Queen Bee of Germany Bayer Bee Care Center

bayer-bee-annetteWe already met the queen bee of the new Bayer CropScience North American Bee Care Center, now meet her counterpart at the first Bayer Bee Care Center in Monheim, Germany – Annette Schürmann.

The German center opened at the global headquarters for Bayer CropScience in 2012. “We built it upon the research work that had been over the last 30 years at that site,” said Annette, adding that they get visitors ranging from school children to diplomats.

She says that beekeeping is different in Europe compared to the United States. “The most important difference we have is that in Europe we mainly have hobbyists doing beekeeping,” Annette said. “They don’t make any money out of pollination.” That compares with the large scale beekeepers in the U.S. who will travel to pollinate crops across the country from almonds in California to oranges in Florida.

Still, Europe faces some of the same issues. “The varroa mite was introduced to Europe much earlier than to the U.S.,” said Annette. “So we do have a longer history in dealing with that pest.”

Listen to my interview with Annette here: Interview with Annette Schürmann, Monheim Bayer Bee Care Center

Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center Grand Opening Photo Album

Queen Bee of Bayer Bee Care Center

bayer-bee-14-beckyDr. Becky Langer is the manager and queen bee of the Bayer CropScience North American Bee Care Center that just opened last week in North Carolina.

“It’s a dream to be able to share it with everyone,” said Becky on the big day last Tuesday. She explains that the center will serve as both a research and educational facility. “We’ll bring different groups in here and they’re able to get hands-on experience with the displays,” she said, noting they are able to adapt the information level to groups from school children to scientists in order to really “open the dialogue and the education among everyone who is interested in the honey bee.”

“I think people are really thirsty for knowledge and education of bees,” she said. “They’re critical to us, whether it’s your own backyard and little garden, whether it’s a farmer or a broad acre grower that has a lot of crops that need to be pollinated … they’re of interest to everyone,” Becky says. Interview with Dr. Becky Langer, Bayer Bee Care Center

Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center Grand Opening Photo Album

Tour of Bayer Bee Center

bayer-bee-sarah1Meet Sarah Myers, the apiarist in charge of the North American Bayer Bee Care Center. She is our guide for this YouTube tour through the newly opened facility with a taste of what it has to offer for visitors. You can register for tours on the Bayer CropScience website.

You can also find lots of photos of the new center here:
Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center
Grand Opening Photo Album

Take it away, Sarah!

Congresswoman Visits Bayer Bee Center

bayer-bee-ellmersEven though she had to miss the grand opening ceremony due to a conflict, Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) made it a point to make it out to see the new Bayer CropScience North American Bee Care Center in Research Triangle Park.

“The research and development that they are doing here is going to help us grow more food into the future,” she said in an interview. “It is vital to the North Carolina economy but also to the world.”

Ellmers added that bees are an important part of the discussion about genetically modified crops. “It’s a discussion that’s being had on the national level,” said Ellmers. She is pictured here at the Bee Care Center with Bayer’s Robyn Kneen who was instrumental in the development of the center.

I also asked the Congresswoman about the new farm bill and why she is a strong supporter of immigration reform for farmers in her state. Interview with Rep. Renee Ellmers

Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center Grand Opening Photo Album

Importance of New Bayer Bee Care Center

bayer-bee-ncagThe new Bayer CropScience North America Bee Care Center is important for the future of one of the most critical little contributors to keeping the engine of agriculture running.

“They’ve been called the spark plug of agriculture,” said North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler at the grand opening of the center on Tuesday. “If the spark plug’s not functioning, neither is the car, so we’ve got to pay particular attention to our pollinators.”

bayer-bee-ncuTroxler stressed the vital role that research has in protecting pollinators and ultimately feeding the world. Dr. Richard Linton, Dean College of Agriculture and Life Sciences North Carolina State University, is pleased that the center will provide opportunities for students to achieve the goals of a land grant university. “It’s all about producing students for a very important industry of agriculture and it’s also about working with our stakeholders on research and outreach efforts,” he said.

Listen to my interview with the commissioner and the dean here: Interview with NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler and NC State Ag College Dean Rich Linton

Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center Grand Opening Photo Album

Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center Open

bayer-bee-14-ribbonBayer CropScience today celebrated its more than 25 year commitment to pollinator health with the grand opening of the North American Bee Care Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Jim Blome, president and CEO of Bayer CropScience LP, front and center here cutting the ribbon to officially open the new facility is thrilled to see this dream fulfilled. “This is an absolutely great day,” he said proudly. “We’ve been dedicated to bee health, it’s an important part of who we are, and we’re very serious about finding the science behind what the interactive functions are here so we can come up with some solutions.”

The $2.4 million center brings together significant technological, scientific and academic resources, with goals of promoting improved honey bee health, product stewardship and sustainable agriculture. A 6,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, the Center will complement the Eastern Bee Care Technology Station in Clayton, N.C., and a Bee Care Center at the joint global headquarters campus of Bayer CropScience and Bayer Animal Health in Monheim, Germany.

Listen to my interview with Jim here: Interview with Jim Blome, Bayer CropScience

Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center Grand Opening Photo Album

Bayer Bee Care Buzz

bayer-bee-cupcakesBayer CropScience is fulfilling a dream today with the opening of a brand new North American Bee Care Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The new center will complement the European Bayer Bee Care Center in Monheim, Germany. Plans for the center were announced in 2012 and ground was broken just a little over a year ago. Since then the Bayer folks have been busy as bees getting it ready for the big debut.

The celebration started last night with a reception that brought Bayer CropScience folks from all over the globe together to prepare for the main event. We are going to find out much more about this new center and its purpose shortly and will share it with you.

Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center Grand Opening Photo Album

Bayer’s Investment in Seeds Innovation

bayer-aif14-kneenBayer CropScience is showing its dedication to innovation several ways, starting with moving the company’s global seeds headquarters to the Research Triangle Park (RTP) in North Carolina.

“This is something that reflects our presence in the market and desire to be close to the market,” explained Geoff Kneen, Bayer CropScience’s vice president, head of strategic initiatives and RTP operations, during an interview with Cindy at the Ag Issues Forum in San Antonio. “The Americas are really the biggest market for the genetically modified seeds that we produce.”

Globally, he said they have opened several breeding stations, and recently bought a soybean breeding station in Argentina. They’re also working on developing new varieties of wheat, a crop he admits has not gotten as much technology attention as its corn and soybean cousins.

In addition to these innovations in seed technology, Geoff said they are working on educating the public about the safety and benefits of the GMO seeds they produce.

“A lot of people don’t understand the technology, and if they don’t understand it, they naturally fear it as bad, and we have to put that right,” pointing out that GMOs help growers, as well as putting more and a higher quality level of food on tables. His company has also joined a coalition of ag interests and set up a website, GMOAnswers.com, to have an open dialogue on the hardest questions and provide the truth. “We encourage really difficult questions, and you can read all those answers. They’re there for peer review.”

Listen to Cindy’s interview with Geoff here: Interview with Geoff Kneen, Bayer CropScience

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What’s in the Bayer CropScience Trait Pipeline

bayer-aif14-gentOur friends at Bayer are working hard to get the next generation of soybean traits in growers’ hands in the next couple of years. At the recent Ag Issues Forum, Chuck caught up with Allen Gent, who is Bayer CropScience’s U.S. soybean product manager for soybean seed and trade. He said they’re working on weed resistant traits, such as their LibertyLink seed that allows growers to spray Liberty herbicide in crop for non-selective postemergence control of the toughest weeds, and a couple of new traits in the form of what they’re calling Balance Bean and Balance GT soybeans. He says since these are GMO products, the approval process is quite long.

“The regulatory process has gotten a lot more lengthy for all companies involved,” which he admits is really a testament to how careful regulators and the industry are in putting out any new technology. He added that there has been a shift in the 10-12 year process that it takes from concept to product on the shelf, where most of that time used to be in the early development stages and is now taken up by the regulatory approval process at the end of development. Allen expects these latest traits to be approved and ready to use in the next couple of years.

Further down the road, he said they’ll be focusing on fighting more weed and disease resistance traits.

You can check out Chuck’s interview with Allen here: Interview with Allen Gent, Bayer CropScience

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Bayer Tackling Citrus Greening

bayer-aif14-schrickCitrus growers in the country, especially those in Florida, have been under siege from a disease known as Huanglongbing (HLB) or perhaps better known as citrus greening. During the recent Ag Issues Forum, Chuck caught up with Bayer CropScience‘s Rob Schrick, who said while his company is able to provide some chemicals to fight the disease, they want to offer growers a more sustainable solution.

“We need these growers to be in it for the long term, so we need to be able to look beyond that [chemical solution],” he said, adding there are promising treatments out there, some of them in the GMO realm, which creates its own issues with how quickly a company can respond with a solution, trying to clear the regulatory hurdles, as well as consumer confidence hurdles to prove the technology. But Bayer wants to find a real solution for the long haul. “There’s no silver bullet, so we’re investing into enhanced research and partnering with universities and grower groups to combine our efforts.”

Rob pointed out that they are racing the clock to find a solution. In the more accepted GMO realm of crops, such as corn and soybeans, it takes 10-12 years to get a new strain through the regulatory process. For direct consumable crops, that timeframe could be extended substantially. He hopes that working with the government and universities will get them to take a new look at this to provide a solution that has that citrus tree applying its own natural defenses without the introduction of more chemicals before it’s too late.

“We need to keep these growers viable and keep these orchards in production for the long term and let these growers get back to doing what they do best: grow oranges.”

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Rob here: Interview with Rob Schrick, Bayer CropScience

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Today’s Farmer CEOs at Ag Issues Forum

bayer-aif14-farmersThe panel of farmer CEOs at the Bayer CropScience Ag Issues forum were pretty funny guys, in addition to being sharp businessmen.

The “How Today’s Farmer CEOs are Reshaping Modern Ag” panelists were (left to right) Chad Leman, co-owner of Leman Farms hog operation in Illinois; Jeremy Jack, partner at Silent Shade Planting Company in Mississippi; and Bruce “Onion Man” Frasier, owner of Dixondale Farms in Texas.

These guys discussed the everyday challenges they face running their farms, including training the next generation, new regulations, the public’s perception of farming, and weight of responsibility. They also discussed the importance of recording everything they do to help them track efficiencies and responsibilities.

Listen to the conversation here: Bayer Ag Issues Farmer Panel

bayer-issues-button2014 Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum Photos

Bayer CropScience CEO on What the World Needs

Once upon a time, all the world needed was love, sweet love – but life is a little more complicated these days.

bayer-aif14-blomeThe theme of the ninth annual Bayer CropScience Ag Issues forum was “What the World Needs” and topics included water security, communications, innovation, pollinators and sustainable farmers. At the end of the two-day event, Bayer CropScience president and CEO Jim Blome said the bottom line is that everyone has a role in feeding a growing world population.

Blome was particularly pleased to present the fourth Bayer CropScience Young Farmer Sustainability Award to Bryan Boll of Minnesota. “We thought we needed to elevate young farmers, the people who are doing things right and have a great story to tell,” said Blome. “These guys are running big businesses with an eye on the future and they’re not afraid of technology. We want to identify them, elevate them and then celebrate them.”

One of the most important segments of the forum focused on bees, which Bayer CropScience believes are critical to agriculture and the world. “Pollinator and bee health are really important to us,” said Blome, who explained that they take the fluctuations in pollinator populations so seriously they have dedicated significant resources to an overall Bee Care Program. That includes a new North American Bee Care Center to advance honey bee research, education and collaboration, which is scheduled to open next month.

“We all eat and one out of every three bites of food that we take comes from a bee,” said Blome. Interview with Bayer CropScience CEO Jim Blome

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Bayer Brings in Bloggers for Panel

bayer-aif14-blogger-panelDuring the Ag Issues Forum ahead of Commodity Classic last week, Bayer Crop Science brought in a panel of bloggers for a session called “Welcome to MY World: Consumers and Growers Seek Common Ground,” a conversation between three bloggers. The panel answered questions such as “What do your followers want to hear, how are they getting their information, and how should we start communicating with them?” The three panelist all agreed that biotechnology is a very hot topic right now, and shared how they each approach the topic with their followers.

The panelists included:

Mommy blogger Annie Schultz, Mama Dweeb – Annie is a lifelong Kansas resident who started her blog in 2009 as a stay-at-home mom to share inspiration, product reviews, and family stories. Roles have changed a bit in their home as Annie now works outside of the home and her husband, Josh is in the role of stay-at-home dad to their three children.

Farm wife blogger Emily Webel, Confessions of a Farm Wife – From central Illinois, Emily and her husband Joe have four children in their remodeled farm house raising children, dairy cows and crops. Husband Joe even gets in on the blogging by taking photos of the birthing process or harvest.

Farmer blogger Brian Scott, The Farmer’s Life/CNN’s Eatocracy
– Brian is a 4th generation farmer from Northwest Indiana that farms about 2100 acres with his dad and grandfather. He utilizes social media to get his message out about agriculture and farming.

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Brian Scott here: Interview with Farmer blogger Brian Scott

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Bayer Panel Buzzes About Bees

bayer-laurieOne of the most important topics discussed at the Ag Issues Forum was the buzz about bee health and what is being done to address declining bee colonies. One of the panelists was Laurie Adams, executive director of the Pollinator Partnership. Laurie stressed that collaboration between all parties is needed to protect all pollinators, including bees. Listen to my interview with Laurie here: Interview with Laurie Adams, Pollinator Partnership

bayer-parkerAlso on the panel was Don Parker who deals with integrated pest management for the National Cotton Council. He discussed the importance of farmers working closely with beekeepers who use their land for hives. Parker believes that the varroa mite is the biggest threat to bee colonies right now and he stressed the need for science to lead the discussion when it comes to pollinator health, not politics or personal opinion. Interview with Don Parker, National Cotton Council

Dr. Troy Anderson, Virginia Tech entomologist, was also on the panel. All three panelists agreed that stressers on honey bee population trace back to a variety of sources that include parasites, bacterial diseases, poor nutrition, genetics and pesticides.

You can listen to the entire discussion here. Bayer Ag Issues Pollinator Update Panel

In an effort to further education and collaboration around pollinator health, Bayer CropScience is holding its second annual Bee Care Tour this year, traveling coast-to-coast to create awareness of the vital role of honey bees in sustainable agriculture by establishing a dialogue with growers, beekeepers, researchers and students to discuss the multiple factors affecting honey bee health. They will also be opening a new North American Bee Care Center next month at Bayer’s Research Triangle Park, N.C. headquarters.

bayer-issues-button2014 Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum Photos

2014 Bayer Sustainability Award

bayer-aif14-awardDuring the ninth annual Ag Issues Forum last week, Bryan Boll of Minnesota was the recipient of the 2014 Bayer Young Farmer Sustainability Award. Bryan believes the key to sustainability is to look at your operation individually and see areas in which you can improve.

I interviewed Bryan about the award and what sustainability means to him. Interview with Bryan Boll, Bayer 2014 sustainability award winner

Bryan is the fourth recipient of this award. Pictured with him here are 2013 winner Jeremy Jack of Mississippi on the left, and the CEO and president of Bayer CropScience LP, Jim Blome.

Jeremy also participated on a panel during the Ag Issues Forum on how today’s farmer CEO are re-shaping modern agriculture. He believes “sustainability has got to be the action plan” for every farmer in the future. Interview with Jeremy Jack, Bayer 2013 sustainability award winner

Below is a video that introduces Bryan and what he does on his operation.

bayer-issues-button2014 Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum Photos

Bayer Session on Year of Food and Farmers

One session at the Bayer Crop Science Ag Issues Forum last week called 2014 the “Year of Food and Farmers” talked about an upcoming National Geographic series and a documentary movie – both featuring agriculture.

bayer-aif14-dimickDennis Dimick, Executive editor, Environment for National Geographic, shared their exciting plans for the eight-month series focused on food and agriculture, beginning in May. Dimick spoke about our growing population and how our need for food is the single biggest threat to the environment that we face today. “There is a growing need to recreate the connection to the production side of where food comes from,” he said. Dimick says the series will include topics such as farming the sea, malnutrition, genetics and how diets have changed over the course of time.

You can listen to my interview with Dennis here: Interview with Dennis Dimick, National Geographic

classic14-krotzJoining the discussion with Dennis was Randy Krotz, executive director of U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, who talked about Farmland: The Movie and showed a couple of clips. The documentary offers first-hand glimpse into the lives of young farmers and ranchers, connecting the audience to real farmers’ stories of their high-risk/high-reward lifestyles. Randy says the movie is scheduled to be released this spring.

Listen to or download the discussion with Randy and Dennis here: Bayer Ag Issues Forum, National Geographic and USFRA

2014 Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum Photos

Bayer Develops Seed Treatment for SDS

bayer-ilevoDuring the Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum and Commodity Classic last week, Bayer was pleased to announced they have applied for EPA registration of ILeVO, the first seed treatment developed to address Soybean Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS).

“We’re anticipating federal registration fourth quarter of 2014 for planting in 2015,” said Seed Treatments Product Manager Dave Byrum.

classic14-bayer-riggs-byrumJennifer Riggs, Bayer SeedGrowth product development manager, says people think of SDS as a late season disease, but they have found that is not true. “The infection of the fungus into the plant happens at the seedling stage,” she explains. “So ILeVO does a very good job of protecting that very critical zone from the fungus.”

Dave and Jennifer talked about this exciting new development during a press conference, and Chuck interviewed both of them during the Ag Issues Forum. Take your pick – or take them both!

Interview with Dave Byrum and Jennifer Riggs, Bayer CropScience Bayer CropScience ILeVO press conference

2014 Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum Photos

Bayer Panel Addresses Water Security

What the world needs most is water – but beer is pretty important too! So water security was one of the issues addressed during a panel at the Bayer CropScience Ag Issues forum last week in San Antonio, and beer was a big part of the discussion.

bayer-aif14-waterThe panelists included (left to right) Dr. Marco Ugarte with MillerCoors, Gary Beck of Hillside Ranch and Mitchell Baalman of FDK Partnership. They explained that 90 percent of the water needed to make beer is used in crop irrigation and how MillerCoors, The Nature Conservancy and barley farm Hillside Ranch have collaborated to reduce the amount of water used for barley production, resulting in cost savings to the farm and an increase in yield.

bayer-issues-buttonDr. Ugarte and his fellow panelists talked about the need to work with farmers to implement new technology, yield data, planting data and spraying maps to reduce water use. Baalman shared his story of collaborative and voluntary efforts among farmers in his hometown of Hoxie, Kansas. Situated above the High Plains aquifer, which is being depleted six times faster than it is being replenished, the Hoxie-area farmers committed to taking 20 percent less water out of the ground over a five-year period that began last year.

Listen to the panel here: Bayer Ag Issues Water Security Panel

Chuck also interviewed Dr. Ugarte: Interview with Dr. Marco Ugarte, MillerCoors

2014 Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum Photos

Exciting Opportunities in Agriculture

David HollinrakeJust what does the world want from us? Sounds like a lot more food. This theme was consistently brought up in a lot of sessions during the Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum last week.

One of our opening speakers was David Hollinrake, vice president, ACO Marketing, Bayer CropScience LP. He told me, “The main theme of this week was really all about the exciting possibilities that exist in agriculture. We in the farming community are faced with a daunting task and that is to feed 9.6 billion people by the year 2050.” Putting that into perspective we’ve got about 7.5 billion today. There is a lot of work to do!

In David’s stage remarks he challenged us to think about agriculture not only in a traditional way but in a potential way of what it can be. He says agriculture is sexy. Yeah, I agree with that. Dave says we need exciting new technologies and a to foster a spirit of collaboration and cooperation. We also need passionate young people to come into the field.

You can listen to David’s remarks here: David Hollinrake Remarks

You can listen to my interview with David here: Interview with David Hollinrake

bayer-issues-buttonThe Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum brings together a broad audience of agricultural journalists to learn about and discuss current issues. This year’s theme is “What the World Needs.” Look for more stories from this year’s event coming soon.

2014 Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum Photos

Agribusiness Needs More Young People

Inci DannenbergBringing new talent into an industry like agriculture and specifically a company like Bayer CropScience was a key theme that Inci Dannenberg wanted to discuss with ag media attending the 2014 Ag Issues Forum. I got to chat with her on my ZimmGlass. She is doing an interview with another ag journalist attending the Ag Issues Forum here in San Antonio.

bayer-issues-buttonInci says that there is a big need for more young scientists in the ag field to help companies like Bayer continue to bring innovation to the field in the future. What is troubling her is seeing a decrease in the U.S. of students interested in science, technology, engineering and math. She says we need more of that to be competitive globally.

Learn more about how Bayer CropScience is encouraging new talent to come into the industry in my conversation with Inci.

2014 Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum Photos