, Farm Journal Crops & Issues Editor
Your local or regional seed supplier might have the same look and logo, but these firms are increasingly linking with large seed houses to obtain genetic materials. At the same time, the large seed houses are finding smaller companies to be a good way to expand their reach and market share.
The latest example of this business strategy comes from DuPont business, Pioneer Hi-Bred. A new network of partnerships and brands called PROaccess is designed to increase Pioneer's global seed market reach through co-brands, second brands and investments. In the U.S. alone, the company says their new strategy opens up access to distribution systems that cover an addition 5% of the corn acres.
In the United States, the five partnering companies signed up so far are: Ag Venture, Kentland, Ind. (VPMaxx brand corn and soybean); Doebler's Pennsylvania Hybrids, Inc., Jersey Shore, Pa (RPM brand corn hybrids); Hoegemeyer Hybrids, Hooper, Neb. (HPT brand corn and soybeans); NuTech Seed, Ames, Ia., (G2 Genetics brand corn and soybean); and Seed Consultants, Inc., Washington Court House, Ohio (SupremeEX brand corn and soybean).
Pioneer doesn't own these companies outright, but rather, has distribution agreements that open up launches of new corn and soybean products in nearly 20 key corn and soybean states. The co-brands are owned by Pioneer, but each independent seed company has exclusive marketing and distribution rights.
In addition, DuPont announced last spring that it had agreed to acquire the Curry Seed Company, Elk Point, South Dakota. Curry continues to be managed locally and in 2009 introduces a complete soybean lineup—the first in the family firm's 73-year history.
Paul Schickler, Pioneer president and DuPont vice president and general manager says the brands represented include companies with rich heritages and successful distribution system. In addition to the United States, PROaccess business agreements have also been reached in Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. Pioneer plans to continue expanding the number of partners.
Through the PROaccess model, Pioneer customizes business agreements with each independent seed company to address specific needs. "We know the seed business is not one-size-fits-all,” says "Each company has its own needs. That's why we have built flexibility into this strategy by customizing the agreements to fit the individual needs of each company.”
Pioneer's foundation seed business called GreenLeaf Genetics, LLC, remains in place. The 50/50 joint venture formed in April 2006 by DuPont and Syngenta provides proprietary corn and soybean genetics and biotechnology traits from both companies to select domestic seed corn companies.
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