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Agrimarketing : May 2008 Supplement
6 AgriMarketing ¦ May 2008 Roundup Ready soybean technology • Dicamba-tolerant soybeans • Omega-3 soybeans for heart-healthy consumer food applications. The Showcase also featured a plot of Bollgard II with Roundup Ready Flex cotton. It was the first time many Mid- westerners had ever seen the crop and more than a few farmers commented on that strange and unusual sight — cotton growing in the middle of Iowa. Even touring the Show- case was not the normal walk through that com- monly occurs at the show. To participate, one had to be invited and take the tour at an appointed time. “We did that to control the flow of the crowd and to have a tour leader they could listen to and interact with,” Rhy- lander says. “That way, we knew they were all receiv- ing the same message from us.” Monsanto‘s seed companies, including its ASI unit, its crop protec- tion representatives, and all of the trait licensees distributed the invitations. “We set up the Showcase in a sep- arate location a distance away from any of Monsanto’s specific seed brands,” Rhylander says. “We wanted our licensees and their cus- tomers to participate in the tour and didn’t want to alienate them by mak- ing it strictly a Monsanto seed event.” The result was an outstanding suc- cess. At the 2006 Farm Progress Show, over 6,000 customers took the Show- case tour. Last year, at its Decatur, IL, location, the number of attendees nearly doubled, representing 22 coun- tries. The company also hosted three tour groups of Wall Street financial analysts and investment house repre- sentatives who traveled to central Illi- nois, in what turned out to be scorch- ing heat, to see the Showcase plots. CROP INSURANCE “In addition to creating and deliver- ing technologies that help farmers consistently deliver better yields,” Rhylander says, “we also want to help them manage their production risk and capture more value for their crop. What we saw in the dry weather conditions in Illinois in 2005 was how YieldGard Plus had reduced the risks of yield losses in dry conditions. In July, 2005 we began our initial discussions on could this technology result in some insurance adjustments, as it reduced the risk of yield loss. So, we set up a team to explore this concept not knowing what it would lead to, but at the same time knowing we had something we had to pursue because of the value it meant to farmers.” Launched for the 2008 growing season, the pilot for the Biotech Yield Endorsement (BYE) program has been approved by USDA’s Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) and provides farmers an opportu- nity to pay lower premiums if they plant a majority of their corn acres using triple stack corn hybrids with traits from Monsanto. Western Agriculture Insurance Co. , West Des Moines, IA, is managing the program and is making it available to all approved insurance providers to offer it to their farmer customers. The pilot program is available in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota. To be eligible, farmers must plant a minimum of 75% of their corn acres with seed featuring YieldGard Plus with Roundup Ready Corn 2 or YieldGard VT Triple technology. Refuge requirements must also be respected. Depending on the grower’s production history, the amount of coverage purchased and other criteria, the farmer may be able to reduce the yield component of their premium up to 24%. MANAGEMENT STYLE All great leaders have their own style, and Rhylander is no exception. “My role is to coach and to teach effectively,” he says. “I like to man- age people the way I want to be managed. That is, tell them what needs to get done, establish what they are expected to deliver, then empower them to accomplish it. “I challenge them to ‘Think Out- side the Box’ and let me know if they want me to be involved in helping them think through the process.” Rhylander prides himself on having a large white board in his office which he constantly uses. “Some of the biggest ideas, though, have been written on whatever scrap 2008 NAMA MARKETER OF THE YEAR /Marketing Success continued from page 5 Photo courtesy of Forrest Laws, Penton Media (Above) Monsanto’s Technology Showcase at the Farm Progress Show held in Decatur, IL. (Inset) Rhylander and cotton growing in the middle of an Illinois corn field at the Showcase. (more on page 8)