Future of Farming Dialog 2016 – Perspectives on Sustainable Agriculture“Common ground” is an expression that is often used when groups of people try to bridge their differences by finding something on which they can agree, even when they disagree about other things. In diverse societies, it is an essential practice that is the foundation for mutual agreement and conflict resolution, which underpins our system of laws and governance. And while the term may serve as a useful metaphor to many people, it has a more literal meaning for those of us involved in agriculture. After all, when we’re talking about farming, everything begins and ends on a patch of ground.
On September 6-8, Bayer will host a global summit that is unlike any that we’ve done before. The Future of Farming Dialog 2016 – Perspectives on Sustainable Agriculture is about looking forward, engaging in conversations and sharing different viewpoints about how coming events will shape our farms, foods and families. What makes this global summit different from others is that the emphasis will be less about formal presentations from Bayer and more about interactive conversations with a diverse set of people who bring their own unique perspectives and opinions regarding the future of agriculture.
With a world population expected to reach 10 billion people within the next generation, ensuring enough food can be produced is by no means guaranteed. As a leader in the agricultural industry, Bayer takes its responsibility to help meet this future global challenge seriously, and we hope this summit will create an open, ongoing dialogue that encourages the sharing of diverse, even critical, opinions that can lead to greater collaboration and innovation. Bringing different stakeholders together is an important step in building the lasting relationships and partnerships that will be needed to meet the food challenges of tomorrow.
Rather than kick off our meeting in a conference room, the summit will begin on a farm instead, where participants will meet a sixth generation farmer who is partnering with Bayer as part of its ForwardFarms initiative, and hear directly from the next generation of young farming enthusiasts, represented by millennials from different parts of the world.
On the second day, media attending the summit will have an opportunity to hear the keynote address from the head of the Crop Science division of Bayer, Liam Condon, followed by a Q&A with Bayer senior leaders. The remainder of the day will focus on agriculture in 2030, where the views of a diverse group of global agriculturalists and futurists will be shared in two dynamic, interactive sessions led by our moderator Chris Horseman with Informa Agra. On the third day of the summit, participants will have the opportunity to visit Bayer’s Vegetable Seeds site in Nunhem, Netherlands, or our global headquarter site in Monheim, Germany.
As someone who has been committed to science and technology for all of my career, I believe that investment in innovation is critically needed to make agriculture more productive and sustainable. Of course, I recognize that opinions about what’s best for farming’s future can sometimes seem as varied as the number of stakeholders involved in agriculture. While the perspectives among different people can at times be in conflict, I believe we are all on “common ground” in our shared belief that everyone deserves ready access to healthy, nutritious food. How we get there is the great question of our time.