Saturday, August 30, 2014

Giant Numbers

600 Approximate number of employees at Barenbrug. “We started off as a dirt company in Europe, but we expanded in Europe and have built a number of operating companies that do their own business. Besides that, we have companies in North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand and China.” —Stefan van der Heijden

35 percent—Amount that GreenLeaf parent companies’ seed sales have grown on average per year since the company started four years ago. “How we are securing the returns is our biggest challenge. As a foundation seed company, we license out genetics and traits, and that derives our revenue. And I think we’ve been very fortunate to see our sales grow.” —Dana Eaton

2001 The year trait development company Cibus came into business. “We have a technology we call the rapid trait development system. It’s a sightspecific mutagenesis technology and we develop traits for companies around the world. We currently have nine partners that we’re developing traits for in about nine crops.” —David Voss

4th The generation now leading Barenbrug. “Barenbrug retained the full ownership of the company by buying back 30 percent of the shares which were in the hands of the banks. The second step was the company helped get the fourth-generation ready to take over the company’s management and they are now leading the company.” —Stefan van der Heijden

2014 The year Monsanto’s patent on Roundup Ready One expires. However, the company has made it clear it is going to continue to support the regulatory framework around the world through to 2017, three years after the patent expiration. “We’ve always said we’re about innovation. And as I look at it today, my biggest challenge is how do I manage all the new stuff coming at us? That’s a much bigger challenge than how do I manage the things that are going away.” —Brett Begemann

85 percent—Percentage of biotech crops produced by the countries of North, Central and South America. “There’s strong adoption,  there’s strong opportunities to move products throughout the world. As we’ve seen, we also do a lot of counter seasonal production of seed down there, grow outs and multiplications, and research, and we need to make sure we have a good relationship with all of those countries. Therefore, Canada, the United States, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Uruguay and Brazil came together and formed the Seed Association of the Americas.” —Andy LaVigne

37 million—Number of dollars invested in the project between Cibus and Makhteshim that will see the development of seven traits in five different crop types. “It’s an entry way into Europe. That is the prime target because we believe our mutagenesis technology will have more favorable access in Europe.” —David Voss

200 plus—Number of companies GreenLeaf works with. “We’re getting a jump on new traits and letting those that license through us get a jump on new traits too. So, there will be new traits coming, there will be new opportunities that all companies will have a chance to participate in, not just the big companies, but we will bring the technology to the 200 plus companies that we work with.” —Dana Eaton

32Number of team training camps at the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa seeded with Barenbrug’s SOS grass seed. In the spring of 2010, about four weeks before all national teams arrived in South Africa, all the training pitches were overseeded with SOS grass seed.

<1Hectare—The amount of land most smallholder farmers produce crops on. “As I look to the future to me it’s how do we continue to bring these breakthrough technologies to smallholder farmers because millions of farmers benefit today but it’s a different way of developing products when you’re taking it to a farmer that farms a hectare versus one that farms 1,500 hectares. And that’s something that as an industry we can continue to work on.” —Brett Begemann

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