Bayer’s Inspiration: Agvocate for Ag

Ag Agvocacy: One Small Pebble Can Cause a Ripple Effect of Change

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor

 

At the March 2016 AgVocacy Forum in New Orleans, Rob Schrick, strategic business management lead – horticulture at Bayer CropScience, noted we should n3B Brae's Brown Bagsever give up trying to AgVocate on behalf of the agricultural industry. “It goes back to the pebble and the ripple, which is what Braedon Mannering, founder of Brae’s Brown Bags talked about; you know, little things can matter,” Schrick said.

Braeden Quinn Mannering is an amazing 12-year-old from Bear, Delaware, who founded the nonprofit, 3B Brae’s Brown Bags (3B), to provide healthy food and other items to homeless and low-income people in his community. Mannering’s ongoing mission is not only to feed people today, but also to raise awareness about the problems of food insecurity and poverty and to empower and inspire youth across the nation to become part of the solution

AgVocacy and Credibility

“The event was the fourth year running of what was the Ag Issues Forum,” Schrick said. “It is a forum that we put on just in front of Commodity Classic because Ag media is there, market influencers are there. So how can we get them together to talk about the issues relating to agriculture? That was a great theme four years ago, but now as the millennial generation is coming onboard [amidst] so much misinformation about production agriculture, we have re-coined this the AgVocacy Forum. What that comes down to is how do we tell our story about agriculture?”

AgVocacy Forum logo“One of the most interesting things we saw at the meeting,” Schrick noted, “was that we are influenced by people all around us, doctors, lawyers, and our pastors. However in agriculture, the number one influencer is the grower. That really resonated with me and it is true; he is the most credible source, he is the one who produces that food, and he has to make that land he is working on sustainable. He has to make that production come, year after year, after year, and in most cases, he wants to turn that over to the next generation of farmers.

Schrick expanded on the grower, “I think because they are at the point-source, their livelihood depends on it, and they have to get more out of that land and make it more fertile each following year, who is better stewarding that land? And because of that, who is the most credible source?” he asked. “You know, I would love for [the credible source] to be a company—like Bayer; we are very proud of ourselves. Or you could talk to a consumer, [but the story] is going to have a bent to it. But when a grower is talking about production agriculture, that is pretty credible,” he said. 

Food Chain Partnership

“At Bayer, our customer is the grower,” Schrick commented, “and we have to meet the needs of that grower. Well that grower is producing a crop and he has a customer, which is the food chain. These retailers, these food processing companies that are buying his product, are putting requirements on that grower. We have a food chain position on our team and a Food Chain Partnership coalition within our company, whose number one job is to understand what these food processors will require the grower. We understand that; we can help the grower meet those challenges; that is what our food chain partnership is all about.

Anticipating Future Agricultural Needs

Bayer CropScience's West Sacramento facility
Bayer CropScience’s West Sacramento facility (Source: Bayer CropScience)

“We have just recently expanded the greenhouse facilities at our integrated West Sacramento Biologics and Vegetables Seeds site. Bayer is an innovation company; our job is to look into the future and ask, ‘What will be the needs of growers ten years from now?’ Part of that is going to be a reduction in residues, and one of the ways to meet that need is through biologics. That is where we are making our investment. In 2012, we purchased AgraQuest, one of several biologics investments we made, not necessarily for the portfolio they had—which was a wonderful portfoliobut for that scientific know-how and the discovery engine that we have created for biologics.”

“We have got to come up with the next generation of crop protection products that can meet lower residue requirements. And as Bayer is Science for a Better Life, we are going to inject science into this and come up with a new portfolio of crop protection products that will meet the needs of the new generation.”

It all goes back to the pebble and the ripple effect.

Bayer CropScience Horticulture Symposium Builds Relationships

Bayer CropScience Horticulture Symposium Builds Global Relationships for Collaborative Problem-Solving

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor

 

Nearly 200 professionals in the horticultural industry from across the food chain and the value chain, and from Europe and North, Central and South America, gathered this week at the Bayer CropScience Horticulture Symposium in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Attendees were treated to an inspirational mix of lectures, panel discussions, as well as an interactive poster session, all incorporating forward-thinking sustainable practices into contemporary agriculture. Among the crops discussed were tomatoes, citrus, grapes, potatoes, bananas.

Rob Schrick, strategic management lead, Bayer CropScience Horticulture, based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, said the event was the company’s second in a series of horticulture symposiums focused on international collaboration and problem-solving. “This is about bringing the best and brightest from across our industry,” said Schrick, “from influencers and universities to industry members like ourselves and the media. It’s about getting these creative minds together and discussing solutions. The solutions may not come from the symposium itself, but the connections that are made—you don’t know what will yield from those relationships.”

Jim Chambers, director of marketing, Bayer CropScience Food Production, said the Horticulture Symposium was all about sharing information on best management practices. “Bayer is a leader in the crop protection business within the horticultural space around the world, and this is a real opportunity to bring all of us within horticulture across the food chain and the value chain to talk, from the grower, to the processor, and to the consumer. It is a wonderful opportunity to work together to solve some very difficult challenges.”

“And, vivid to all attendees, was that members of the fruit and vegetable industry throughout the Americas have similar challenges to overcome,” noted Chambers. “It was very interesting; the issues that we talk and hear about in the specialty crop states such as California, Florida and Texas, are very much the same issues that people, for example in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, or Central America, are facing. These issues do not go across just states or counties; they reach across the globe in solving these problems,” Chambers said.

Among the speakers were growers, commodity specialists from the industry and academia, and experts on sustainability practices, professionals on Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs), Bayer CropScience specialists and major agricultural association leaders such as Tom Nassif, ceo, Western Growers Association (WGA) and Dana Merrill, president, Mesa Vineyard Management Inc.

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Bayer CropScience, the subgroup of Bayer AG responsible for the agricultural business, is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of seeds, crop protection and non-agricultural pest control. The company offers an outstanding range of products including high value seeds, innovative crop protection solutions based on chemical and biological modes of action as well as an extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture. 

(Photo features Rob Schrick, Bayer CropScience – Horticulture strategic management lead)

Bayer CropScience Will Honor a Leader in the Produce Industry

Bayer CropScience Produce Innovation Award Goes to Grower with A Great Idea

 

Bayer CropScience will honor a leader in the produce industry whose thinking, practices and use of technology enhance the role of produce in creating better lives. The Bayer CropScience Produce Innovation Award will recognize a grower whose innovative efforts improve yield and quality of a produce crop; increase accessibility of produce to a broader group of people; or increase demand for produce by expanding awareness and appreciation for the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, including tree nuts and potatoes.Bayer CropScience Produce Innovation Award

“Bayer CropScience is proud to honor a grower with this award demonstrating the power of ‘Science For A Better Life,’” said Rob Schrick, horticulture lead, Bayer CropScience. “‘Science For A Better Life’ is our mission at Bayer, and we’re excited to spotlight an innovator that deploys methods in the field, across their operations or within the supply chain to enhance the positive contribution of produce on individual lives and society overall.”

“There currently is a great deal of discussion surrounding the nation’s health, and there are many challenges regarding nutrition and produce availability among economically and culturally diverse communities. One thing is for certain: fruits and vegetables, including potatoes and tree nuts, provide crucial nutrients to positively impact health and enhance lives.”

Bayer announced the new award program during the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Convention and Expo in Anaheim, California. Entries will be accepted now through January 5, and the winner will be announced during Bayer’s 10th annual Ag Issues Forum, being held February 24 – 25, 2015, in Phoenix, Arizona.

The award is open to any grower who receives a significant portion of income from the production of a crop within the citrus, grape, pome fruit/stone fruit, tree nut, vegetable or potato industry. The winner will receive an all-expense paid trip to the 2015 Ag Issues Forum in Phoenix, a $10,000 grant to advance their award-winning innovation or to support a project in their local community that also increases the positive contributions of produce in people’s lives, a $2,000 gift card to the Apple Store to further efforts in business technology, and recognition as a produce innovator.

“We are looking for individuals and operations who aren’t afraid to try new things and who embrace technology to advance the industry and enhance the positive contributions of produce,” Schrick said.

Bayer CropScience aims to leave a better world, harnessing cutting-edge agricultural innovations to deliver on Bayer’s mission: Science For A Better Life. Bayer’s Horticulture group offers customized, integrated crop solutions based on high-quality vegetable seeds, effective chemical and biological crop protection, and complementary services.

Visit www.bayercropscience.us/ProduceInnovationAward for more information or to submit an application. See official rules for more details.