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April 2014

Farming into the future

STEWARDS OF THE LAND

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Improving nearby wildlife and aquatic habitats is just one great thing that farmer Jeremy Jack and his sister Stacie Koger do 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days of the year. The siblings run their 3400 hectare family farm in the U.S. Mississippi Delta with one major objective that they keep in mind. While their crop diversification has helped maximize profitability and manage risk, they also share a deeply-felt responsibility to protect the land they farm. Supporting farmers like them is why Bayer places such a high priority on stewardship initiatives when it comes to seed treatment – from operator safety recommendations to efficient waste management.

What does a farmer in Arkansas have in common with a farmer in Brazil or in the hinterland of China? They may of course grow crops that are important to meet the growing demand for food worldwide. But they also have a vested interest in protecting their land to preserve something for the next generation. That’s why stewardship measures are a great support for them. From global seed treatment training to innovative scientific research on the health of the world’s bees, Bayer is working to make modern agriculture more sustainable. “Stewardship is an integral part of what we do and is meant to complement the products we offer,” says Peter Ohs, Senior Global Stewardship Manager.

Selling not only a product but a concept

A lot of what Peter Ohs and his colleagues do involves educating Bayer customers on how best to apply the company’s products. Increased safety of seed treatment products for the environment and for the user and sustainable agriculture are the two pillars of Bayer’s stewardship initiatives. “It is all about effectively combining economic success and environmental and social responsibility,” Ohs points out. Just like Jeremy Jack and his sister Stacie Koger do.

Keep sustainable farming in mind

But stewardship is as much about innovation as it is about conservation. Which is why Bayer CropScience each year sponsors an award in the United States for young American farmers who demonstrate excellence in business and environmental sustainability. In 2013, the Young Farmer Sustainability Award was given to Jeremy Jack, who has turned the family farm into a model of modern agriculture. With his sister Stacie he currently farms 340 hectares with reclaimed water and reduced irrigation runoff. The goal is to develop a fully closed system to limit groundwater use. “I want Silent Shade Planting Company to be the most advanced, most efficient, most sustainable farm around,” Jack says with the future in mind. Bayer’s Young Farmer Sustainability Award is also a reward and an incentive for him.
The Four Elements of Bayer SeedGrowth’s Stewardship Initiative:

  1. Quality standard for a high level of application quality at seed treatment plants.
  2. Recommendations on recipes, best management practices and tested modifications for sowing machines (e.g. deflectors) as required by authorities (for implementation by seed treaters and farmers)
  3. Close follow-up and continued monitoring of treatment quality and implementation of Best Management Practices in the field.
  4. Information and training of our customers on Best Management Practices incl. certification support (for seed treaters) and on good sowing practices (for farmers):
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