Ag Community Opens Up The Dialogue

Friday, March 27, 2015
Talking about Ag Reddit

By: Jeff Donald


Ag is hot these days, and I’m not just talking about The Bachelor.  Consumers are craving a deeper understanding of where their food comes from and want to hear from those involved in producing it.  I’m proud to say that the Ag community has been stepping up to the plate and welcoming the dialogue.


Reddit is one of my favorite platforms for discussion of a wide range of topics.  It’s open, unfiltered format and smart, engaged user base lends itself to some really thoughtful questions and conversations.  I feel like I always learn something new.


People don’t necessarily need to (or even should) agree on every single issue, but it is important that they have these kinds of conversations to foster better understanding of all sides.  It’s something we’re working on internally at Bayer through an Ambassador training program that helps our employees feel comfortable going out and telling their personal stories of working in the Ag industry to their friends, families and social networks.  


In case you missed them, I wanted to highlight a few really good Reddit conversations on modern agriculture that have happened over the past few months.  Have any other questions you didn’t see answered? Tweet us at @Bayer4CropsUS and we’ll try to find answers for you.


A farmer, a nutritionist and a scientist walk into a bar…ok, not a bar, but they did all walk into the most recent SXSW Interactive to hold a Reddit AMA session.  I really enjoyed this one, not just because of the diverse backgrounds of the participants, but because they held it live in person (and via Ustream) at SXSW, a forum that doesn’t have the deepest connection to Ag. I also loved that Brian Scott from A Farmer’s Life stuck around to answer more questions personally.  He does this all the time on Twitter and is worth a follow.


The Ag industry took a big step forward when Cathy Enright from GMOAnswers opened herself up for questions.  The mission of GMOAnswers is to answer all questions on GMOs “no matter what they are” and Reddit certainly didn’t hold back.  I loved this one because people have legitimate questions and concerns it is important for our industry to not shy away from them.


Dr. Kevin Folta isn’t shy.  He’s one of the most dedicated science communicators around these days and his blog and twitter feed are great places to connect with him.  This AMA turned into a massive discussion with more than 2500 comments, but most interesting is that some people started another discussion saying their questions had been censored, so he went over there to answer questions too.  


Chocolate, beer and biotech? It all makes sense if you know my colleague, Kurt Boudonck, one of our plant scientists, and after reading through his Reddit AMA, you’ll feel like you do know him.  Kurt spends a lot of time hosting tours of Bayer’s Greenhouse 5 as well as working with kids through our Making Science Make Sense program, so when I asked if he’d like to answer some unfiltered questions from the public, he was all for it!


Have you come across any other examples you enjoyed or are there any other people you’d like to hear from?  Leave us a comment below.





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