Female #FoodHeroes

Julia Harnal

Julia is Vice-President of Global Sustainability and Governmental Affairs, for BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division in Germany. She leads a global team of passionate professionals on sustainability in agriculture and stakeholder dialogue.

Why do you love your job?

I get to work with great people, where passion and expertise come together and create new solutions, around the globe, that are anchored in real farming. Our aim is to shape food systems that people can trust and where farmers can make a better living for themselves and generations to come. We love making a difference and tackling new challenges every day.

How did you get here?

Born and raised in a farming family, I went on to study agricultural science, before joining the industry. Since the beginning some things have never changed for me: my true roots in farming, a curiosity to discover the world, wanting to experience different countries and cultures, being around great people, and eventually leading diverse teams to go beyond the status-quo.

What is your advice for young women wanting to contribute to sustainable food and farming?

Just go and do it! Be yourself, always! Surround yourself with trustworthy, insightful colleagues and mentors, be open and ready for true dialogue and lifelong learning. Have fun!

How does agriculture need to change to be fit for the future?

Agriculture and farmers around the world have always been at the forefront of new technologies, adapting extremely fast to new markets or policies. The most crucial thing for farming in the next decade, is staying attractive to young entrepreneurs. This means offering agricultural innovation and new technologies to tackle the challenges of the next generation, continued openness and dialogue with society, and hard work to achieve sustainable production of healthy affordable food.

But the farming of the future can’t be the “job” of just a few people. We need to reach out to each other, co-create, and connect the best ideas with the best tools to make this planet a better place, where farmers and their families can be proud and are trusted to produce food for our future.

What’s one challenge you face as a woman in agriculture and what do you think needs to be done to overcome this?

I don’t think women in agriculture face more challenges than women in any other industry. I am extremely proud of the incredible and very successful women I had the chance to meet in the last 20 years. I see even more of them coming into farming, and naturally gaining their place and their voice.

Julia is just one of many inspirational women working in agriculture. Visit our Female #FoodHeroes page to hear from other women working to improve plant science and nutrition.