Farmers attending this year’s Beltwide Cotton Conferences in Atlanta were invited to support a Bayer CropScience initiative called Farm to Feed the World by pledging to increase yields and improve crop quality while minimizing their environmental impact.

About 750 farmers signed up for the effort, prompting Bayer CropScience to donate $3,750 to two local Feeding America food banks in Georgia. For every signature it collected, Bayer CropScience donated $5.

“At Bayer CropScience, we strive to help growers meet the ever-increasing demand for affordable and high quality food, feed and fiber,” says Bill Buckner, Bayer CropScience’s president and CEO. “As we continue to develop crop solutions that help U.S. producers boost their yields, the donations to local food banks fight hunger right here, right now.”

Bayer CropScience split the total donation among two Georgia food banks: Atlanta Community Food Bank and the Golden Harvest Food Bank in Augusta, Ga. All together the two food banks distribute approximately 40 million pounds of food annually through their partner agencies.

“The donation from Bayer CropScience helps us facilitate the distribution of food to the hungry, including children, seniors and the working poor through our more than 700 partner agencies in Metro Atlanta and North Georgia,” says Bill Bolling, executive director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

“We’ve had an increase of 42 percent already this fiscal year, so we applaud the efforts of corporations such as Bayer CropScience to help us meet the demand. The attention to an issue as important and big as hunger speaks of the company’s commitment to a better tomorrow.”

The Farm to Feed the World initiative does not end with the food bank donations, Buckner said. “Bayer CropScience is committed to the challenge through on-going initiatives in innovation, sustainability and education,” he says.

For the 2011 season, Bayer will bring new products that can help increase yields to the market, including GlyTol cotton varieties, Stratego YLD fungicide and Poncho/VOTiVOM seed treatment on corn and soybeans, and Capreno herbicide for corn.

The company is engaged in sustainability programs like Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action, designed to improve and promote better cropping systems for the environment and farmers’ profitability, and Respect the Rotation, an industry initiative designed to preserve agriculture technology and prevent weed resistance in key crops. And commitments to education, such as annual support of FFA and the new GRAD scholarship and internship program, serve to inspire and train the next generation of scientists and agriculturalists.

“We’re pleased with the number of members of the agriculture industry who showed their commitment to increase yields and decrease hunger,” says Buckner. “All these commitments have an integral role as we look to the task before us, as an industry, to provide safe and affordable food to a growing world population.”