Presented by Bayer

There’s no question that food insecurity is one of the biggest problems facing the global population today. About 283 million people around the world are experiencing acute hunger, according to the World Food Program. In the United States alone, nearly one in eight families doesn’t have enough to eat. Even worse, child food insecurity increased from 15 percent in 2018 to 24 percent in 2020, Axios reports.

And these numbers could continue to rise. Various sources predict that if stresses on our food system increase — everything from staffing and supply chain issues to climate change negatively impacting crops — more than 500 million people around the world could be facing acute hunger as soon as next year.

Put simply, the time to take action is now and there are multiple ways to do so — from human intervention to smart farming practices. 

On-the-ground support

Various technological applications can help make farming more efficient and slow the effect of stressors on the food system. From data processing tools to in-field soil sensors, smart drones to artificial intelligence, these applications are already having an impact.

One of the strategies that has shown promise to reverse the effects of food insecurity is collaboration; specifically public- and private-sector entities working with farmers to grow food in sustainable ways. Bayer, one of the country’s top life-sciences companies, is a leader in this space. The company has put together a suite of digital farming initiatives designed to help ensure global food security, fight the effects of climate change, and conserve precious natural resources.

“Underserved communities are disproportionately impacted by food deserts and food insecurity,” Patrick Lockwood-Taylor, President, Bayer U.S., said, “Bayer is working with farmers across the country to help create more sustainable and harvest-maximizing strategies.”

One such Bayer technology is FieldView™, a digital software platform that provides farmer customers with a complete picture of what’s happening in their fields so they can make the best choices about how to deploy resources. Farmers using the platform can seamlessly connect their FieldView™ account to other technologies, such as in-field sensors or drone services providing high-resolution imagery, helping them monitor soil conditions such as moisture and nutrient levels at all times. Bayer is even exploring drone technology that would enable farmers to be even more prescriptive in their use of resources (fungicides, pesticides and fertilizer). 

The initiative that has captured the interest of many farmers, however, is Bayer’s Smart Corn System*. This system was created by combining data analytics and hybrid breeding processes to stand at the ideal height to maximize yields and minimize the impact on the environment. The key component to this system is short-stature corn, which has stronger stalks due to the reduced height, that are then less likely to break or fall over in high winds. Shorter plants also make the corn fields more accessible to standard ground equipment longer into the season, creating the opportunity for more timely, precise applications of crop protection products and other inputs. This system has the potential to give growers better results, and Bayer is exploring how it could contribute to helping to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, enabling new agricultural practices, making smarter use of natural resources, increasing carbon sequestration and improving water quality.

“In general, soil holds significant potential to store carbon and to mitigate the effects of climate change that we have not yet fully exploited,” Matthias Berninger, Global Head of Public Affairs, Science, Sustainability, Health, Safety & Environment for Bayer, wrote in a blog post earlier this year. 

Supporting small farmers

Smallholder farms play a vital role in feeding the world, accounting for nearly 80 percent of available food products in developing countries. It’s why Bayer is investing in smallholder farms, reaching 50 million smallholders worldwide to help provide food to communities on the edge of food insecurity, by increasing their agricultural productivity.

Initiatives like The Better Life Farming Alliance give smallholder farmers in developing countries the support they need through seed planting, precision irrigation, crop protection, finance, and insurance, to help their farms become sustainable businesses. Building resilient food value chains to support smallholder farmers requires long-term commitment and strong relationships, says Tania Lozansky, senior manager, advisory — manufacturing, agribusiness & services at the International Finance Corporation. “The Better Life Farming Alliance is demonstrating how such relationships are able to bring true value to farmers and their communities,” she says. 

Bayer is also investing in the vegetable seed business to help farmers grow nutritious crops around the world by ensuring maximum production.   

What’s next

Taken as a whole, these strategies combined with new technology and efforts from other companies, municipalities, and individuals can gradually but steadily transform the world food system to help produce a greater amount of quality crops. These tactics aren’t only good business; they are also at the very foundation of our survival.

*This product is not currently available for commercial sale or commercial planting. Commercialization is dependent on multiple factors, including successful conclusion of the regulatory process. The information presented herein is provided for educational purposes only, and is not and shall not be construed as an offer to sell.
Services and products offered by Climate LLC are subject to the customer agreeing to our Terms of Service. Our services provide estimates or recommendations based on models. These do not guarantee results. Consult with your agronomist, commodity broker, or other industry professional before making financial, farming, or risk management decisions. More information at FieldView™ is a trademark of Climate LLC, Bayer CropScience Inc. licensee. Bayer and Bayer Cross are registered trademarks of Bayer Group. ©2022 Bayer Group. All rights reserved.
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