Bayer CropScience Hosts Session with Industry Leaders on Social Media Benefits

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Workshop brings in “Agvocates” at POTATO EXPO 2013

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Agribusiness increasingly is telling its story through social media, a trend that will only grow.

Social media and agribusiness make strong partners and play an important role in advocacy, education and consumer outreach, said panelists at a recent POTATO EXPO 2013 social media training session sponsored by Bayer CropScience.

Real-life success stories and business cases presented by expert panelists prove social media networks can help connect and build relationships with a variety of stakeholders, from consumers to employees. Venturing into social media can also increase brand visibility, establish industry credentials and generate positive one-on-one conversations between businesses and consumers.

“Agribusiness increasingly is telling its story through social media, a trend that will only grow,” said Mike Gelfond, with Atlanta-based digital and social media agency MasterMind. He noted that 98 percent of farmers and ranchers ages 18 to 25 have Internet access and up to 76 percent of young farmers and ranchers use social media.

Gelfond moderated a panel of agribusiness professionals who use social media to promote their businesses: Leah Brakke, marketing and communications specialist for Black Gold Farms (@BlackGoldFarms); Jeff VanderWerff, a Michigan fruit and grain farmer and vice president of the AgChat Foundation (@agsalesman), Inc.; and Randy Shell, vice president of marketing and new business development at RPE Produce (@TastefulSelect)

The panelists offered advice on starting and maintaining a social media program:

Easy does it. Launching a social media program can be intimidating, so VanderWerff suggests a slow-but-steady approach. “At first, just spend time exploring social channels and following peers and thought-leaders. Then commit five minutes a day to using social media,” said VanderWerff.

Have a plan. Know your audience and what you want to tell them. “This will help determine which social media channels to use,” said Shell at RPE Produce, which targets both customers and consumers with social media.

Say it again. Make sure your content is consistent. At Black Gold Farms, social media is focused on the company’s sustainability story, using messages that have not changed for several years. “We are going to continue telling our brands' story to connect with people who could become advocates of Black Gold Farms or could become advocates for agriculture. We are very cognizant of being consistent and sticking with it,” said Brakke.

Bayer CropScience, a lead sponsor of POTATO EXPO 2013, provides support and tools that help growers improve their businesses both in and out of the field. Also at EXPO, Bayer presented new consumer research on potato consumption to help the industry identify and understand opportunities.

Bayer’s commitment to sustainability begins at home, where it works to develop its people and enrich the communities in which it operates. That commitment extends around the world through efforts which help farmers address their greatest challenges in an environmentally responsible manner. Bayer CropScience believes that greater food security creates healthier people and communities. For additional information and background on Bayer CropScience and its other programs, please visit

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POTATO EXPO is the largest annual conference and tradeshow for the potato industry held in North America. POTATO EXPO offers educational programming covering the top issues facing the potato industry, provides countless networking opportunities with key decision makers, and showcases the latest products and services for potato production and distribution. For more information, visit

About Bayer CropScience
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, agriculture and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience, the subgroup of Bayer AG responsible for the agricultural business, has annual sales of EUR 7.255 billion (2011) and is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of seeds, crop protection and non-agricultural pest control. The company offers an outstanding range of products including high value seeds, innovative crop protection solutions based on chemical and biological modes of action as well as an extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture. In the area of non-agricultural applications, Bayer CropScience has a broad portfolio of products and services to control pests from home and garden to forestry applications. The company has a global workforce of 21,000 and is represented in more than 120 countries. This and further news is available at:


Bayer CropScience Media Hotline, 1-877-879-6162, or

Becca Hogan
External Communications
Bayer CropScience    
Tel: (919) 549-2998
Email: becca(dot)hogan(at)bayer(dot)com

Jenell Loschke
Tel: (262) 957-6031
Email: jloschke(at)charlestonorwig(dot)com

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Forward-Looking Statements
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports, which are available on the Bayer website at The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

©2013 Bayer CropScience LP, 2 T.W. Alexander Drive, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709. Always read and follow label instructions. Bayer® and the Bayer Cross® are trademarks of Bayer. For additional product information call toll-free 1-866-99-BAYER (1-866-992-2937) or visit our website at

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