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DU hires new winter cereals agronomist 

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BISMARCK, ND, May 27, 2009 - The Winter Cereals – Sustainability in Action initiative is growing with the addition of a new Ducks Unlimited agronomist. Steve Dvorak will help growers in 16 south-central and south-east North Dakota counties expand their winter cereal acres.

“Steve will significantly expand the availability of winter wheat agronomy assistance,” said Blake Vander Vorst, manager of DU’s winter cereals program. “Growers will have another resource for trouble shooting problems in their winter wheat fields and for information on seeding, fertility, disease and weed management.”

Winter Cereals – Sustainability in Action is a partnership between Ducks Unlimited and Bayer CropScience to expand winter cereal acres across the Prairie Pothole Region of the United States and Canada. The initiative promotes a stewardship model for improving the agricultural productivity of farmland while retaining and improving the habitat values important to North America’s waterfowl and other wildlife. Winter cereals provide spring nesting cover as well as economic advantages to growers. The winter cereals initiative includes increased winter wheat agronomic assistance, expanded research into new winter wheat varieties and research on the benefits of winter cereals for wildlife and the environment.

A South Dakota native, Dvorak has been an agronomist since 1988, providing growers technical assistance on all aspects of crop production. He came to DU from Pulse USA where he worked as a product representative. Dvorak has also worked as an agronomist for Pioneer HiBred and NK Seeds.

In addition to assisting producers, Dvorak says he will focus on assisting county extension agents, crop consultants, retailers and developing demonstration trials. “Research and demonstration plots will be pivotal to our being able to tell the story of the benefits of winter wheat,” he said.

Vander Vorst says the addition of Dvorak to the Winter Cereals – Sustainability in Action initiative will enable DU, Bayer CropScience, universities, grower associations and private industry to conduct more winter wheat research and demonstration trials on producers’ land. “The information gained from these trials has been beneficial to increasing producer winter wheat yields,” Vander Vorst said.

Dvorak says he hopes to help growers see the “big picture” of incorporating winter cereals into a sustainable cropping system. “Everything we do in production agriculture influences many things outside of our immediate interests,” he said. “Growers are the primary stewards of the land we all depend on to sustain not only us humans but also every other living creature.”

With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with more than 12 million acres conserved in North America. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands - nature’s most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres important to waterfowl each year.

Additional information about DU is available at: www.ducks.org

Bayer CropScience is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience AG, a subsidiary of Bayer AG with annual sales of about EUR 5.8 billion (2007), is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and plant biotechnology. The company offers an outstanding range of products and extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture and for non-agricultural applications. Bayer Crop­Science has a global workforce of about 17,800 and is represented in more than 120 countries.

Further information on Bayer CropScience US is available at: www.bayercropscienceus.com

Media contacts: Becky Jones Mahlum, 701.355.3507, bjonesmahlum@ducks.org

Jennifer Kross, 701.202.8896, jkross@ducks.org

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