Bayer shows up big at MANRRS annual conference
Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) recently hosted its 33rd annual conference held in Greensboro, North Carolina. The group hosted professionals and students – including those in college and high school (Jr. MANRRS) – to empower them in their academics and careers. Bayer participated in several ways during the event.
A Look at Agriculture with Jim Blome
To kick off the conference, Bayer Crop Science President and CEO Jim Blome greeted attendees with a welcome speech. He spoke about the importance of diverse ideas in addressing the challenging issues facing the agriculture industry.
“We won’t meet our challenges if we all think the same way, share the same experiences, come from the same Midwestern farm states, go to the same land-grants and grow up raising the same crops,” he said. “… just as diversity of people and geographies are important, so is diversity of opinions. We won’t meet our challenges if we all think the same way; if we presume we must agree on what all of agriculture should look like.”
Jim Blome (far left) addresses the audience.
Later, he joined industry executives from Syngenta, Land O’Lakes, and John Deere for a panel discussion during the Career Empowerment Lunch. The panel discussed topics such as career advice, diversity and inclusion, the industry, and the future of agriculture, and they also fielded questions from students.
Bayer Booth at the Career Fair
With more than 1,200 participants attending the conference in 2018, there were many new faces that stopped by the Bayer booth at the Career Fair to learn about our involvement in agriculture, innovation, and more.
Along with a display of Bayer products, the booth drew students in with Bella. Bella is one of two robots being used by Bayer that can be programmed to respond to specific questions.
Norman Barclift, Bayer Environmental Science Director of Marketing and National Past President of MANRRS, was pleased with the large and diverse group of Bayer employees. He felt that showcasing the various opportunities helped the students get comfortable among the employees and better understand the company.
A Growing Presence
In 2015, MANRRS students from the national organization visited the Bayer headquarters site, in RTP, North Carolina, and heard presentations from Bayer executives. In 2016, for the first time, Bayer sponsored a MANRRS national conference, and now, in 2018, Bayer had its largest presence yet.
We held an invitation-only event at the convention for elite MANRRS scholars. This was exciting for the Bayer representatives and student attendees as it was the first time that a presenting company offered this type of networking opportunity to the students.
MANRRS selected thirty of these scholars to come in for casual conversations with Bayer senior representatives and recruiters to learn more about the students and their interests. This one-on-one time was a great opportunity for the students to get to know more about the mission and opportunities within Bayer.
During this session, Norman noted that he has seen great growth amongst the students in the program. They’re improving their skills through elevator speeches, interactions with other professionals, and even through business attire. Seeing these students make great strides in the agriculture field gives him confidence in the success of the next generation of leaders.