Meet our Sustainable Agronomy Team

November 11, 2022

At ForGround by Bayer, we have a deep bench of agronomists solely dedicated to assisting you in your transition to cover crops, strip-till or no-till practices. Because we understand these practices only work if they work for YOUR acres.

ForGround agronomists have a deep knowledge base on how regenerative practices can reduce soil erosion, improve yields, lower water use, and ultimately improve soil conditions with fewer inputs. And when it comes to enrolling your eligible acres into the Bayer Carbon Program, part of ForGround by Bayer, any of our sustainable systems agronomists can walk you through the steps, providing expertise as needed.

Alyssa Cho, Sustainable Agriculture Field Team Lead | St. Louis, MO

Alyssa is building a team of Sustainable Systems Agronomists to provide support to farmers for a successful transition to regenerative practices as part of the Bayer Carbon Initiative. Prior to starting at Bayer in Fall of 2021, Alyssa was the Agronomy Lead for a drone-based technology start-up, Aker Technologies. Alyssa was previously a professor of sustainable cropping systems, serving as a researcher, extension faculty, and instructor. Alyssa holds a Ph.D. in Agronomy, a M.S. in Horticultural Sciences, and a B.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Management. Alyssa is excited to lead a team to support sustainable and systems-based management in agricultural production.

Seth-Spire-Headshot Seth Spire, Sustainable Systems Agronomist | Tarkio, MO

Seth brings a wealth of experience in supporting growers across many conservation practices, specifically cover crops and no-till. He comes to us from the NRCS, where he worked 12 years as a soil conservationist in Iowa and Missouri. Originally from Tarkio, MO, Seth grew up farming, hunting, fishing and enjoying everything outdoors. He’s always had a passion for conserving our natural resources, and he is especially excited to join the Grower Success Team and help continue to grow the Bayer Carbon Program. Seth has a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from Northwest Missouri State University.

Erica-Lain-Headshot Erica Lain, Sustainable Systems Agronomist | Corydon, IA

Erica joins ForGround by Bayer from Iowa Select Farms, the largest pork producer in the state. She has experience in environmental, manure management and sustainability. Erica has a passion for increasing sustainable practices that has a positive impact on the environment but also helping growers become more successful long-term. Erica grew up on a cow-calf and row crop operation in eastern Iowa and now farms with her husband’s family in southern Iowa where they employ multiple soil management practices. She has a B.S. in Animal Science with a minor in Agronomy from Iowa State University.

ben runge Ben Runge, Sustainable Systems Agronomist | Hallsville, MO

Ben joins ForGround by Bayer after working several roles for BASF, including seven years as a business representative working with ag retailers across Missouri. Originally from Belle, MO, Ben grew up working on his family's cattle operation and tire and oil business. He worked in agricultural retail before becoming a farm property manager in Louisiana where he managed approximately 40,000 acres for a private investor. Ben has a B.S. in Agricultural Systems Management from the University of Missouri and is currently enrolled at Louisiana State University pursuing a M.S. in Environmental Science. Ben is also active in several conservation organizations, such as the Conservation Federation of Missouri where he serves as Secretary of the Board.

Austin Omer Austin Omer, Sustainable Systems Agronomist | Morton, IL

Austin’s most recent role was the Associate Director of Natural Resource Policy in the Governmental Affairs and Commodities Division for the Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB). Before joining IFB, Austin worked as a Hydrologist for Weyerhaeuser Company managing research projects and providing technical support to foresters. Prior to working in the forest industry, he worked as both a research and extension associate for Mississippi State University Extension Service investigating conservation practices and providing outreach to farmers. Originally from Quincy, IL, Austin attended Illinois State University and holds a bachelor’s degree in biology, a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science, and a master’s degree in agricultural science. In 2017, he finished his Ph.D. at Mississippi State University which researched conservation practices aimed at preventing nutrient loss from agricultural landscapes and providing surface water for irrigation.

tyler williams Tyler Williams, Sustainable Systems Agronomist | Lincoln, NE

Tyler joined the Bayer Carbon Initiative after being a field scientist with the Bayer Crop Science Seed Production Innovation organization. Tyler grew up on a ranch in south central Nebraska and went to the University of Nebraska Lincoln to receive his formal education in meteorology, climatology, and agronomy.  He spent 10 years working for the University of Nebraska Extension where he created programs and worked with farmers to increase their on-farm productivity and resiliency to extreme weather. Today, he uses his role as a Sustainable Systems Agronomist to assist growers focused on increasing the sustainability of their operation.

zach larson Zach Larson, Sustainable Systems Agronomist | State College, PA

Zach comes to the Bayer Carbon Initiative with a background in cost share programs and soil health education and outreach. Originally from Western Pennsylvania, Zach received a M.S. in Soil Science from Penn State before joining the Natural Resources Conservation Service, where he implemented farm bill programs and assisted in the agency’s early soil health outreach efforts. He then moved to Penn State Extension where he led a team focusing on cover crop and no-till education and programming. During his tenure at Penn State, he’s been fortunate to work with many no-till and cover crop innovators and brings a wealth of experience to the program.

If you want to get in contact with any of our agronomists, and take advantage of this FREE agronomic support, enroll in ForGround today!

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This Bayer Carbon Program described in this material is subject to the current version of the Bayer Carbon-Smart Practices Master Agreement. The information is to aid in the understanding of the Bayer Carbon Program and does not change or modify the Bayer Carbon-Smart Practices Master Agreement in any way. Bayer and Bayer Cross are registered trademarks of Bayer Group. ©2022 Bayer Group. All rights reserved.