Seed World

How to Cultivate Seed and Leadership Potential

When 12-year-old Garth Hodges opened his birthday present, he didn’t know it would change the trajectory of his life. The microscope his parents gave him rocketed him into a future defined by science and innovation.

“The moment I looked through the microscope, I saw a whole new world out there, a real world, moving world of science,” Hodges says. “I went on to study agriculture at Stellenbosch University.”

Today Hodges is the vice president of BASF’s North American seed business based in Raleigh, N.C. He leads the field crop division and is especially excited about the strides they’re making in hybrid wheat.

“We’ve been investing in germplasm to understand breeding different hybridization systems,” he says. “It’s exciting because in many cases you’re breaking new ground and doing something new.”

The core of the BASF business, he says, is an insatiable desire for innovation. Hybrid wheat is just one more area in which the company is striving to improve, but development across all crops and regions is the company’s goal.

Advice for Leaders

“If I had to give advice, I think we as an industry have to choose where it is we want to focus,” Hodges explains. “What’s the legacy that we as leaders are going to leave to the next generation? It’s the next generation that’s going to be the one that’s going to take all this new technology… so how can we create an environment that’s exciting for that generation?

“It’s that little seed that has so much potential, and we need to generate that in the next generation as well.”

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