Planet Forward - How to Improve Ag Literacy and Balanced Media Coverage in Agriculture

Thursday, February 19, 2015
Cory Wightman, Planet Forward

By: Cory Wightman, Deputy Director External Communications

On behalf of the Bayer CropScience Communications team, we’re pleased to have participated in Planet Forward’s first media salon held in Washington D.C. this past Thursday covering the tough topic, “'How to Improve Ag Literacy and Achieve Balanced Media Coverage In Agriculture?” Leading the Planet Forward initiative and moderator of the media salon, Frank Sesno of George Washington University, asked roughly 30 key influencers in media how we can get the public onboard to tackle the major challenges we face as an industry.


In our second year sponsoring the Planet Forward initiative, this first ever forum offered a great opportunity for mainstream media like CNN, USA Today and NPR to connect with industry partners in agriculture so we can better learn how to meet the needs and demands of media today.  


Kicking off the discussion, Dennis Dimick, Executive Editor for the Environment at National Geographic highlighted the ongoing 5-year food series, “How Your World Will Change with 7 Billion,” focusing on topics like GMO and meat being most popular to its readers.


Danielle Nierenberg, President of Food Tank discussed covering science through delivering original content that gives communities a human face.


Another key topic was led by Steffen Kurzawa, Head of Communications for Bayer CropScience, in suggesting more platforms are needed to engage youth in agriculture. “We can only improve ag literacy and science literacy if we engage more and create better opportunities for young people to exchange.”  


No surprise, the conversation evolved into how to reach Millennials who are driving the food topic. The forum offered solutions such as evolving podcasts to go beyond two-way dialogue, but creating a compelling narrative. Is Podcasting the new radio?


Also suggested, was further use of Buzzfeed, a social media tool, offering new ways to reach this target who are simply too busy for consuming long form communication. Buzzfeed gives consumers the quick information they need through compelling photography, video, and listicles.


In summary, we’re pleased to have participated in highlighting the challenges and solutions in areas of food security and gain insights into the ongoing changes/challenges facing media today. A special thank you for participating in the discussion goes to Steffen Kurzawa, Head of Communications for Bayer CropScience and to David Hollinrake, VP of ACO Marketing for his contribution to the development of the forum.


We look forward to continuing the conversation at the 2nd annual Planet Forward Summit on April 23rd in Washington DC where the debate, speakers and key influencers will continue to promote the importance of awareness and educating the public on key food and agricultural topics.


Please be sure to follow @Bayer4CropsUS on Twitter and Bayer Connect as social coverage continues. More to come.


About Planet Forward:

Planet Forward engages young people and innovators in search of solutions to the biggest challenges facing our planet. Produced by the Center for Innovative Media at the GW School of Media and Public Affairs, Planet Forward uses web, video, social media, television and events to empower new voices, elevate compelling ideas and lead a global conversation on the planet’s future. For more information, visit





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