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Wayne Barton – Research and Commercial Development Manager

No matter where you find yourself in the agriculture industry, whether it’s standing between rows of crops or planted desk-side observing market trends, there is a resounding call to develop future leaders for our industry.


Our vision for Canadian agriculture is one we can see today shaped in the next generation. By providing hands-on learning opportunities, we empower future agricultural experts with the experience needed to navigate the complexity of modern farming.


At BASF, agriculture education isn’t only a commitment—it’s part of our culture. With connections running deep in farming communities across Canada, BASF takes pride in its internship program and engagement in initiatives that further the learning of future crop experts, agronomists and scientists.


Our longstanding involvement with the University of Guelph Weeds Team has allowed BASF to champion these future leaders as they develop practical skills in weed science and crop protection as well as problem-solving, leadership and industry networking. This year, BASF employees Joe Rastapkevicius, University of Guelph graduate; Sophie Van den Borre, third-year student at the University of Guelph; and Colby Older, second-year student at the University of Guelph, served on the University of Guelph’s award-winning Weeds Team.


BASF offers the ability to experience the many sides of our agriculture industry and develop lasting professional relationships. Before finding his place as a Field Research Technician, Joe worked with the company in various capacities, including herbicide, technical development and sales. The London Research Farm has also served as a home base for BASF interns Sophie and Colby where they joined the herbicide team, each charged with running their own summer trial.


To see the lasting impact of supporting aspiring agribusiness professionals, we need only to look to Chris Budd, Senior Field Biologist on the Research and Commercial Development Team at BASF. Since the start of his career as an intern with BASF in 2011 at the Maryhill Research Farm, Chris now finds himself a mentor to the next generation.


Managing BASF interns at the London Research Farm and helping them prepare for the University of Guelph’s Weeds Team has offered a full-circle moment for Chris who is proud alumnus of both. From his role as a supervisor to simulating in-field challenges, Chris has played a pivotal role in the professional development of interns at BASF.


Over his many years supporting the University of Guelph’s Weeds Team, Chris says he takes great pride in seeing competitors come back to work even harder each year, further developing and refining skills that will be highly applicable in their careers.


On July 26 to 27, BASF’s efforts to help prepare its future agriculture experts were put to the test at the Weed Science Society of America’s National Weed Science Contest in Tennessee. The University of Guelph Weeds Team was the only Canadian representation and utilized their hands-on expertise to win numerous individual awards and team awards, including first place overall nationally and first place in the sprayer calibration nationally. The full list of awards earned by the University of Guelph team are published here.


The 17 members of the University of Guelph Weeds Team, including BASF’s very own employees, returned home with more than just coveted awards. They also walked away with invaluable industry connections. Joe, Sophie and Colby champion the value of lifelong learning and building a wide network of peers in order to grow professionally.


As a company that partners with Canadian growers to provide trusted advice and solutions, BASF believes that collaboration is paramount. We are eager to create an environment where the future minds of agriculture can come together in a way that amplifies and enhances the industry as a whole.