Monsanto Co.'s business in the South will be known as Delta and Pine Land, but the letterhead on bills to buyers will say "Monsanto".
That and faster delivery of new varieties will be the only changes for cotton growers in the South who are concerned about how the long-anticipated merger will impact their farms, according to Monsanto officials who presided at a press conference Tuesday afternoon, shortly after all three companies announced the deals were final.
The message to growers from Monsanto and leaders of its new Delta and Pine Land division was their business is important to this new mega-company and Monsanto wants to capitalize on the "rich heritage" Delta and Pine Land brings to the table.
"Both of our companies have been and continue to be 100% focused on agriculture," said Kevin Eblen, Delta and Pine Land business lead. "We can only succeed if our producers succeed."
More specifically, with Delta and Pine Land's southern base, that division of Monsanto "can only succeed if the cotton producers succeed," Eblen said.
Eblen and Randy Dismuke, a D&PL corporate leader, participated in a press conference following the announcement that the divestitures were finalized and the merger begun.
The final score, as outline by the U.S. Department of Justice in the agreement announced May 31, was:
- Bayer CropScience bought Stoneville Pedigreed Seed Co. and a batch of Delta and Pine Land Co. germplasm, including Delta Pearl, the background variety to DP 555.
- Americot Inc. bought NexGen and a germplasm base held by D&PL that was once owned by Syngenta.
- Syngenta held onto its VIP technology trait.
- Dupont, which owns Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., held on to the GAT technology trait.
- Monsanto now allows third-party traits stacked on Bollgard and/or Roundup Ready.
For cotton growers, Monsanto says, the deal means improved varieties will be available quicker.
"Our focus near-term is going to be on getting our Bollgard II and Round-up Ready Flex varieties moving forward," Eblen said.
Monsanto's Bollgard license expires in 2010, but growers fond of DP 555 BGRR can look for competitive varieties on the market in 2009, Dismuke said. Those varieties already are planted for seed increase.
"They will be very competitive with 555 in those markets where 555 performs very well," Dismuke said. "We feel that we'll have some products for commercial introduction in 2009 with Roundup Ready Flex that will be very competitive in the market where 555 performs well."
Monsanto also reaffirmed its existing policy not to develop or utilize sterile seed technology, such as the so-called "terminator" technology, to which Delta and Pine Land has rights.
Bayer welcomes Stoneville
Bayer paid $310 million for Stoneville and the D&PL germplasm. The purchase makes Bayer the second largest cottonseed supplier in the United States.
"We are very pleased with the purchase of this outstanding cotton business, and we welcome Stoneville employees to the Bayer CropScience family," said Mike Gilbert, global head of Bayer CropScience's cotton seed business. "Stoneville brings a long history of excellence in cotton. Together with this legacy and the high level of experience, know-how and skills of the Stoneville team, I am confident that our cotton business will continue to thrive and deliver innovative products to cotton growers in the years ahead."
Americot buys NexGen
With the purchase of NexGen and a batch of Delta and Pine Land germplasm, the Texas-based Americot on Tuesday became the second largest cotton seed company in the Southwest region in market share, and the third largest in the country.
"This acquisition of the NexGen brand of cotton seed provides us a larger footprint in the Southwest market; it strengthens our portfolio of high-quality germplasm available to growers in the Southwest," Americot General Manager Terry Campbell said. "NexGen varieties offer High Plains growers stormproof cotton options with excellent fiber quality, high-yield potential and earliness. NexGen Roundup Ready Flex varieties are currently sold out, but there is still a good supply of Roundup Ready varieties including NG1553R, NG2448R and NG3969R."
The new germplasm will be used to expand Americot's interests throughout the south.
"The germplasm divested from Delta and Pine Land will be used to develop new cotton products under the Americot brand for the Midsouth, Southeast and the Southwest regions," Campbell said. "We will have one of the largest germplasm bases available to which we can combine with the latest and best biotechnology traits from across the world to benefit U.S. growers. We will have the freedom to stack anybody's technology traits in future varieties. In 2008, Americot will launch two new Bollgard II with Roundup Ready Flex products and three new Roundup Ready Flex products."
For more information, visit www.monsanto.com, www.newsroom.bayercropscience.com or www.americot.com.