Monsanto's D&PL Acquisition Gets Mixed Reaction

It's the good, the bad, and the wait-and-see as titan takes over another giant.

Published on: Aug 17, 2006

The mid-August announcement by Monsanto it would be acquiring Delta and Pine Land Company for $1.5 billion has brought a mixed bag of reactions. In doing so, the St. Louis-based Monsanto was making it clear it would own the longest-running, private seed company in the world, based in Scott, Mississippi.

"Delta and Pine Land represents an excellent fit for our company as we look to bring value-added traits and high-quality seed to cotton growers around the world," notes Hugh Grant, Monsanto chairman and CEO.

"I won't say Monsanto is doing anything favorable in getting a good relation back with the cotton farmer - I just don't see it," says Jeff Posey, who farms 4,500 acres of cotton with his family in T&J Posey Farms at Roby, Texas.

Darrell Cross, a seasoned grower who operates Cross Farms at Ovalo, Texas, says he can understand the concerns of some fellow growers, but thinks it could eventually turn out good for producers like himself.

"I feel the Monsanto and Delta and Pine Land deal actually could speed up technological advances," Cross says. "Basically, Monsanto has got the technology that works."

He grows transgenic cotton with the stacked gene traits for both worm and weed control. Cross grows D&PL cottons, as well as FiberMax varieties from Bayer.

Dr. Carl Anderson, Texas A&M professor and Extension specialist emeritus, College Station, says he can see some positive in the deal.

"It will allow Monsanto and Delta and Pine Land to really pool their resources to maintain and improve the yield and quality of cotton," Anderson says. "Of course, that comes with a price - the technology fee plus the seed cost."

But he says transgenics truly are necessary for U.S. farmers to compete globally.

Texas A&M cotton breeder John Gannaway, Lubbock, has bred cotton 34 years.

"It's a 'wait and see' - you really don't know what's going to happen," Gannaway says. "We're just going to have to see where it goes. You're always afraid of something new - the unknown."

Plains Cotton Growers will continue to keep lines of communication open with Monsanto and other seed companies, says PCG vice president Roger Haldenby.