KWS Seeds has been awarded for its drive and support of innovation in agriculture, receiving the Grand Farm Champion Award from Emerging Prairie as part of that organization’s 1 Million Thanks annual awards program.
KWS Seeds was presented the award at the 1 Million Thanks awards ceremony held January 26, 2023, at the Fargo Air Museum in Fargo, N.D. Meredith Mendola, Operations Lead for the Digital Innovation Accelerator team, and Duane Bernhardson, Business Development Manager, with KWS Seeds received the award that recognizes individuals and organizations making a significant impact in innovation and technology in the ag industry. KWS is one of the world’s leading plant breeding specialists and seed suppliers, supporting farmers through innovation in 70 countries.
KWS Seeds utilized a five-acre project area with sugarbeets in 2022 at the Grand Farm Education and Research Initiative site located south of Fargo to explore, as one example, how drone and cell phone technologies can be used for early problem detection in crop production.
“This award is given to an organization that is really pushing agricultural innovation. With our team at Grand Farm, it’s been exciting to work with one of the most innovative ag companies in the world on a number of different projects to advance agriculture technology,” says Brian Carroll, Director of the Grand Farm. Grand Farm is a network of growers, technologists, corporations, startups, educators, policymakers and investors working together to solve problems in agriculture with applied technology.
Mendola explained that the primary research work by KWS in 2022 focused on using drone imagery and technology and cell phone imagery to explore such areas as organic carbon verification and new ways for farmers to detect insect and disease populations earlier to take action sooner and reduce the amount of control inputs.
“We have a partnership with Grand Farm to test technologies that we’re developing in a real-world environment,” says Mendola. “It’s important to have a platform for actual field work to research technologies in a proof-of-concept manner. Grand Farm provides that, and that is unique.”
“Grand Farm has an amazing group of people to work with,” Mendola adds. “They are involved and work with us on the problems that we’re trying to solve. We feel we extended our own team. I think this award reflects the need for partnerships in this industry to make headway in innovation and continue to advance the industry.”
Bernhardson notes that innovation by companies like KWS can’t happen without those real-life platforms that Grand Farm provides where farmer-based innovation can be explored under all types of crop production conditions.
“In the innovation world, we need failure as well perfect crop production, and everything in between. In the work that we’re doing, we’re trying to find ways to detect things, to measure and to do things. In the development world, we need a sand box to be able to do those things. We have that sand box at Grand Farm,” Bernhardson says.
“We came in as a partner and have been open and aggressively moving forward with ag innovation with a hands-on approach. Grand Farm recognizes that KWS is willing to take that step into the unknown to find the known,” says Bernhardson. “Grand Farm has the same ideas for the need to bring innovation to agriculture. We really work together. We’ve brought some things to them, and they’ve brought some things to us. We’re working towards the same thing but coming at it from different directions. We’re proud to be working with an organization like Grand Farm and the drive they also have to move agriculture forward.”
KWS is one of the world’s leading plant breeding companies. Over 5,000 employees* in more than 70 countries generated net sales of around $1.69 billion in the fiscal year 2021/2022. A company with a tradition of family ownership, KWS has operated independently for 165 years. It focuses on plant breeding and the production and sale of seed for corn, sugarbeet, cereals, vegetables, oilseed rape and sunflower. KWS uses leading-edge plant breeding methods to continuously improve yield for farmers and plants’ resistance to diseases, pests and abiotic stress. To that end, the company invested more than $322 million last fiscal year in research and development.
*excl. seasonal workforce.
More information: www.kws.com. Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/KWS_Group.