BOONE, Iowa — Consumers are looking to farmers to use practices that leave a better world, and Bayer CropScience is responding to support growers by providing the innovative tools and resources to make it happen.
At the 2014 Farm Progress Show this week in Boone, Iowa, the company showcased a road map to maintain healthy, plentiful crops produced in a manner that protects resources and helps drive profit for growers.
Jim Blome, president and CEO of Bayer CropScience LP and head of Crop Protection for Bayer North America, offered details during a meeting with the media at the show.
“Leaving a better world is everyone’s responsibility. We’re working to lead engagement of growers and the vast array of people who work every day to support sustainable agriculture so that each understands their responsibility,” Blome said. “Bayer CropScience works every day in our research facilities and in the field with our customers to develop and practice innovative, sustainable approaches to crop production that will leave a better world.”
Sustainable food production is important to consumers around the world, and their interest in all aspects of the food supply continues to grow.
To gain a current perspective on U.S. consumers’ attitudes towards food production and the agriculture industry, the company commissioned a late-July omnibus survey of more than 1,000 people. Blome previewed some of the key findings Tuesday.
Consumers agreed that best practices for a better world include farming techniques that improve the environment, protect wildlife and keep the American food supply consistent and affordable.
“It’s humbling that consumers entrust the agriculture industry with an important role in preserving our natural resources for the next generation,” Blome said. “Agriculture must continue existing sustainable farming practices—and adopt even more ways—to preserve the land.”
Generally, U.S. consumers support the use of technology in crop production. Approximately 70 percent of respondents rated the use of technology to help farmers be more efficient and to produce more food to feed a growing population as “positive” or “very positive.” Their perceptions about the use of genetically modified organisms were an exception, with 42 percent responding negatively; however, they support the benefits the technology provides.
“We believe technology is critical to our farmers’ successes,” Blome said. “They need innovation and new tools to grow more food from the same acreage as today, as well as ensure the land is healthy for the future. The crop protection industry must be allowed to continue innovating, which will require a science-based regulatory system.”
Bayer innovation supports sustainable production
Bayer CropScience plans to introduce as many as 30 products by 2022. New products highlighted at Farm Progress Show include:
- Credenz, the company’s first global soybean seed featuring smart genetics.
- DiFlexx herbicide, which provides broadleaf weed control, application flexibility and crop safety in field corn, corn grown for silage, white corn and popcorn. The product is pending registration.
- ILeVO, the first seed treatment able to protect soybean seedlings from sudden death syndrome (SDS). This product is also pending registration.
- Fluency Agent, a new seed lubricant that reduces dust when planting treated corn and soybean seeds, helping minimize potential risk of exposure to foraging honeybees and other pollinators. During large-scale U.S. field trials this year, growers said Fluency Agent produced noticeably less dust and a lower use rate.
Consumers express trust in farmers
Additional results from the Bayer omnibus survey showed the following:
- More than 50 percent of consumers indicated they’re most interested in speaking directly with farmers as a trusted source about food production.
- Consumers think positively about corn and soybean farmers’ work to protect natural resources.
- More than half of respondents indicated they would be “likely” or “somewhat likely” to encourage a friend or family member to pursue a career in the agricultural food production industry.
“Consumers’ positive attitudes about farmers and farming speak well to the future of our industry,” Blome said. “We encourage growers to continue the dialogue with consumers and build relationships that address their concerns and challenges, working together to help leave a better world.”