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Agrimarketing : Crop Life America
14 AgriMarketing CropLife America Supplement SALUTE TO CROPLIFE AMERICA! Editor's note: We invited leaders in the crop protection business to share their insights on a number of issues about the industry and CropLife America. How has the consumer benefited from the Crop Protection industry? by Vern Hawkins, VP/Commercial Operations, Syngenta Crop Protection How is it possible to feed a burgeon- ing population and grow delicious, pest- and disease-free crops in a sus- tainable way? It's possible with the aid of crop protection. Modern pesticides give con- sumers food that is safe, nutritious and healthful. And because they increase yields while low- ering production costs, consumers enjoy more abundant and affordable fruit, vegetables and other nutritious foods. Since pesticides were first used in this country more than 50 years ago, the amount of tedious hand labor has continually decreased --- a bene- fit especially appreciated in devel- oping nations. Consumers who value the envi- ronment also value the fact that pes- ticides sharply reduce mechanical cultivation, decreasing soil runoff into lakes and streams. Plus, higher production on existing farmland has allowed us to preserve forests, parks, wildlife habitats and other open spaces. Achieving optimal yields is becoming even more critical as our world population continues to grow. Agriculture has a clear challenge: to feed an estimated 8-billion people by 2030. The crop protection industry is poised to further unlock yield poten- tial. We are taking the performance of plants to new heights, making farming possible under stresses like drought, heat and poor soil. Agriculture has never been more innovative than it is right now. And crop protection technology will con- tinue to play a significant role in meeting the consumer 's appetite for more and better food. What were the major changes that you saw in the Crop Protection industry during your career? by Charlie Fischer, CEO, DowAgroSciences (retired) 1999-2001 CropLife America Chmn I'm honored to help celebrate CropLife's 75th year and reflect on the evolution of agriculture during my 40-year career. Consider this: during those decades we've gone from pounds to grams to genes --- amazing changes that have helped our industry advance tremendously. Thanks to scientific innovation, our industry continues to introduce increasingly effective lower-volume products that have a smaller foot- print on the environment. We've gone from "pounds to grams" with better results for all involved. While this revolution in chemical effectiveness was taking place, more great science was also taking us into the world of genes and biotechnology. We've witnessed the miracle of gene insertion and plant trans- formation tech- nology which has dramatically changed our industry. It's all about providing new solutions to benefit our stakeholders, while building on our bedrock technology. While the science advanced, so has our business efficiency. Tremendous consolidation brought forth the most fit and capable companies, those being adept at change emerging as the sur- vivors. This drive for productivity brought new players to the forefront, ones who challenged industry stan- dards for servicing customers. While most of us in the business in the 1960s were aware of global dynamics, western Europe and North America drove product supply and consumption back in that era. Today, solutions are emerging and being used in all parts of the world and global markets to drive success. It all comes down to an industry that desires to continually deliver better solutions for our customers, and I don't think that ambition will ever change. Why were there mergers/acquisitions within crop protection industry and how have they played out? by Bob Woods, CEO, Syngenta (retired) 1995-1997 CropLife America Chmn Mergers and/acquisitions happen in our industry when there are a number of fac- tors in play. Most have happened either because the shift in research pro- ductivity versus cost has meant that the sustain- able size for a company must change dramatically in order to maintain the needed research investment. Some acquisitions have occurred when there has been a relatively quick technology shift putting one company in a vulnerable position. Some occurred as the life science model of the '80s, Pharma and ag together, changed and the perceived benefits no longer existed or the stock market demanded Pharma perfor- mance as a pure play Pharma company. A true merger is rare as one com- pany or leadership tends to often dominate the culture of the new entity. Have the mergers been successful? In general I would say that they have been. Some more so than oth- ers, as the ability to gain synergy THE CROP PROTECTION INDUSTRY: PAST-PRESENT-FUTURE (more on page 16) Hawkins Fischer Woods
January February 2008