Seed industry leaders speak out about the importance of trust and relationships. Kari Belanger BRIDGE THE HEAD AND HEART MANY SEED INDUSTRY leaders consider agriculture a relationships business. And as such, foremost on the minds of those leaders in 2018 was engendering trust and bolstering relationships along the entire value chain as well as with consumers. Trust is the foundation upon which Crystal Fricker, president of Pure-Seed Testing and Pure Seed, has built her businesses. For example, Fricker tries to convey on all levels the principles she has based her companies on. “In this business, we’re working with crops and plants and seeds, which is my first love, but then you’re also working with people. Ethics are very important in this industry… this whole industry is really relationships and trust,” she says. “[Portraying] the honesty in the industry is what our com- pany tries to do in all our labeling, in all our products, all those things to put forth the truth with what we’re doing.” David Hollinrake, president of Syngenta Seeds, also considers agriculture a relationship business. Out of the confusion created by large-scale industry consolidations, Hollinrake sees opportu- nity to educate end-users different than in the past. “This is one of the greatest challenges we must address collectively. Simply put, we’ve got a great story to tell. We’ve traditionally told it in this business with facts and figures, citing the science and safety, and that doesn’t resonate with consum- ers,” he says. “We have to understand why they have opposition, and we have to then bridge the head and the heart. We’ve started with the intellectual side and have forgotten that most of the concerns are emotive. If we can understand their emotional perspective, why they have anxiety about technology and food, then I think we have a chance to bridge it. It’s really a Stephen Covey principle — seek first to understand before trying to be understood.” Hollinrake also considers the upheaval caused by industry consolidations as an opportunity to earn trust within the industry. “We can learn a lot from independent seed companies. I think 30 / SEEDWORLD.COM DECEMBER 2018 2018 GIANT VIEWS OF THE INDUSTRY