Fourth-generation Maryland farmer Trey Hill launched Harborview Farms, Rock Hall, Md., as part of the Bayer ForwardFarm knowledge platform, managed by Bayer’s Crop Science division.
"Everything we do at Harborview Farms has to pass this test," says Hill. "I have to be able to explain it to my young children, simply and with integrity. That includes the inputs we use, how and why we use them, our treatment of wildlife and the bay and the amount of energy we use doing it all. If I can't do that, then it's a signal I have to re-think our practices."
The Bayer ForwardFarm knowledge platform consists of an elite group of 12 innovative, independent farms representative of their unique environments across Europe, Latin America and North America. Ranging in production from corn and sunflowers in France, to potatoes in Belgium and the Netherlands, to cereals and oilseed grape in Germany, to wine grapes in Italy and corn and soybeans in Brazil and Argentina, these operations maintain a commitment to sustainable, holistic and scalable practices that are good for company and their environments.
"One of the primary goals of ForwardFarming is to foster dialogue and knowledge exchange on local farms around the world, which we achieve by welcoming people to the farms to learn about today's agriculture and some of the remarkable men and women engaged in it," says Jim Blome, president and CEO of Crop Science North America, a division of Bayer, Research Triangle Park, N.C. "Facing the challenge of feeding more people with ever-more precious natural resources, it's imperative that we encourage understanding about the advanced technology and sustainable farming practices that will be a big part of the solution."
Harborview's innovative management practices include precision GPS-guided technology that manages inputs; extensive cover cropping that nourishes the soil and protects nearby waterways; solar panels that power much of the operation; integrated pest management that protects crops sustainably; wildlife habitats that protect the wildlife and more.
"Bayer ForwardFarms are entrepreneurial businesses owned and operated by independent farmers, not demonstration farms managed by Bayer," Blome says. "These farms work with us to foster understanding about today's sustainable agriculture practices, not to promote any company, because they share Bayer's belief that modern agriculture goes hand-in-hand with environmental and social responsibility."