Every year since 1973, the United States observes National Agriculture Day on March 21 to celebrate the people who help ensure that Americans and people around the world have a safe and nutritious food supply. In Washington, D.C. and in communities around the country, these events shine a light on those who dedicate their lives toward this important goal. It also creates an opportunity for the industry to convene in Washington, D.C., to meet with national leaders to discuss solutions to the challenges that growers face.
Specifically, National Ag Day is an opportunity to talk about the many facets of the Ag industry from labor issues to commodity prices to regulation. Policy makers hear directly from their constituencies and understand how policy directly impacts a grower’s decisions on the farm.
This year, I was excited to be in D.C. on this important day to meet with growers, partners, media and other key stakeholders to identify ways for Bayer to support the Ag community. There was something powerful about being on the ground in the city where decisions are made and plans are put into place that can affect each of these categories of people and the industry as a whole.
is the Global Head of Research and Development for Crop Science, a Division of Bayer.
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I had the opportunity to attend a reception at The National Press Club, which is one of the world’s leading professional organizations for journalists. Founded in 1908, countless U.S. politicians, premiers, kings and queens, and global business leaders have answered media questions in this building for important stories that were then shared around the globe. I believe that agriculture and the fundamental role it plays in the life of each and every person on earth is perhaps one of the most important stories that can be told today.
Sadly, this disconnect has led to a negative perception about what are often described as “corporate farms.” I recently heard it explained best by a grower who said that “corporate farms” are simply just family farms that haven’t shared their story—this couldn’t be truer.
It is important for those of us in Ag to tell our stories and de-mystify what growers do on the farm and how their food makes it onto everyone’s plates.
While in D.C., I spent some time “agvocating” on behalf of our industry, meeting with media to talk about Bayer’s focus on innovation, the need for societal acceptance of modern agricultural technology, and how Bayer initiatives like AgVocacy and the Youth Ag-Summit will help us maintain the ability to continue innovating in the future.
We capped our #NationalAgDay celebration at the U.S. Capitol Building, where I participated in my first Facebook Live event! There, we discussed the importance of National Ag Day, highlighting efforts currently being made in the industry, the importance of ag to overall health and wellbeing, and the value of understanding the ag landscape.
While the work we do as part of our “day job”—on the farm, in the lab or in the office—is important to the future of our industry, so is stepping out of our environment, our comfort zones, and having real conversations with consumers, politicians, regulators and other stakeholders. When I engage in these discussions, I first seek to understand in order to be understood. Only then can we create real dialogue around topics not only important to agriculture but also important to the world.
Tell me how you #AgVocate in the comments below or connect with me on Twitter @AdrianPercy.