Living and experiencing agriculture
Hands-on agriculture: The KWS Farming Academy is now a firm part of our international personnel development offering.
Not all of us are able to work with and in nature: At KWS, we stand firmly by our farmers and are on hand to help them, even though many of us work entirely in an office. Nevertheless, all employees should be given the chance to gain insights into practical agriculture. The sound of moving tractors or the intense smell of cereals, corn or sugarbeet – the Farming Academy offers all that as an integral part of KWS’ personnel development work.
Back in the fall 2020 issue, insideKWS reported on the project of the former International Development Program (IDP) project group and the idea behind the Farming Academy: “The aim is to give every employee, regardless of where they work, the chance to submerse themselves in practical farming for a day. Anyone working in an office swaps their desk for the grain field and dons rubber boots instead of business dress.”
“Agriculture doesn’t let you go.”
Combination of theory and practice
Several “Farming for Non-Farmers” seminars have already been held throughout Germany at the Klein Wanzleben and Wiebrechtshausen locations over the past two years as part of the Farming Academy. They involved a combination of theory and practice: After an initial overview of the various arable crops and topics such as tilling, sowing, crop management and harvesting, the participants went directly out into the field to experience what they had learned at first hand.
Two participants in last year’s “Farming for Non-Farmers” will take valuable impressions back to their office jobs.
Philipp Käthe (Expert Direct Material and Services): “This easily accessible training is able to quickly establish points of reference for your everyday work through vivid practical examples. The best thing is that you can immediately see what impact KWS and your own professional work – however far removed it may be from actual farming – has on megatrends such as climate change or food security.”
Friederike Döbel (Project Manager Marketing): “For me as a farming rookie, the training was ideal for gaining an initial glimpse into the history, challenges and special features of the industry. It was also a highlight for me personally to see Klein Wanzleben, the cradle of KWS.”
Following successful completion of the IDP, a project group based on the KWS Farming Academy has been formed. It consists of several representatives from office and field service staff who are continuing to promote and implement this offering. And that mission has been successful: The “Farming for Non-Farmers” courses will be expanded, firmly integrated in onboarding of new employees at KWS and also internationalized moving ahead.
The KWS Farming Academy. Make yourself grow!
First training courses outside Germany
Four more seminars are already planned in Germany in 2023: on June 7 and August 31 in Klein Wanzleben and on May 16 and September 26 in Wiebrechtshausen. There will also be training at KWS’ farm in Mons-en-Pévèle (France) in June and in Kondratowice (Poland) in May. The idea of making practical farming accessible to everyone has also won over our American colleagues. A team led by Jim Craig, station manager in Shakopee, is currently coordinating initial training sessions at the Shakopee and Kimberly locations.
Farming Academy Project Manager Marcus Görlich is convinced: “‘Farming for Non-Farmers’ makes a fundamental contribution to enhancing identification with agriculture, our customers and KWS. Once you’ve come into touch with agriculture, it doesn’t let you go. That’s precisely why all employees at KWS display their full commitment every day and make the company so successful!”
In addition to a lively dialog between the Farming Academy project group and the other KWS Academies, work is underway with other colleagues from the Business Units’ departments to offer various advanced-level events in the future. Marcus Görlich notes: “The professional agricultural training we offer thrives on the extraordinary commitment of many enthusiastic people at KWS. As a result, every course participant can truly live and experience agriculture!” |
© KWS SAAT SE & Co. KGaA 2023