Seed World

Bayer ForwardFarming Plants New Roots in the U.S.


Bayer ForwardFarming, a global initiative that demonstrates sustainable agriculture in practice on independent, representative farms around the world, expands to North America with the launch of the first ForwardFarm in the U.S. Harborview Farms, a 4th generation family operation, is located outside of Washington, D.C. in Rock Hall, Maryland. Situated on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay, one of the country’s most diverse ecosystems, the farm provides an opportune setting to show how modern agriculture goes hand-in-hand with environmental and social responsibility.

Farmer Trey Hill, along with his father, wife and a team of dedicated Harborview employees, join a growing network of 12 ForwardFarms and passionate farmers located across Europe, Latin America and now, North America. While each farm is unique in the crops it grows, the land it farms and the community it serves, they all share a commitment to promoting sustainable, holistic and scalable practices that are good for farmers, good for society and good for the planet.

“With the expansion of our ForwardFarming network into the U.S., we are providing a new forum where we can connect farmers, society, industry and public institutions. With this we aim to further develop and demonstrate responsible farming practices and opportunities to increase and sustain agricultural productivity, all while protecting farmland and the environment,” says Bernd Naaf, head of Business Affairs & Communications at Crop Science, a division of Bayer. “We strongly believe, engaging in an open dialogue with various stakeholders is key to understand different views, addressing concerns and identifying opportunities to work together on sustainable solutions.”

Harborview Farms produces high-quality grains like corn, soybeans and wheat in a responsible manner. Their innovative management practices include GPS-guided precision technology to help manage inputs, extensive cover crop planting to limit erosion and enhance soil fertility, and solar panels to power much of the farm’s operations.

While these practices are critical to Harborview’s mission of practicing and pioneering sustainable agriculture, the farm’s commitment to dialogue and collaboration with local environmental organizations is equally as important. “It’s hard to explain to someone who isn’t on the farm every day how small changes and new innovations can make a huge difference, not only for our farming business, but also the local community and environment as well,” says Hill. “Bringing stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds to engage in conversation on the farm allows us to show- not just tell – our story.”

Harborview Farms is actively collaborating with a number of organizations dedicated to the protection of the Chesapeake Bay. The farm is also a proud member of the Soil Health Partnership, an initiative of the National Corn Growers Association focused on promoting innovative soil management strategies.