Thursday, June 11, 2009

South Dakota Growers, South Dakota State University, Bayer CropScience and Ducks Unlimited Share Vision for Sustainable Winter Wheat with Congress

Farmers, Researchers, AgroBusiness and Conservationists Support Sustainability of Agriculture and the Environment

WASHINGTON – June 11, 2009 – A delegation representing South Dakota growers and University scientists, together with representatives from Bayer CropScience and Ducks Unlimited, took to Capitol Hill to advocate for more investment and support for winter cereals as part of a shared vision of sustaining agriculture and the environment through the Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action initiative.

The group, comprised of representatives from the South Dakota Wheat Inc, South Dakota State University, Bayer CropScience, and Ducks Unlimited, visited the offices of Senator John Thune, Senator Tim Johnson and Congresswomen Stephanie Herseth Sandlin to support winter wheat programs that have been shown to mutually benefit the agriculture community and waterfowl habitat. The group also visited the offices of South Dakota and Minnesota congressional members.

“With the world population expected to grow to nearly 9 billion by 2030, it’s important we work together to ensure a sufficient supply of food, feed, fuel and fiber for our growing population,” said Geoff Kneen, vice president of special projects for Bayer CropScience. “By working together with the growers, researchers and Ducks Unlimited in the Prairie Pothole Region, we’re able to invest in the development of the next generation of varieties and technologies to ensure continued production of a safe and abundant supply of cereals to meet future food demands. Our goal is to enable growers to produce more food on the same amount of land while preserving and improving the habitat important to North America’s waterfowl and other wildlife.”

Introducing Congress to the Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action initiative, the Team shared their plans for increased research into improved winter wheat varieties and improved agronomic practices which are needed by growers to expand winter wheat as part of an integrated cropping system.

“We’re pleased to be working with an industry partner and a conservation group that believe and support agriculture not only today but for the future,” said Rick Vallery, executive director of South Dakota Wheat Inc. “Our role is to represent cereal growers in South Dakota and through the Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action initiative we will see new research focused on winter cereals that will allow us to improve productivity and profitability and remain in this business for generations to come.”

The group highlighted the need for additional support for SDSU’s winter wheat breeding program as a key step in the program’s overall success.

“Crops like winter wheat can be produced in a way that waterfowl can still use the areas to breed and rear their young, which makes the prospect very attractive to sportsmen and landowners alike,” said Blake Vander Vorst, senior agronomist for DU in the Prairie Pothole Region. “Sustainable agriculture like this continues the stewardship and production traditions of America’s farmers and ranchers and can be a boon for waterfowl and wildlife.”

About Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action
With a shared vision of sustaining cereals agriculture, Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action is a unique collaboration between growers, universities, a conservation group and an agricultural crop protection supplier. It embraces ongoing improvement of the agriculture productivity through research and development in the Northern Plains while improving the habitat important to North America’s waterfowl and other wildlife.

About Ducks Unlimited
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with more than 12 million acres conserved in North America. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands − nature’s most productive ecosystem − and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres important to waterfowl each year. In Canada, up to 70 percent of wetlands have disappeared in settled areas and wetland loss continues at an alarming rate.

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About Bayer CropScience
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience AG, a subsidiary of Bayer AG with annual sales of about EUR 6.4 billion (2008), is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and plant biotechnology. The company offers an outstanding range of products and extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture and for non-agricultural applications. Bayer CropScience has a global workforce of more than 18,000 and is represented in more than 120 countries. This and further news is available at:

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