Jesus Madrazo is Head of Agricultural Affairs and Sustainability at Bayer Crop Science.
Finding My Path
My grandfather taught me that nothing gets wasted on a farm and that taking care of the earth was the best way to preserve our natural resources and ensure the gifts that only nature can provide. We didn’t call it sustainable farming in those days, and yet that’s exactly what my grandfather was trying to do. He wasn’t perfect then, and agriculture isn’t perfect today, but over the years I’ve seen the huge strides we are making toward achieving that goal.
As head of agricultural sustainability for Bayer, my goal is to build on the solid foundation I experienced as a child with the knowledge that I’ve learned as an adult to find lasting solutions to the critical issues facing agriculture. It may not be as much fun as chasing cattle, but it feels much more meaningful.
The Road Ahead
My grandfather’s farm is no longer owned by my extended family, though it remained so for more than a decade after his passing. It was tough to see it go, but in time I saw this as a reaffirmation of what he taught me about farming: People may come and go, but if the land is preserved and managed properly, it will remain productive for generations to come. You can’t be a passive participant when it comes to operating a successful farm. Each decision, each action, must be carefully considered to understand the impact it will have, both now and in the future.
Today, another family is farming my grandfather’s land. Maybe they have children who take delight in running through the fields, as I once did. If managed well, that same land will be there long after they’re gone and could become a playground for yet another child to experience. And if a child’s play can inspire a search that leads to more sustainable farming, then that’s what I’d call playing for keeps.