Celebrating Collaboration in Agriculture

This year, CropLife® is visiting with crop protection companies across the U.S. to learn about the latest trends in the sector for a series of articles that will appear in the April and October issues.

My first trip was to St. Louis to visit Rob Schrick, N.A. Strategic Business Lead, at Bayer U.S. — Crop Science. We covered a lot of topics during our meeting, which we’ll cover in depth starting next month.


One question I asked Rob was about collaboration in the agriculture industry. From my perspective, it feels like collaboration gets mentioned more frequently these days, and I was curious if he agreed.

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Not only does Schrick see an “acceleration” of collaboration across the agriculture industry, but also Bayer is actively on the lookout for opportunities to collaborate with others, including competitors.

Schrick said he continually challenges his team of product managers to “look at the market landscape of all the active ingredients that are already available,” and ask, “how can we bring lifecycle management to our portfolio with a partnership with companies such as BASF, Syngenta, and Valent,” for example.

“And what actives do they have in their portfolios? Perhaps there’s something that either we have that would complement their portfolio and vice versa. If you look at our portfolio, we have success in that.”

Indeed, there are multiple projects that Bayer has in the pipeline right now where the company is “collaborating with fierce competitors,” he said.

For instance, “We may have a good position in a certain market, while another company might have an active ingredient that can help bolster that position, and they’re not going to have any opportunity with it, but in our portfolio, they will.”

Most important: “It must start with the grower,” emphasized Schrick. “If it’s a win for the grower, that turns into a form of purchase for our products, which in turn is a win for the companies that provide that product.”

He shared other examples of industry collaboration, particularly in the distribution channel with partners like Helena Agri-Enterprises, Nutrien, and WinField, which Schrick noted “have a lot of capability, and proximity, as well.”

These companies “are selling the products to the grower and they know those growers’ needs intimately. They can put products together in collaboration with us, which can help better serve growers.”

Schrick noted that “Distribution [partners] are very good at value-adding products, surfactants, nutrient packages; that’s their area of expertise and they invest there, too. So, why not take the chemistry that we’ve invested in, the formulations we’ve invested in, partner with them on how to make the chemistry even better in the form of surfactants, additives, adjuvants, those types of things, to make that product perform at a higher standard for the grower.”

It’s encouraging to see industry leaders like Bayer walk the talk, especially when it comes to collaboration. Agriculture is changing fast and seeking out opportunities to work together are paving the way for shared success.

Let’s get growing.