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Iowa Soybean Research Center

in collaboration with the Iowa Soybean Association

Get to Know IAC Rep: Chris Souder, Bayer Crop Science

Chris Souder, Bayer
Chris Souder, Bayer Crop Science, (standing) provides feedback during the ISRC Industry Advisory Council meeting in September 2023.

Chris Souder is the global R&D crop efficiency portfolio manager for Bayer Crop Science. He serves as Bayer’s representative on the ISRC’s Industry Advisory Council. As the ISRC celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year, it is important to note that Bayer is one of the center’s original industry partners.

Souder has served as Bayer’s representative on the ISRC’s Industry Advisory Council for the past two years and speaks highly of his relationship with the center. “The ISRC provides one of the most unique forums for addressing challenges in the industry. Good things happen when we are working together across industry, academics and growers. Often we just need an opportunity to be in the same room and a common goal to start the discussion and get the ball rolling. The ISRC provides that opportunity for interaction and a path to action,” he said.

In his role at Bayer, Souder is responsible for setting the vision and R&D plan for sustainable corn and soy yield improvements by understanding the intersection of technology innovation, grower needs and business strategy. “At Bayer we manage our R&D pipeline based on the category of solution that we are developing for growers. Not surprisingly, these categories are weed management, insect control, disease management and crop efficiency. This encompasses our investments to improve performance, agronomics and quality traits through breeding, biotechnology and biologics,” said Souder.

He also works with Bayer’s commercial organizations to identify opportunities to secure or expand business opportunities through developing new technologies. This shows up as defining research targets and advancement criteria for internal product development, as well as scouting targets for partnership across the industry. Prioritization and alignment of resources and capabilities both within R&D and across the company is also a significant portion of his role.   

Prior to his current role, Souder led Bayer’s Midwest agronomy team that supports the company’s seed brands DEKALB/Asgrow and Channel. He also held roles in breeding leadership after starting his career as a commercial corn breeder for Monsanto in Spencer, Iowa. 

Souder’s interest in agriculture came from growing up on his family’s farm near Lytton, IA, where his parents continue to farm. “I have always had a strong attraction toward scientific fields and believe we can deliver technology, tools, and opportunities that help farm communities thrive and people to prosper,” he said.     

Souder is a graduate of Iowa State University and Texas A&M. He currently lives in the St. Louis area with his wife Kristen and daughters Ashley and Katie.