September 26, 2016

Bayer and Monsanto Could Be the Biggest Deal This Year

At this week’s Senate hearing on mergers within the seed and chemical industries, Senator Chuck Grassley said the “consolidation wave may have become a tsunami.”

Executives from DuPont, Dow Chemical, Syngenta, Monsanto and Bayer were among witnesses at the hearing.

At the ABIC 2016 conference at the FargoDome, we visited with David Hollinrake, Vice President of Marketing & Portfolio Management, Bayer CropScience LP.

David Hollinrake and Rusty Halvorson

 

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Congressional Testimony: “Innovation Lifts Our Society”

Lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday pressed the executives from the world’s largest seed and chemical companies to justify the recent wave of merger and acquisition proposals in agriculture.

Monsanto Company participated in the panel discussion as part of the hearing on “Consolidation and Competition in the U.S. Seed and Agrochemical Industry.”

Robb Fraley, executive vice president and chief technology officer of Monsanto delivered remarks on behalf of the company.

Fraley told lawmakers, “We continue to believe that farmers are best served when companies invest more in new technologies and accelerate the pace of their research and development, which in turn spurs robust competition.”

We caught up with Fraley Wednesday on the sidelines of the Agricultural Bioscience International Conference, which wraps up today at the FargoDome in Fargo, North Dakota.

ABIC 2016 Robb Fraley of Monsanto

Fraley shared the following remarks related to the Senate Committee’s session:

“Monsanto welcomed the opportunity to discuss this exciting new era in agriculture. We appreciated the chance to participate in this important dialogue with Chairman Grassley and the Judiciary Committee.  We believe agriculture innovation is central to delivering tremendous benefits to farmers and society and look forward to engaging with all stakeholders.”

“We are committed to serving farmers and investing in a broad range of solutions that can help their farming operations. The role of innovation has never been more important to agriculture. The fields of biology and data science are opening up a range of new solutions for farmers. And, farmers are faced with meeting the growing food, feed and fiber needs of an ever-increasing population in an increasingly sustainable way and helping agriculture keep up with global challenges such as climate change.”

“I understand that change can be unsettling to farmers – I saw that firsthand when I helped invent the first crops developed through genetic modification (e.g. GMO crops). Importantly, just like then, I’ve found that change enables more innovation and delivers better products to the farm even faster. We continue to believe that farmers are best served when companies invest more in new technologies and accelerate the pace of their research and development, which in turn spurs robust competition. Innovation drives competition. Innovation strengthens the farming economy.  And innovation lifts our society.”

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“Glass Half Full” on Proposed Mergers and Acquisitions

The Agricultural Bioscience International Conference (ABIC) continues through Wednesday afternoon at the FargoDome, in Fargo, North Dakota.

ABIC 2016 features more than 50 speakers from industry and universities addressing subjects impacting agriculture, including public-private partnership for research, regulations and innovation.

A speaker panel on Tuesday morning inlcuded Bill Buckner, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.

The Noble Foundations is an independent, nonprofit institute headquartered in Oklahoma, that was founded in 1945.  According to the mission statement  — the institute’s purpose is to help farmers and ranchers enhance their productivity through plant science research and agricultural programs.

Bill has a unique perspective on the current trend of agricultural mergers and acquisitions around the globe.

Buckner previously served as a top executive of Bayer CropScience – he was the Head of Crop Protection for the North American region.

We shared a visit about several topics; multi-national mergers and aqcuisition proposals in the agricultural headlines, past bioscience innovations like “The Green Revolution,” and where we may be headed in the future.

ABIC 2016 Bill Buckner

According to its website, the Noble Foundation has shared almost $1 billion for charitable purposes through its grant programs –  http://www.noble.org/philanthropy/  – including more than $300 million for grants to charitable organizations and scholarship programs.  It supports community projects and the activities of nonprofit charitable, educational and healthcare organizations.
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