Future of Farming Dialogue InsightOne of my favorite times of the year is the beginning of August when the county fair comes to town. Amidst the smell of cooking funnel cakes and the flashing lights of the Ferris wheel, there is a small, unassuming tent on the edge of the fairgrounds.
This dark blue tent with painted stars and moons is a common stop for those looking to see into their own future. Palm lines are read. Tarot cards are shuffled. And in the corner of the tent, sits a milky white crystal ball.
Earlier this month I felt like I had the chance to look into the very same crystal ball and take a peek at what the next thirty years would look like in the agricultural industry.
Nearly 300 agricultural journalists, bloggers, and social media experts gathered in Leverkusen, Germany for the Future of Farming Dialogue at the beginning of September. From the very start of the event, we were thrown into the latest and greatest technologies, ideas, and concepts coming down the pipeline in agricultural production, innovation, and education.
I could not be more excited to be a part of production agriculture and feeding the world.
A quick trip south took us to Rommerskirchen, Germany to a Centuries-old farm that is implementing modern agricultural practices. The marriage of history and tradition of the buildings and atmosphere made the sustainable farming practices in place seem even more surreal. While walking on cobble stone paths from one building to another, you would open a wooden barn door to reveal a Phytobac system buzzing and whirring as it worked. After rounding the corner around a faded brick outbuilding, you would stumble into a biodiversity stand that included nest boxes for birds and bees, skylark plots, and shrub patches among the fields of sugar beet and winter wheat. The Damianshof Farm in Rommerskirchen is an incredible example of a Bayer ForwardFarm where farmers and Bayer partner bridging the gap between the agricultural traditions we hold close to our hearts and the innovative practices that are available at our fingertips.
As a member of the 2015 Youth Agriculture Summit, I was invited to attend the Future of Farming Dialogue to speak on a panel about the next generation of farming with four other alumni from around the world after our tour of the Damianshof Farm. Not only did we bring unique perspectives and ideas on what we believe the industry will look like in the next 30 years, but also we were able to update the world on the work being done to enact the Canberra Youth Ag Declaration and our individual “3 Little Things.” The work that is being done right now by the 100 delegates who gathered a little more than a year ago in Canberra, Australia is extremely progressive and, if you haven’t spoken with the Youth Ag Summit Alumni from your own country, I would encourage you to check out the great work they are doing back at home. And, if you or someone you know is passionate about agriculture and wants to be part of the conversation at 2017 Youth in Ag Summit in Brussels, Belgium, be sure to visit www.youthagsummit.com for more information on how to apply.
Not Just Predicting the Future, Shaping It
In true fortune-telling fashion, the leaders at Bayer did not disappoint with a presentation and panel discussion from Liam Condon, Bayer Board of Management and Head of the Crop Science Division during the Future of Farming Dialogue on the second day of our trip. After a quick tour of the BayComm facilities in Leverkusen, Condon laid the groundwork for what will be coming down the pipeline from Bayer in the future by explaining Bayer’s plans for innovation, sustainability, and collaboration.
Speaking of innovation, a panel of opinion leaders from all backgrounds and corners of the world made the attendees feel like they were a part of sci-fi movie. From planting crops on passing asteroids to the role venture capitalists can play in the future of agriculture, there was little room for doubt that next three decades in agriculture will be anything but exciting.
If I were to actually gaze into the crystal ball that makes an appearance at my county fair, I would never have believed this is what the future of our industry will look like. Now that I have been given an insight into the incredible things that will change the world of agriculture, I could not be more excited to be a part of production agriculture and feeding the world.
Young thought leaders wanted to develop solutions to tomorrow’s agricultural challenges
Beverely Flatt was one of 100 young leaders joining the international youth conference Youth Ag-Summit in 2015 in Canberra, Australia. The Youth Ag-Summit is a global youth conference to inspire and connect the next generation of young leaders in agriculture and related disciplines. At the Summit, 100 selected delegates aged 18 to 25 from all around the world will meet to share perspectives and create an open dialogue on one of the world’s most challenging questions: how to feed a hungry planet?
The third edition of the Youth Ag-Summit will take place in Brussels, Belgium, from October 9 to 13, 2017. Bayer, together with the two Belgian young farmers associations, Groene Kring and Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs, are hosting. Essay applications are accepted until January 13, 2017 at www.youthagsummit.com.
The Summit is part of the Agricultural Education Program and aims at raising awareness for food and farming all over the globe. Find out more about the Agricultural Education Program at: