Honoring Farmers Who Make a Difference
At this year’s 2018 Tournament of Roses® Parade in Pasadena, California, BASF employees and their families had the opportunity to participate in the annual festival of flowers, music and sports thanks to Ag PhD television and radio hosts Darren and Brian Hefty. The brothers invited 100 farmers and Ag PhD partners to ride on the company’s Salute to Farmers-themed float. The float was inspired by the 2018 parade theme, “Making a Difference.”
“The theme for this year’s parade honors those who do great work in our society, yet go unnoticed and we thought that fits farmers very well,” said Brian Hefty. “Farmers have helped our society by providing the safest, healthiest, cheapest and most abundant food supply in the world.”
Hefty went on to explain that for nonfarmers, modern agriculture evokes words like GMO, food safety and water quality. What often gets left out of that conversation are the people behind agriculture. He believes that the strength of agriculture always has been and will be the people supporting the industry. Participation in the parade is a way to connect farmers to the general public.
Building a record-setting float
When designing and building the float for the parade, Ag PhD wanted to keep the focus on the people behind ag, so they invited 100 farmers and their family members to ride on the float. This was the first time in the parade’s history that a float had that many riders and made a powerful statement about the people of the ag industry.
“When choosing riders for the float we looked at people we’ve been working with for a long time that have been good customers and good farmers,” said Hefty. “Let’s put it this way, we had more than enough volunteers.”
Many elements of the float design are meant to highlight equipment a Midwestern farm would have. A tractor, combine harvester, grain bin and water tower were all featured on the float. Ag PhD also collected seed from all 50 states to be featured on the float.
It took a full year of planning and execution to put the float together. After proposing the Salute to Farmers theme, final approval from the Tournament of Roses was granted in April. By the fall, a final design was selected and construction on the float began. Although the process starts at the beginning of the year, assembly of all the live plant material on the float begins right before the parade.
“Final decorating starts the day after Christmas,” explained Hefty. “People from all over the country volunteer to work on it for 18 hours a day for five days straight.”
On the day of the parade, all of the hard work put into the float pays off, as people around the U.S. and the world come to Pasadena to watch the parade or tune in on their televisions. For Ag PhD, that hard work was rewarded, as the float received the Tournament of Roses Parade Wrigley Legacy Award for most outstanding display of floral presentation, float design and entertainment. Although Ag PhD has no plans to participate in the 2019 parade, the company is always looking for other opportunities to honor the dedication and hard work of farmers.
“We’re always looking for ways to recognize farmers and to connect rural America to the rest of the country,” said Hefty. “We want people to understand that farmers are trying their best to create a great and economical food supply for the rest of the nation.”
To learn more about Ag PhD’s participation in the 2018 Rose Parade, visit agphd.com/rose-parade-2018.