At the 2019 Farm Progress Show, Bayer announced a $6 million gift over the next five years to support 4-H and FFA youth programs.
“It’s no secret that U.S. agriculture is facing a lot of challenges right now, but there is no better time to invest in the future than now,” said Lisa Safarian, Head of Crop Science, North America. “A landscape of completely new opportunities are developing right now in agriculture, and its youth is going to guide this landscape. Tomorrow’s farmers and leaders are going to be instrumental in advancements in digital technologies and data science that will unlock greater value and enable farmers to continue their efforts to sustainably produce food to feed the world.”
Safarian said these groups cultivate the desire and knowledge to advance agriculture through hands-on activities that strengthen STEM skills, engage with communities and develop strong leadership skills.
“Having this kind of a long-term partnership really does give us the chance at 4-H to plan, and to look ahead as we invest in the future of the agriculture and science workforce of our country to help build our economy,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, President and CEO of the National 4-H Council. “We know that our youth are going to play a critical role in the future of agriculture innovation, and 4-H is uniquely prepared to respond to these needs, not only because of our roots in agriculture, but because of our reach and the diversity of the young people we serve today.”
Echoing the thanks to Bayer for this investment in young people was Mark Poeschl, CEO of the National FFA Organization.
“We recognize that in order for us to grow the 8,600 FFA chapters around the country, we have to continue to invest in teachers – both recruitment of teachers as well as retention of those teachers that are already in the classroom. These funds help us do that,” said Poeschl. “We also believe we have to be the voice of agriculture. We have to teach our young people how to be advocates for agriculture. So advocacy and ag literacy – a second pillar of FFA’s strategic plan – will also be a critical part of the investment that we continue to make in our members around the country.”
Listen to the entire news conference here: Bayer Commits to 4-H and FFA News Conference