Bayer AgVocate Blog: Grown This Way

Tuesday, February 28, 2017
By: Zach Bailey, Farm Manager
AgVocacy Forum - Zach Bailey

Feb. 28 through March 1, Bayer is holding the 2017 AgVocacy Forum in San Antonio bringing together growers, a chef, food policy experts, entrepreneurs, scientists and others for open dialogue about how to meet the food needs of both the under- and well-fed today and tomorrow. From Feb. 27 through March 10, we are featuring a series of blog posts highlighting the many ways thought leaders #AgVocate. You can follow and join in the conversation on social media using hashtag #AgVocate.

Some time back I heard a saying, “If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans.” Well, based on that, I am quite the comedian! If you would have asked me five years ago, let alone 10, when I was graduating high school, “Zach, what do you plan to do in life?” there would have been no inkling of farming involved in my plans.

Right out of high school, I enrolled in a university and started my career path toward becoming part of a public relations firm in Chicago. One year later, I married my high school sweetheart. While my wife started school for her degree in education, I started a job with Coca-Cola as a store merchandiser. When they found out I grew up around equipment, they moved me to warehouse operations. It was during this time that my wife became ill and my life path changed.

Her illness resulted in us moving back home. I started working for my grandad as an employee on his farming operation. After a few years, my wife was able to return to school to finish her education. Then it was my turn. I no longer had any real interest in  public relations work, but since I had gotten my hands dirty on the farm, I set out on a path that would allow me to not only use my hands but also incorporate the relationship side of things that I had always loved. 

Missions Aviation was the goal. My wife Kelsey and I made the decision to dedicate a portion of our lives to the mission field, serving God. I started flight training and mechanics training while working part-time for a technology retailer as their business relationship manager.

In 2013, my wife was pregnant with our first child. In the summer of that year, we moved back home from northeast Texas and decided that agriculture was going to become an integral part of our lives.

Through previous experiences, I’ve learned how proper training can prevent situations that could be less than desirable. I’ve gained a better understanding into how bigger business operates and a sense of “attention to detail” that did not exist before.

The biggest thing and what has been the most influential to me is that I don’t have to farm because it is the family business. My decision to farm is based on the fact that growing up in a farm/rural setting sets you apart. It changes the way you think about things and the way you approach life situations. I take pride in being a part of a global agriculture community that is providing a quality, sustainable food source for a growing world. This is why “AgVocating” for modern agriculture and the people in it are so near and dear to me. It is something I have chosen to do, and I love every single day of it.

The world population is expected to reach nearly 9.6 billion by 2050, and producing enough healthy and nutritious food for all will require collaboration and engagement across the ag sector and beyond.  It is important for everyone who plays a role in this important work to #AgVocate by sharing their story. Be sure to check out the other participants’ blogs as they #AgVocate. Tomorrow’s post will be hosted by Ray Gaesser, grower, Gaesser Farms, on the importance of Climate Smart Agriculture.


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