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Agrimarketing : Crop Life America
18 AgriMarketing CropLife America Supplement Why did several Crop Protection companies get in to the seed business? by Mike Frank, Global Chemistry Leader, Monsanto, St. Louis, MO As we reflect over the past 75 years of CropLife America, we can recall many changes. But few will rival the rapid evolution of farm practices the way that chemistry and seed systems have in the past decade. For years, farmers pur- chased seed and chemicals to grow the best crop possible. By the late '80s it was apparent that farmers were looking for the next wave of cropping innovations to control weeds, insects and diseases. Fertilizer and equipment had been leveraged to increase crop growth and yields, but more was needed to produce and protect crops than ever before. Crop protection com- panies were, at the same time, search- ing for new opportunities as post patent life was becoming a reality. It has been said that "timing is everything" and that was the case as crop protection companies invested in the seed systems to deliver new tools and solutions to farmers. By the mid '90s farmers began to reap the benefits of these investments and crop protection companies could see a bright future that married quite nicely with their chemistry heritage. And now some 15- to 20- years after those initial investments, the seed- chemistry systems deliver solutions that would have never been imag- ined years before. While it is difficult to predict what might have happened if crop protection companies had never invested in the seed industry, it is safe to say that there is a promising future for the ag industry that is responsible for feeding, fueling and clothing the U.S. and much of the world. What is the current state of Research & Development in the Crop Protection industry? by Bill Buckner, Pres/CEO, Bayer CropScience LP, Research Triangle Park, NC Research and development in the crop science industry continues to be the primary source of solutions for the many challenges facing produc- tion agriculture. Research-based companies in our industry have in place vigorous pro- grams and strong scientific teams focused on the discovery and devel- opment of innovative technologies to overcome the barriers to a secure and reliable supply of food, feed, fiber and fuel for the world's ever- increasing population. Today, research and development for science-based companies in the crop science industry is taking an unprecedented role center stage. Our industry's research efforts now are recognized as integral to helping provide sustain- able solutions for some of our world's most pressing issues: population growth, greater energy demand, limited arable land, climate change. I could go on. The research-oriented companies in our industry are working at the intersection of biology, biotechnol- ogy and chemistry to provide sus- tainable technologies not only to fight damaging insects, weeds and diseases, but also to create possibili- ties for crops that resist drought, improve nutritional value and increase yield. The challenges of sustainability call for continued commitment from these companies. Looking over the crop science landscape of creative solutions through advancing tech- nologies, I see these challenges being capably addressed today; and I see us poised to continue capably addressing them in the future. This commitment to sustain- ability requires significant invest- ment in innovation. I believe our industry acknowledges and embraces our central role in addressing the global challenges before us. Spending for research and development, whether in chemistry, biotechnology or seed technology, continues among the top-tier crop science firms. A reliable source of food, feed, fiber and fuel that is secure, safe, adequate and affordable is critical to meeting the world's most fundamental needs. Sustainability is central to achieving that goal. Crop science research and development is, and will continue to be, essential to both --- all of which points toward a dynamic and exciting future for our industry. How does the future of North Ameri- can agriculture compare to the rest of the world? by Jim Collins, VP/GM, DuPont Crop Protection, Wilmington, DE These are exciting times for the agri- cultural industry. There is growing global demand for food, for renew- able products --- both fuel and fiber --- and a strong drive to meet those demands in a sustainable way. North American growers are uniquely positioned to take advantage of these opportunities. North America has played, and will continue to play, a major role in increasing agricultural productivity to meet the needs of a growing pop- ulation and more demanding con- sumers. We've added millions of "virtual crop acres" by improving crop genetics, refining planting and harvest tech- nologies, and improving pest control. American growers supply food, fuel, feedstock and fiber, not just for U.S. consumption, but for export all over the world. And they've done this with increased efforts to enhance sustainability, making significant improvements in productivity, while reducing impact on the environment. As the world continues to pro- duce more discerning consumers, the demands on North American agriculture will continue to increase. Collaboration across private and public sectors will be critical to meet- ing these challenges and taking advantage of the opportunities that unfold. PAST-PRESENT-FUTURE/continued from page 16 Frank Buckner Collins (more on page 20)
January February 2008