Bayer endowed chair ForwardFarming

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Our journey so far

To be sustainable, agriculture must meet the needs of present and future generations, using principles that respect the environment and save our natural resources.

To meet these needs Ghent University and Bayer partnered under an endowed chair. Together we work on increasing biodiversity, integrated pest management and precision farming using the newest technologies such as soil scanners, satellites, and drones. The partnership between Ghent University and the Belgian Bayer Forward Farm is unique as it became a climate-neutral lighthouse for farming in the highly regulated European environment.  A win-win situation was created, our scientists get access to a real, working farm and the farmer gets insight in the newest developments.

So far our yearly progress in sustainability has been remarkable. We measured biodiversity increase, improved land use and finally the farmer was able to grow his potato crop in a climate neutral manner.

But the story doesn't end there. Sustainable agriculture is not a single, well-defined end goal. The environment, society, and the economy are continuously evolving.
We have to be aware of changes and adapt the practices accordingly. New challenges continuously arise such as the increasing problem with groundwater reservoirs which has a high impact on cultivation in Belgium. Creating a need to build more resilience towards heat and drought stress.

Demonstrating sustainable agriculture in practice

Partnership

The endowed chair 'Bayer ForwardFarming' enables agricultural innovation and empowers farmers in their efforts to implement smart farming solutions. The chair was founded in 2016 with the support of Bayer CropScience.

Bayer and Ghent University work together to conduct high-level and applied research in agriculture. The goal is to build up the necessary know-how and capacities over a long period of public-private collaboration. Because investing in agricultural research generates both economic and social benefits. Especially the impact on productivity and food safety are of great importance.

The faculty of bioscience engineering is one of the international leaders in agriculture. The endowed chair aims to build on this position to stimulate all dimensions of sustainable production. The maintenance of a sufficient and dynamic production basis remains a priority in an ever changing and more globalized world.

Contact

Prof. Marc Van Meirvenne