Grower engagement on both the people and services level is important for BASF Crop Protection to ensure they are doing all they can to help farmers grow smarter, market smarter and live smarter.
During one of the breakout sessions at the BASF Global Press conference in Germany this week, we heard from (left to right) Hannes Lutz – vice president of business development; Kaleb Hellwig – U.S. innovation specialist; and Elmar Groiss – global head of information technology.
Hannes explained that they have found four main fundamentals that farmers have in common. “First, farmers feel they are in a competition … with their neighbors and on the world market,” he said. “Second, they are part of a community. They want to be connected with their neighbors, other farmers, and experts.” They also believe they are food providers and stewards of the land. Interview with Hannes Lutz, BASF Crop Protection VP of business development
Among the ways BASF is engaging with growers is through a new position called the Innovation Specialist, which Kaleb says is the best job he has ever had in 17 years with BASF. “I travel every day, meet customers, help identify some of the challenges and problems they have, and then put plans together to help them solve that,” said Kaleb, who is based on the western side of Missouri. Interview with Kaleb Hellwig, BASF Innovation Specialist
When it comes to services, BASF has a couple of new technological developments in the works, according to Elmar. One is DigiLab, which offers a microscope quality digital camera combined with a tablet application that helps identify plant diseases. “Farmers in the field can take a high quality picture of the disease, have an on-tablet comparison with a library, but they can also send it back to BASF experts to get detailed analysis,” he said. DigiLab is now being used in Brazil and is expected to be available in the United States soon. Interview with Elmar Groiss, BASF Global Head of Information Technology