Workforce of the Future

Ensuring a bright future for our farms and our world

Crop Science NA President Jackie Applegate with 4H Students

What Will Be Our Legacy?


In its most basic sense, legacy can be defined as what we leave behind. But to look at it another way, legacy speaks to how we contribute to the future.

In agriculture, legacy starts on the land. Farmers’ care of the land is rooted in an understanding of the future. They know that each subsequent crop is impacted by how they prepare the soil, for example, for the coming season.

The “next season” for agriculture looks to be both daunting and exhilarating. Global food security is monopolizing recent headlines, and farmers increasingly must thread the needle between feeding more people, managing through climate (and supply chain) volatility, and engaging with a society that is less connected to farming than ever before.

At the same time, a convergence of brilliant, creative minds – some from backgrounds seemingly unconnected to traditional farming – are envisioning an incredible future for ag. They are utilizing digital technologies to modernize farming, like self-driving tractors and field-mapping drones; they are developing data analytics tools to predict the best seeds and spacing for maximum yield; and they are imagining new business models, like rewarding farmers for maximizing the carbon they sequester in the soil.

At Bayer, we believe that this next stage of agriculture is critical for the future of farming and of our world, and we are focused on cultivating a workforce capable of leading the way into this exciting future.

This is why we have built strong alliances with youth organizations like FFA and 4-H. Bayer has supported the FFA since 1954, contributing more than $20 million to the organization. Through our Science Matters initiative – Bayer’s collaboration with National 4-H Council – we encourage a love of scientific exploration in diverse youths across the country.

We sponsor and participate in The National 4-H Youth Summit for Agri-Science, which helps high school students develop the skills and knowledge needed for the challenges facing agriculture, food security, and sustainability. And we are especially proud to have founded a global Youth Ag Summit  to connect and empower the next generation of agricultural change-makers. 

There is an astonishing diversity of careers in today’s ag industry, and we take every opportunity in our many connections with young people to raise awareness of the hundreds of ag disciplines ranging from business management to welding to biochemistry to diesel mechanics and more.

Cultivating STEM talent and new types of ag leaders is important to Jackie Applegate, President, Crop Science, North America, who serves on the National 4-H Council’s Board of Trustees. Jackie’s own path to ag began as a youth helping out in her family’s restaurant in a small Ohio town, and she is a strong proponent for a diversity of backgrounds and ethnicity, gender and more, when it comes to fostering the next generation of ag leaders. 

Bayer’s commitment to tending tomorrow’s harvest reflects the urgent need for new thinking to meet the challenges and tremendous opportunities ahead for agriculture. Adopting a forward-looking legacy for our industry is essential to build a brighter future for our farms and our world.


3 min read