In Talks with Nelson Gibson: Insights, Ideas, and Inspiration

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Neslon Gibson

Interview with Nelson Gibson, President, Acadian Plant Health

Nelson Gibson
Nelson Gibson is the President, Acadian Plant Health at Acadian Seaplants since 2019 and is based in United States. Previously, Nelson was the Operating Advisor at Private Equity and President & CEO at Chemtura AgroSolutions along with a diverse experience and profiles since
1987. Nelson is a firm believer of sustainability and has a vision of creating a sustainable food production system by collaboration of key stakeholders around the globe.

Q1. You have been in agriculture all your professional years. Tell us about your journey in he agriculture industry and your shift to BioAg.
Our industry has a history of regarding biological crop protection products – naturally occurring materials that optimize crop production – with suspicion. I know because I was a doubter. As a grower, to me, biologicals were “fairy dust,” experimental treatments too risky to bet a crop season on. It took a career of experience, including no-till agriculture, to get my attention and shift my point of view to get me to re-examine the state of agricultural tech.

In fact, I went from a doubter to a believer. Today, many people I talk to in our industry have the same misconceptions I had as a grower. The idea you can’t have both crop performance and sustainability simply isn’t true. Proven sustainable solutions exist right now – and they’re already changing the game.
At Acadian Plant Health™ we have solutions that reconcile the trade-off between performance and sustainability – to ‘Sea Beyond’ the current state of agriculture.

Q2. You’ve transitioned from a nonbeliever to a true believer in optimizing agriculture with biologicals. How do you think stakeholder’s perception has changed in recent years? What has been the major driving force for BioAg?
Farmers have the challenge of producing more food. Agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. This in turn exacerbates food security. The effects of climate change have the global agricultural production system under pressure. Despite important agricultural advancements, changes in global temperatures are responsible for a 21 percent drop in farming productivity since the early 1960si. The planet is asking us to “do better”. We are moving beyond the conventional separation between sustainability and performance ensuring biologicals, and regenerative biostimulants, are part and parcel of crop input practices.

We need deep and lasting changes to our global food and agriculture systems to unleash the most important change opportunity since the widespread adoption of nitrogen fertilizers. Biologicals as a risky experiment has now passed. At Acadian, we’re creating meaningful value for multinationals, formulators, distributors and farmers. We’re doing that by providing tools that sit alongside and complement existing technologies.

Q3. Acadian Plant Health recently launched ‘Sea Beyond’, their new vision to provide sustainable solutions for sustainable agriculture. Can you share more about this with our readers?
Our ‘Sea Beyond’ launch is our new industry vision, leadership position, and commitment to providing innovative and sustainable solutions for global agriculture. We are challenging conventional thinking to ‘Sea Beyond’ the way the biostimulant industry has delivered agricultural
solutions that respond to the growing global demand for food and climate stress.

Q4. Being a senior leader, how do you ensure the quality of products and your human resources while maintaining speed?
“Sea Beyond” embodies a focus on performance and sustainability that is based on values and behaviors that enable our company to fulfill our purpose of “Uniting performance and sustainability for the future of global agriculture”.
Our products remain the highest quality. It is through bold ideas and unprecedented insights that we’re pioneering new possibilities with biostimulants that will benefit both plant and planet. Our Mission and Vision align with this passion which is the foundation of continuously moving forward, innovating, and improving.

Our values of Safety, Teamwork, and Value Creation are part of Acadian Plant Health’s guiding principles. They ensure we act with integrity and courage while finding new ways to grow our company and each other. By creating a safe environment, we create a proxy for process. Process is essential to creating a successful business. Nothing is of greater importance than the values we align to.

Q5. Acadian has a strong standing in the industry and with your new vision ‘Sea Beyond’ where do you see Acadian in a decade from now?
Our new vision will build on Acadian’s leadership position in the global biostimulant sector, to become the leading crop abiotic stress management company with patented seaweed core technology. Acadian Plant Health research and development delivers sea-to-land, science-based solutions, proven to improve soil health for regenerative agriculture as well as alleviate crop stress from factors like drought, heat, chill, salinity, and nutrient deficiencies. Acadian Plant Health products are designed and created as unique active ingredient solutions that will both stand alone and fit into other technologies to solve key agricultural challenges.

The impact of climate change will continue to bring more frequent weather conditions that farmers and our food system will feel the consequences and biostimulants are part of the solution. In the coming years, what we must do as an industry is see beyond the current state of the agricultural inputs industry and offer solutions that provide high-value, crop productivity technology. This is a shift from a peripheral add-on to an essential component of Sustainable Agriculture. A decade from now I expect to see full integration of biological crop inputs.

Q6. BAW Congress is our effort to build a strong BioAg Community and work together to make agriculture sustainable, which aligns with your philosophy. How do you see BAW Congress making it true? What is your expectation from BAW Congress 2024?
The world is changing and we must change with it. One company can’t do it alone. We must collaborate with key stakeholders to bring more innovation to farmers worldwide. Only together can we drive the wider transformation that is needed to create sustainable agriculture. By bringing this community together, we hope BAW Congress can continue to create momentum for this needed shift in agriculture