As president and CEO of Bayer Crop Science, James Blome is a happy man these days. After all, the company is celebrating its 150th anniversary, Bayer products are doing well and the company is investing heavily in research and development.
In an interview with Farm Progress, Blome says Bayer has had many innovations in its 150-year history but the two that stand out in recent years are the development of LibertyLink traits and seed-applied insecticides.
"The LibertyLink trait with Liberty herbicide is the only nonselective alternative to glyphosate-tolerant systems. With the Poncho/Votivo seed treatment, we've taken seed treatment off the grower's back," he says.
Poncho/Votivo employs a biological mode of action with a unique bacteria strain that lives and grows with young roots, creating a living barrier that prevents nematodes from causing damage. And biological control is the direction the company is heading, notes Blome.
Blome says the key to the future is Bayer's theme: "Science for a better life. We want to solve problems with crop science – take existing acres and increase yields."
To that end, Bayer invested $20 million in a 60,000 square foot green house at their headquarters in Research Triangle Park, N.C., as well as $16 million in updating 40,000 square feet of facilities and laboratory space in which nearly 70 scientists will conduct crop protection and environmental science research, according to Blome.
This week, a major exhibition to mark the 150th anniversary of Bayer is being held at the headquarters as part of a world tour taking the interactive show to some 30 venues in Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Australia.
"Science for A Better Life", is the theme of the exhibition, which focuses on the topics of health care, agriculture and high-performance materials.
The exhibits – microscopes, thermal imaging cameras, digital games and many more – are designed specifically to be touched and tried out. The concept of the exhibition combines entertaining elements with educational ones to encourage guests to interact with the displays.
"Many people are only indirectly familiar with the services and products provided by Bayer. The exhibits on display are taken from real-life, tangible examples and intended to make clear how Bayer, through research and innovative products, helps improve the lives of millions of people around the world," explains Blome.
"Our Anniversary Tour exhibit gives an informative insight into how research, science and innovation enrich our daily lives. Guests get an inside look into how we are cultivating the future of bioscience, agriculture, health care, sustainability, high-performance materials and more, as well as tour some of our excellent facilities, including our newest greenhouse, Development North America facilities and the Bayer Bee Care Exhibit," declares Blome.