A new effort to grow the pipeline of tomorrow’s innovators was announced last week at the Farm Progress Show. Bayer and 4-H are launching a program called Science Matters. This will put Bayer scientists and researchers in touch with local 4-H programs to create a hands-on experience for high school and elementary students. “Advancing health and nutrition is what we do best and care about most at Bayer,” said Ray Kerins, Bayer’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and a former 4-Her. “We can’t do that unless we grow tomorrow’s innovators today and fill the critical pipeline of future STEM leaders—not only for agriculture, which is increasingly technologically-driven, but for all STEM-related fields. Bayer sees this as a sacred responsibility and we’re proud to work with 4-H, a first-class organization that shares this vision,” he said.
Science Matters will bring together 4-H leaders with Bayer employees to work alongside young people demonstrating why science matters to all of us. In addition, Bayer will sponsor the 4-H Agri-Science Summit in Washington, D.C., where students will learn about modern agriculture, careers in agriculture, and gain more than 30 hours of hands-on learning and problem-solving experience. Bayer will also provide as many as 200 scholarships and offer community grants to extend the program’s impact, and Bayer’s continued sponsorship of the 4-H Youth in Action Award will add yet another dimension to Science Matters.
Kerins told HAT Bayer wants to help stimulate an interest in science that will eventually lead to a career, “The world’s need for expertise in STEM has never been more intense than it is today.
Many of the millions of STEM-related jobs generated in America alone go unfilled due to a lack of relevant graduates and skilled professionals—a scarcity acute in agriculture, which is not always considered the STEM-related field it has become. Scientists who focus on plants, food and water, among other areas, are in demand as growers tackle some of the most complex challenges of our time: sustainably providing nutrition for a rapidly growing population in the face of a changing climate, dwindling natural resources and evolving pests and diseases, to name just a few.” He added that research indicates there are 126 million jobs going unfilled because of the lack of STEM qualifications.
Kerins said science and technology will play a vital role in the future of food production but that this program is more than just focused on agriculture. “At Bayer, we believe in the power of science and its ability to positively impact the health of people, plants, and animals, and we know that 4-H shares this belief with us,” said Kerins. “That’s why we’re excited to be on the ground floor of a wonderful relationship that will help develop a new generation of innovators who will address some of the most critical issues facing our society today.”