Bernd Naaf and Remy Courbon

Bayer ForwardFarming Expands to Italy

On 28 March, 2017, the Azienda Agricola Moranda, located near Verona in the rich Veneto region of Italy, opened its doors with a celebratory event as they officially introduced the fifth Bayer ForwardFarm. We sat down with Bernd Naaf (BN), Head of Business Affairs and Communications at Bayer Crop Science, and Remy Courbon (RC), Head of Customer Marketing at Bayer Crop Science Italy, to get their thoughts on the local and global impact the farm will have.

What makes you most excited about expanding the Bayer ForwardFarming initiative to Italy?

BN: As the fifth ForwardFarm to join the network, with many more to follow this year and beyond, we are creating a live experience of sustainable ag practices and perspectives that will increase the exchange of know-how, highlight the benefits of innovation and improvements, and facilitate communication to stakeholders at every level of the agricultural and food value chain.

RC: Italy is one of the major agricultural and food producers in Europe. We grow almost all crops excluding tropical fruits and we are proud for our “Made in Italy” agrifood in the global trade. However, we recognize we face the universal challenge of showing that modern agriculture goes hand in hand with sustainable agricultural to ensure safe food for all at affordable prices.

How do we contribute to ensuring food security for a world population that is growing exponentially?

Bernd Naaf
Bernd Naaf
Bernd Naaf,
Head of Business Affairs and Communications at Bayer Crop Science

BN: At Bayer, we believe that innovation is key to overcome these challenges and farm in a sustainable way. We aim to provide growers with smarter solutions to help raise both productivity and environmental compatibility so that they can make an even better contribution to safeguarding the world’s food supply.

Each new Bayer ForwardFarm serves as a platform for demonstration and improvement of sustainable agricultural practices, as well as a forum for dialogue and cooperation with all relevant stakeholder groups.

How did you choose this farm and region to begin the Bayer ForwardFarming expansion into Italy?

BN: We think it is important to identify and promote sustainable agriculture practices that are most effective in each climate, region and crop mix. Our Bayer country representatives help us to identify ideal farming cooperation partners considering key agricultural regions and crops.

RC: Grapes are an essential crop to the Italian economy. Wine production and exports are what we are known for because of our unique soil, geography and sophisticated growing practices that have been cultivated over centuries. The practice of viticulture is very calculated and the threat of disease, unpredictable weather and pest infestation can quickly effect the livelihood of not only individual farmers, but everyone along the value chain. For that reason, the ForwardFarming initiative is essential to ensuring we find sustainable ways to protect our practice for generations to come.

Azienda Agricola Moranda is a perfect example of a thriving viticulture business in the rich Veneto region of Italy. They are naturally passionate about implementing modern farming techniques, finding areas of improvement and respecting their surroundings and we are excited to have them as partners in this effort.

Remy Courbon
Remy Courbon
Remy Courbon,
Head of Customer Marketing at Bayer Crop Science Italy

How can the local, and global agricultural community benefit from the contributions of Bayer ForwardFarming at Azienda Agricola Moranda?

RC: On a local level, we can provide tailored agronomic support and field demonstrations as well as diagnostic tools and documentation support.

Additionally, we offer training to farmers and we visit retailers and distributors to promote proper handling and usage of crop protection products and minimize any potential risks to human health and the environment.

Together with the wine grower we share innovation and insights with fellow farmers and members of their local community to foster widespread knowledge and support for sustainable agriculture practices.

BN: Globally, we can share the results of sustainable agriculture innovations in practice from our farms across geographies and climates. This will help to provide best practices and encourage dialogue that addresses challenges both on a local and global scale.

How will Bayer ForwardFarming implement innovative solutions for sustainable agriculture on the farm?

RC: There are so many elements we are excited to expand on and implement at the farm. I can share a few of my favorite new innovations that are being put into practice.

The easyFlow™ system is an innovation that ensures operational efficiency and safety for both the operator and the environment when it comes to handling and dosing of liquid crop protection products.

On the farm, the Phytobac® system collects water used for cleaning spray equipment and breaks down crop protection product residues naturally by micro-organisms. This avoids run-off into the environment which, avoiding pollution of local water sources.

We are also fostering the coexistence of nature with agriculture, providing a welcome environment for the variety of birds and pollinators that inhabit the area. We also regularly monitor the biodiversity status on the farm through collaboration with the World Biodiversity Association.

What role does partnership play at the farm and from a global point of view?

BN: We work with our ForwardFarms to partner with other local, and global, organizations, instilling an environment of collaboration and a mutual goal of advancing sustainable agriculture practices. There is a unique opportunity to foster dialogue and knowledge exchange on a much larger scale as we work together. We also know that farmers as independent and entrepreneurial business people, will rely more and more on partnerships to grow their business in a sustainable manner.

RC: Specifically, at the Azienda Agricola Moranda, we have already engaged together with the farmer with Braglia, Bulzoni Meccanica, Mybatec, Pessl Instruments and the World Biodiversity Association. Together with the farmer, we look forward to fostering these partnerships to improve productivity and the many other aspects of sustainable agricultural management.

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