Seed World

Brad May on Innovation Amidst Uncertainty

Brad May, vice president of Global Strategic Marketing Seed Treatments at BASF, chats with our sister channel Seed World about how, even during this COVID-19 crisis, the seed industry can show off new innovation techniques to help make a difference in the world.

Seed World (SW): Favorite TV show?

Brad May (BM): I tend to favor sit-coms like ‘Last Man Standing,” Big Bang Theory,” “Friends” and “Seinfeld.” I really enjoy classics like these, as they provide unique and humorous perspectives to many different topics. As in business, it is important to consider all perspectives so we can make good decisions. If we can get a laugh along the way, I consider that a bonus!

SW: Picked up any new hobbies during quarantine?

BM: No, I am fortunate in that I can continue doing my favorite hobbies during this unfortunate time. I am an avid runner and I also like to play golf, which I am grateful that both are still available for me to participate. The only hobbies that I have had to cancel are my vacation with my wife due to widespread travel restrictions and a backpacking trip up in the mountains because the trails are closed.

SW: What’s the No. 1 best part about working with ASTA?

BM: The seed business has a strong foundation based on relationships. When I think of the many leaders, I have met on the ASTA board and ASTA staff, I am reminded of how lucky I am to get to work and learn from these people who have such passion for the agriculture seed business. It is no wonder many have become great friends of mine.

SW: Got any plans for your year as First Vice Chair this year?

BM: As First Vice Chair, I will carry out my assigned tasks, and more importantly, I will absorb all I can from John Latham the new Chair, so I am prepared to provide the leadership necessary for next year. Also, I will pass on my learnings as the 2nd Vice Chair to the new 2nd Vice Chair. In addition, I want to continue promoting the need to communicate to our members, agriculture community and, most importantly, the public.

SW: Do you have any concerns for the seed industry during this time of COVID-19?

BM: I definitely have great concerns, first and foremost for the individuals who work in our industry and their families. I pray for their safety, health and wellbeing. I worry for those whose businesses could be in jeopardy or set back. The people in this industry are the backbone of agriculture because as we know, it all starts with the seed. Secondly, the economics of this pandemic have never been experienced, so we are all guessing the future with no models to follow or historical examples to learn from. Lastly, I am anxious about how our industry’s innovation will be affected going forward. There are new breeding techniques that can really make a difference in the seed industry, and maybe something good will come out this horrific situation by people understanding the need for innovation to keep us safe and healthy.