Several growers traveled to LaBelle, Florida, on Tuesday to view research plots by Seminis, a Bayer company. The Seminis plots test new and existing varieties of produce, such as cucumber, squash, tomato, watermelon, pepper, lettuce and green bean.
Emily Standley, brand communications manager for Bayer CropScience, says events like this are great for growers to exchange ideas and hear what companies are doing to address their issues.
“We understand that we sell seeds and their genetics, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle for growers. They make a ton of decisions and really need as much information as possible to be beneficial for their own operations,” she explains.
One way Seminis sought to provide ideas and solutions for growers was by including several different companies at the event. According to Standley, an example of this is the inclusion of a robotics company from Norway. “We have bacterial leaf spot pressure here in the Southeast, so we brought in a robotics company from Norway that helps address that (bacterial leaf spot)with UV light treatments,” she says.
The event also featured a keynote speaker, Richard Stein,vice president of the Food Marketing Institute. Stein spent the lunch hour speaking to attendees about what is relevant to the consumers that growers are aiming to reach.
Standley hopes growers went home with some new ideas for their businesses, since that was the point of the idea exchange. “We look at where those key issues lie for growers and what’s challenging them the most from keeping them profitable and helping them to address those issues,” she concludes.
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