A Growing Market
The global seed market is forecast to reach US$47 billion by 2015, according to a new report released by Global Industry Analysts Inc. The United States represents the single largest market for seed, said the report titled Seeds: A Global Strategic Business Report. Demand for seed in the United States is expected to maintain steady growth in the coming years, spurred by the development and launch of a wide range of high-end transgenic and hybrid seeds. The market is also likely to be shaped by a number of favorable factors, such as growing garden and lawn expenditures of consumers, a general shift towards narrow planting of rows and expanding new uses of crops. Europe and Asia-Pacific are the other important seeds markets. Demand for seeds is forecast to be the fastest in Asia-Pacific, which is expected to increase at a compounded annual growth rate of more than 5.0 percent through 2015.
“Beeting” Around the Bush
“APHIS takes its role in protecting plant health very seriously and is well aware of the importance of this decision for sugar beet growers and processors” said Michael Gregoire, deputy administrator for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, after USDA unveiled controversial plans to again approve genetically modified sugar beets in time for planting next year, a move that would nullify a federal court ruling in August that invalidated the original approval issued by the USDA five years ago. “We are issuing this environmental assessment to share our decisionmaking process as transparently as possible and allow for public comment,” said Gregoire. The USDA’s proposal represents the preliminary stage of the process and will be followed by a 30-day comment period before the department makes a final decision. “The mandatory conditions outlined in the permits would work to minimize any potential for the escape and dissemination of plant pests and the likelihood of environmental impacts of concern raised by the Court,” the USDA said in a statement. U.S. sugar production will be cut by about 20 percent if farmers are banned from planting GM beets next year, according to USDA data.
Corn Outlook Worrisome?
“The global corn market… suddenly finds itself on thin ice,” concludes a report recently released by Barclays Capital. The report said that U.S. corn production is on track for the third-highest level on record; however, high consumption levels and demand for corn exports are taking U.S. corn supplies to their lowest levels in 14 years. Traders worry prices could return to $6 per bushel, a level not seen since the food crisis of 2007 and 2008, which triggered riots in poor countries.
Get Your Employees on the Social Media Bandwagon
“A recent online survey found that when companies look to ramp up social media initiatives, many turn in-house first. This is even more likely for small businesses with limited resources. For those companies currently looking to build up or maintain their social media presence—whether it be a corporate blog, Facebook page, and/ or Twitter feed—employee buy-in is vital to ensure success,” says Kirsten Watson, director of Corporate Marketing at operations planning company Kinaxis, in a blog on Bloomberg.com. She has the following tips for small businesses looking to entice their employees to embrace the benefits of social media:
• Hold training/information sessions. Explain to employees why social media engagement is important.
• Seed topic ideas. Hold brainstorming sessions. Circulate questions about topics to facilitate new suggestions. Share links to recent industry news. Encourage employees to develop ideas for content.
• Identify “champions” or assign a group of individuals to a social media task force.
• Leverage existing opportunities. Content is everywhere; employees should think critically about what they already have available to them.
• Help employees feel invested. For small businesses that are struggling to spark employees’ interest, making contributions part of their job objectives and even tying them to bonuses can help.