Bayer’s Jennifer Maloney Discusses Sustainability, Irrigation and Modern Ag
Jennifer Maloney is the US food chain sustainability manager for Bayer, responsible for managing relationships and projects with key food chain partners within the US agricultural industry. She joined KCAA 1050 AM in Loma Linda, California to discuss sustainability and the dedication Bayer has to educating growers and consumers alike on the benefits of modern agriculture.
Growing up in a little town outside of Fresno, California, Jennifer learned about farming and animal care, using farming technologies like crop protection and drip irrigation to sustainably grow crops and animals, which strengthened her passion for agriculture. Jennifer later pursued law but stayed focused on agriculture by learning about policy and sustainability practices, and spent time in agricultural positions within both the state and federal government.
When asked about sustainability, Jennifer offered that it has many different definitions to many different people. Environmental, social and economic sustainability are the three key focuses mentioned when she is asked about her priorities. Bayer helps farmers grow foods that are not only good for people but good for the Earth, and are constantly exploring solutions that work for the grower. Jennifer’s role is to facilitate partnerships across the food chain, involving innovative products all the way through to the consumer.
Bayer is very active and supports a number of different programs that foster their values in sustainability. “Feed a Bee” is an important initiative that Bayer launched in 2015, with a commitment to plant over 50 million flowers for bees to forage. Shipping over a quarter million seed packets to consumers who planted these wildflowers, the program was able to provide bee habitats that are vital to our world ecosystem.
Forward Farming is another initiative that educates consumers about global sustainable ag production. It helps give people that may not have been on a farm the opportunity to not only see how a farm works but actually visit an operational farm to demonstrate sustainable agriculture in practice. Of Bayer Forward Farming, Jennifer says, “It’s really a great opportunity to look holistically at on-farm practices and how they can contribute to sustainability, but also how they lead to modern ag and being able to grow food for the world.”
Irrigation is a favorite topic of the KCAA show and was a main focus of the interview. Bayer is integrating sustainable irrigation practices into the food chain in various ways. Irrigation is an important issue right now, particularly in California where it’s all about water. Bayer has a number of different tools that can help to meet customer needs related to customer efficiency. “These products provide benefits to growers not just in water usage but more in its entirety,” says Jennifer. Bayer recently worked with Fresno State on education and training for use of Bayer products through drip irrigation systems. Bayer is really excited about these new technologies and is looking forward to educating growers on how to use these applications safely and effectively.
Bayer is also helping to improve water use efficiency by providing training to retail channel partners as to how to effectively use products through applications like chemigation, creating opportunities for education, particularly where they are not as widespread. Secondly, Bayer is utilizing schools that are available through trade associations and providing tools in education that can help speed up the adoption of these new technologies. Internally, there is a strong R&D department that is always driven by grower demand, and from a stewardship perspective, Bayer shares a responsibility with customers to offer great products that help meet their needs.
Improving food quality for feeding the world is another major focus for Bayer. As the population grows, we will need to increase food production, so this is so much more important than it ever has been. Of food production innovations at Bayer, Jennifer says, “There are now more tools for the grower that can help them maximize their farm’s potential.” Bayer has plans to bring new solutions to the marketplace, while continuing to invest in new technology that improves plant health quality and yield. The ultimate goal is to help build up the entire agricultural industry to help educate the public about the benefits of modern farming practices. In order to further support ag education, Bayer developed the AgVocate initiative as a means to engage and enable voices within agriculture to have a positive dialogue surrounding modern farming technologies and initiatives.
Bayer is a leader in sustainable practices and has a responsibility to educate growers and consumers alike so that we are perpetuating sustainable and conscious food production. Sharing technology and modern agricultural practices with consumers will help to close the gap between the farm and the table. In the constantly changing world of technology and innovation, Jennifer Maloney thinks it is an “excellent opportunity for those in the industry to share the modern agriculture story.”
Advocating for modern agriculture is a role that all of us involved in the industry can fulfill. The AgVocate Facebook community is a place where those who are passionate about modern agriculture can come to meet and discuss the trends and challenges facing the industry today. Follow along with us on Facebook and join the group to engage in the conversation about agriculture, food production and innovation needs to feed a hungry world. Become an #AgVocate today, amplify your voice, and empower the future of our industry!