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Ag Company Ranks In Top 10 Brands
CoreBrand, a brand consulting firm with offices in New York, New York, and Santa Monica, California, released its list of the world’s 10 most respected brands based on a high familiarity index and a high favorability index. Bayer A.G. ranked No. 4 — behind Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc. and Hershey Co., but ahead of companies such as IBM, Apple and Harley-Davidson Inc. Familiarity was measured on a scale of 1 to 5 and respondents are considered to be familiar with a brand if they know more than just the company’s name, according to CoreBrand. Also, favorability is based on overall reputation, perception of the company’s management and a company’s investment potential rankings made by those respondents who were familiar with the brands.

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Biotech Food Production on the Rise
A Visiongain report estimates that the global biotech food production market is valued at $101 billion. The report, “Biotechnology in Food Production Market Forecast 2014-2024,” identifies driving forces, barriers in development and implementation of new innovative biotechnologies, the benefits provided by these biotechnologies and various improvements taking place within biotechnology in food production. Visiongain acknowledges that to meet rising global food needs, another era of widespread adoption of innovative, science-based biotechnologies in food production is needed; however, this era must consider environmental and ecological issues, nutrient deficiencies and other more complex issues.

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Comments Support Reduced-Lignin Alfalfa
On behalf of its members, the Pacific Seed Association submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service supporting the deregulation of biotechnology-derived reduced-lignin alfalfa. Designed to increase flexibility for farmers in harvesting alfalfa and allow for better-managed yield quality, reduced-lignin alfalfa enhances real-time forage production decisions. For dairy farmers, reduced lignin content results in higher quality forage, which is important in a feed product to sustain market demands for the production of this crop. “It is our understanding that this new technology would allow alfalfa farmers to manage the yield-quality relationship in alfalfa forage production to meet market or on-farm needs,” writes PSA in its comments to USDA-APHIS. “Farmers rely heavily on our U.S. regulatory system to support innovation in agriculture. It is critical that farmers have new tools in their toolboxes to keep U.S. agriculture productive, sustainable and globally competitive.”

Seize the High Ground
“We need to have some breakthrough research,” says two-term Indiana governor and president of Purdue University Mitch Daniels. “We need to be as good as anybody in the world when it comes to drug discovery and plant science.” That’s why Purdue is in the beginning stages of planning a center for molecular agriculture that will work in partnership with the private industry, such as seed companies. Investments in fundamental research will allow us to develop the technology to customize plants to meet emerging needs locally and across the globe, he says. Before giving up the stage at the American Seed Trade Association’s 131st Annual Convention, Daniels took the time to stress the importance of technology to agriculture and feeding the world. Referring to individuals and groups who oppose technologies, such as genetically modified organisms, he says “It’s borderline superstitious.”

“One can search in vein in scientific literature for any hazard of GMOs and like technologies,” Daniels says. “So that’s pretty odd all by itself.” He explains that the number “feeding 9 billion people by 2050” is not a projected number that might happen; it’s a mathematical certainty. “This fear of technology and apprehension is not new,” Daniels says. “We have wealthy people who fear this technology saying ‘if you can’t eat, that’s your problem.’ This is a moral argument and that high ground needs to be seized and taken. It’s bogus to try and alarm people with these fictional stories. Those who oppose GMOs should be labeled as cruel, heartless and immoral with their anti-stories.” Daniels explains that given today’s technologies currently in use and the technologies coming down the pipeline there’s no reason why the seed industry and agriculture can’t meet the grand challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050.

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Businesses Support Benchmarking Sustainability
More than 50 organizations, which comprise Field to Market, have launched a new agricultural supply chain program for U.S. commodity crops. “The announcement signals a major commitment among members to address supply chain sustainability in a manner that is transparent, grounded in science, focused on outcomes and open to a full range of technology choices while considering productivity, environmental quality and human well-being,” says Rod Snyder, Field to Market president. “Over the next 40 years, the world is facing an unprecedented challenge to produce crops to provide for 9 billion people within the natural limits of our planet. The nature of this challenge requires an unusual level of transparency and collaboration.”

The new program, which was approved at the organization’s recent biannual board meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas, will focus on benchmarking current sustainability outcomes, catalyzing continuous improvement at the field and landscape levels and enabling supply chain sourcing claims. After several years of planning, the Field to Market metrics and benchmarks developed through a multi-stakeholder process will now become a platform for measuring, promoting and reporting on continuous improvement in corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, rice, potatoes and other crops related to seven sustainability indicators: land use, soil conservation, soil carbon, irrigated water use, water quality, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. A few of the organizations involved include American Farm Bureau Federation, Archer Daniels Midland Company, Bayer CropScience, BASF, Bunge, Cargill, Conservation Technology Information Center, CropLife America, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Pioneer, Environmental Defense Fund, General Mills, International Plant Nutrition Institute, John Deere, Land O’Lakes, Inc., McDonald’s Corporation, Monsanto Company, The Nature Conservancy, Walmart and the World Resources Institute.

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