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7-Business: Monsanto rewards U.S. farmers

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Monsanto rewards U.S. farmers
SOURCE: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, USA, by Rachel Melcer
DATE:   04 Mar 2006

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Monsanto rewards U.S. farmers

Monsanto Co., which sells products planted on nearly 90 percent of U.S.
soybean acres, on Friday announced three initiatives to extend that market.

The company, based in Creve Coeur, said its goal is to reward U.S.
soybean growers, who have been early and aggressive adopters of its
genetically modified seeds since they hit the market a decade ago.

Monsanto's Roundup Ready soybeans are able to withstand applications of
glyphosate herbicide, which the company sells as Roundup, allowing
farmers to kill weeds more efficiently.

Its actions also are meant to ensure that these farmers are able to
compete globally and continue buying Monsanto's products. 

In this program, which the company calls its "U.S. Soybean Farmer
Partnership" initiative, Monsanto will:

--"?Give growers in the United States preferred access to new products,
such as biotech soybeans that produce healthier oil, or contain
beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids.

--"?Contribute money to a United Soybean Board study of the industry
through 2020, meant to map out economic, political and competitive
factors and identify ways to cope with each.

--"?Pilot a risk-protection program for growers in Missouri, Arkansas and
North Carolina who plant two Roundup Ready soybean crops in a single
season, offering them a refund of about 50 percent, or $15 a bag, on
seed if the second crop should fail due to weather factors. It may be
extended to other areas in 2007.

"We will continue to grow our global business, but we cannot forget that
U.S. agriculture is the foundation of our success," said Executive Vice
President Carl Casale in a statement released at the 2006 Commodity
Classic in Anaheim, Calif. 

The meeting is a joint trade show of the American Soybean Association,
which is based in Creve Coeur, and the Chesterfield-based National Corn
Growers Association.

"In this country we have the benefit of serving the most technologically
advanced farmers, who appreciate innovative new products," Casale said.
"Because of this, we can offer U.S. farmers some unique advantages as we
all strive to compete globally."

American soybean growers face stiff competition from farmers in Brazil
on commodity soybeans. Many in the industry believe an effective way to
compete is by specializing in value-added, niche crops that fetch higher

Monsanto last year launched Vistive soybeans, hybrid seeds that contain
low levels of linoleic acid and produce more stable cooking oil that
doesn't need to be partially hydrogenated by food processors to make
products with long shelf lives. Partially hydrogenated oils produce
unhealthy trans fats.

Processors are paying to contract growers a premium of 25 to 45 cents a
bushel for Vistive soybeans, the company said. Nearly 500,000 acres will
be planted this year.

Monsanto sees similar potential for premium products under development,
such as the Omega-3 enriched soybeans that could reach the market by the
end of this decade.

However, the company is funding the United Soybean Board's market study
in part to see if it is making correct assumptions, said spokeswoman
Mica DeLong. If not, it may adjust its strategy.

Monsanto will benefit from the study, she said. But it is designed to
meet the needs of the industry overall. Other companies, including
Monsanto competitors, may be recruited to participate.

European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
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