Two big changes are in store for BASF Chemical in North America.
BASF recently announced the expansion of their production of dicamba and DMTA, two well-known herbicides around the globe. They will upgrade this production in Hannibal, Mo. as well as at their Beaumont, Texas site. In addition to this, BASF has recently partnered with Mitsui Chemicals Agro, a Japanese based company, to produce a new insecticide. These two steps help continue BASF’s endeavor of expanding their crop protection efforts worldwide.
Markus Heldt, president of the Crop Protection Division, is optimistic about these new opportunities.
“Exciting times. Money is needed but business opportunities are also kicking in as well,” Heldt says. “We’ve seen spectacular performance and we are moving forward with the research and development of this new technology.”
Heldt expects 2025 as the earliest time to expect these new technologies on the market.
After extensive research, Heldt explains how BASF has fit their new plans to directly serve their consumers.
“The last couple of years, we’ve looked at consumer attitudes and their views and perspectives and all their needs and requirements,” Heldt says. “What is very obvious from that market research is the consumer’s view is often a very romantic view of agriculture. It’s a very detached situation, especially in the northern hemisphere, where many consumers are living in cities and urban environments.”
BASF hopes to bridge the gap of this romantic view of agriculture with the reality that farmers face.
“We know the key person to convince the consumer in the quality of the product and the services provided is the farmer,” Heldt says. “We have to ask the farmers to step up to the challenge and address the needs.”
To promote this, BASF has started a global branding campaign called “Farming, the biggest job on Earth.”
“Farmers have done a phenomenal job of finding a very successful way of improving productivity and yield and sometimes consumers tend to ignore and forget what farmers have done to their well-being, their quality of life, but also the best and most affordable food ever in mankind,” Heldt says. “We need to speak up and support farmers and their endeavors.”
Heldt admits that technology found in long term goals is actually needed by today’s farmer.
“The long lens for us only means we can achieve those objectives with a strong commitment to research and development and technology, and we have to make sure that we bring those new solutions to the farmers fast, as soon as possible to make sure we can address some of the most burning needs in farming,” Heldt says. “Those needs are different in the us compared to China, India or Brazil. So, the go-to market approach or the resources we’re providing is an important contributor to overall success of farmers.”
At the end of the day, Heldt finds his passion from working together with his team at BASF to improve the future of agriculture.
“Of my 35 years in agriculture, the last five years have been the most exciting times in agriculture ever,” Heldt says. “This is by business success, by a great team, by a good strategy and by a good progress and success we can measure and we can enjoy every year. That personally gives me a lot of passion and kick to get up every morning and do the best I can for BASF and for my team.”
Photo courtesy: AgWired