Ben Giles has been Bayer’s man in the Midlands for so long, we’re pretty sure you all know him really well. Even so, we asked him some questions. He answered them in a “Ben” way.
Q. Are you from a farming background?
Q. Did you always want to work in agriculture? What inspired you to work in the industry?
A. Nope, had no interest until university where a number of units on the degree course were agriculture related and were linked to Long Ashton Research Station.
Q. What did you study at University?
A. Contemporary Fashion
Q. How long have you worked for Bayer?
A. 15 years
Q. What’s the best part of your job at a CTM?
A. The time spent in the field looking at crops and trials
Q. What does a typical day look like?
A. Well it’s 24 hours long and consists of light and dark, the length of which depends on the time of year.
Q. What’s the biggest challenge you face in your job?
A. Colleagues [Editor’s note: One suspects Ben was referring to ones who ask him to do things like this.]
Q. How do you think farming is going to change in the next 5-10 years?
A. A continued embracing of technology as the age demographic of decision makers shifts younger.
Q. What role do you think Bayer will play in that change?
A. Well hopefully a leading one for at least the next 15 years so I can get to retirement.
Q. What innovation / technology are you most excited about for the future of farming?
A. Small Robot Company / Hands Free Hectare
Q. What will be the biggest challenge for farmers in the next 5 years?
A. The move away from the current support mechanism to one that is likely based on the ‘public money for public good’ principle. Also accepting that simply feeding the UK population is not regarded as publicly good enough.
Q. What book do you think every farmer should read?
A. The Resilient Farmer by Doug Avery or A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future by David Attenborough
Q. Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
A. Dad – for the week of accountancy work experience when I was 15 that convinced me never to get a job in an office.
Q. When you’re not working, where would we find you and why?
A. Still working because Bayer decided not to replace my neighbouring CTM and so I’m doing two jobs! That or rowing round the gym at home because the lake is off limits!
Q. Describe yourself in 3 words?
A. Not that serious