National Watermelon Association's Bob Morrissey and Bayer Vegetable Seeds' Rafa Mora Discuss Partnership
- by Jordan Okumura
LEVERKUSEN, GER & LAKELAND, FL - We are in an industry that thrives off of relationships. This past year, the National Watermelon Association (NWA) and Bayer Vegetable Seeds took that ideal to heart and built a partnership that brought together many across the watermelon category to elevate the success of the industry to the next level.
“Our partnership to attract new watermelon growers to participate in the Association began early in 2016 with our friends at Bayer, and it has exceeded our expectations in its first year. To date, thirty-three new growers of watermelons from a number of U.S. states, and a grower from Mexico, have joined the association. We are extremely thankful to Bayer for their partnership, and their commitment to help us make a difference in the lives, and livelihoods, of our grower members,” Bob Morrissey, NWA Executive Director, tells me.
So what inspired this partnership? Both had a need to fill. Simply put, the NWA needed to boost its membership to reach part of the industry that is not currently active in the association and Bayer, as always, is continually looking for ways of supporting the industry. But it is so much more than that as both groups look to achieve that age old idiom, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
On Bayer’s side of the partnership, the company took on the role of paying for any new growers’ membership fees that wanted to join. As the voice of its members on important issues such as trade, labor, research and food safety, to name a few; the NWA continually stresses the importance of association involvement from new generations of watermelon growers and being a part of these issues as they start their careers. And not to forget seasoned growers, the partnership welcomes their membership as well.
If we look back to where this partnership took root, Bayer tells me that the idea came from a collaborative brainstorm session between both entities to see how positive impacts to the industry could take place.
“The National Watermelon Association has supported the watermelon industry for over 100 years. It is important for our company to support the growth of the association and its affiliated state chapters. At Bayer Vegetable seeds, we believe in the strengths of individuals and groups, to reach success,” Rafa Mora, Watermelon Crop Sales Manager at Bayer Vegetable Seeds, shares with me. “We share in their vision and dedication to make a positive difference in the business and improve the lives of our industry members; this past year of our partnership has surpassed our expectations and we are looking forward to how we can continue to elevate this relationship and our support to the NWA.”
As we move into 2017, Bayer is continuing in its commitment to partner with the NWA with the desire to contribute to the industry and make a positive impact on the grower community in any way that it can.
So, watermelon growers, what does this mean for the New Year? Bayer will continue to sponsor memberships for 2017 with the hoping of bringing the watermelon category into a year of unprecedented growth and evolution.