketing with Bayer CropScience, talked about a program that Bayer CropScience sponsors called AgVocate.   “AgVocacy really is about engaging the farmer population so that they can represent modern agriculture to the consumer population that has a growing disconnect from what we do,” Hollinrake said. 

vice president of Agricultural Commercial Operations (ACO) Marketing with Bayer CropScience, AgVocacy
David Hollinrake, vice president of Agricultural Commercial Operations (ACO) Marketing with Bayer CropScience

There has been a growing disconnect between those who are involved with agriculture and the overall consumer base.  “With misinformation sometimes comes misconceptions and mistrust,” Hollinrake noted. 

One of the reasons for the divide between growers and consumers is that the number of people involved in agriculture has declined significantly over the past 50 years.  “When my grandfather grew up on the farm, some 40 percent of people were involved in production agriculture. Today, there’s only 1 percent of the population involved in agriculture,” Hollinrake said.

It’s important to bridge that gap by giving consumers a better understanding of what agriculture is really about.  “Our role with AgVocacy is to enable the farmers to take an active role in describing the benefits of modern Ag and really dispelling a lot of the myths that exist in agriculture,” Hollinrake said.

Bayer-Cropscience-agvocate-amplify-your-voice-hero“One of the other topics that we spoke about was the difference between conventional agriculture and organic agriculture,” Hollinrake noted.  The growth in organic farms has created an atmosphere of misunderstanding; with consumers erroneously believing that traditionally grown produce is somehow less safe.  Without being involved in agriculture, it’s understandable for people to have misconceptions about how the industry works.  However, these types of beliefs solidify the need for the AgVocate program.

Hollinrake thinks meeting the dietary needs of a growing population will require both organic and traditional farming. “If we’re going to feed 10 billion people by 2050, it’s going to take all forms of agriculture. To me, it’s not an ‘either/or’ – it’s a ‘yes/and’ conversation,” Hollinrake said.