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ORLANDO, Fla. – People around the world seem to be more divided on important food and agricultural topics than ever before. The use of on-farm technologies, breakthroughs like CRISPR, and how to address consumers’ ever-changing perceptions of modern ag are just a few of the heavily debated topics in agriculture and non-agriculture circles alike. There’s no shortage of passion on all sides.

But the true essence of these subjects doesn’t lie at the poles, but rather somewhere in the middle. That’s why they are just some of the topics that were discussed at the Bayer AgVocacy Forum, on Feb. 26-27 in Orlando.

“This is a historic time of both evolution and opportunity in agriculture, and also at Bayer,” said Lisa Safarian, President and Head of Commercial Operations for Crop Science North America at Bayer, who spoke at the event. “The AgVocacy Forum is a time when we bring together leading voices in our industry to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing us, in the spirit of respectful and candid dialogue,” said Safarian, who assumed the key commercial leadership role for North America in August 2018, after Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto closed.

This year, those topics included the latest in-field innovations such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well as urban farming and shifting consumer preferences. In addition, Safarian shared her vision for agriculture in North America and for Bayer’s role in it. Dr. Robert (Bob) Reiter, Head of Research and Development for the Crop Science division of Bayer, highlighted the company’s pipeline of future products. The two-day agenda also included panel discussions and presentations featuring experts and thought leaders from across industry, academia, grower associations and, of course, growers themselves. The impressive line-up included the following:

Nikolas Badminton, Futurist and Strategic Advisor

Lynn Dornblaser, Director of Innovation and Insight, Mintel

Vonnie Estes, Vice President of Technology, Produce Marketing Association (PMA)

Dan Basse, President, AgResource

Kevin Kester, 2018 President, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

Sheila MacVicar, an award-winning international news correspondent, and Clinton Griffiths, one of the most visible journalists serving U.S. agriculture, co-moderated the event. Together, they guided attendees through the program from both industry and consumer perspectives. “Gaining public support for modern agriculture means building bridges with people who may not be familiar with farming,” said Darren Wallis, Vice President, Crop Science North America Communications at Bayer. “That’s why we’ll examine not only a range of the most impactful issues facing ag, but also various points of view as we explore them together.”

Attendees also had the opportunity to learn more about specific areas and initiatives at Bayer, from the company’s newly integrated portfolio of industry-leading products, to the latest at The Climate Corporation, Bayer’s venture investments, and initiatives to protect the environment.

Join the conversation by following @bayer4cropsus on Twitter and Instagram, using #AgVocate and following our social live stream. Panels and discussions were broadcast live from Orlando in the AgVocate Facebook group. 

Bayer is committed to bringing new technology and solutions for agricultural and non-agricultural uses. For questions concerning the availability and use of products, contact a local Bayer representative, or visit Crop Science, a division of Bayer, online at

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